The officials and former leaders of countries like Nepal and Afghanistan want South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to convene SAARC summit. The Nepalese Foreign Minister Praddep Kumar Gyawali and the former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai want that the member countries of the organisation need to come together to sort out the differences. The message of both persons was directed towards India that is reluctant to participate in the 19th SAARC summit that is to be held in Pakistan.

While no one can deny the effectiveness of mitigating the differences through dialogue, it is, however, unlikely that Modi’s India will pay any heed to the sensible advice of the two people. Why? The reason is evident for India’s unwillingness to participate in the summit. In April and May this year, India will be having general elections. The incumbent Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will rely on the tested and effective political rhetoric of stirring up anti-Pakistan sentiments among the populace. In such a crucial time, he cannot afford to take the advice of participating in SAARC summit seriously. Modi will not commit this ‘mistake.’

However, the refusal of India to attend the summit will show the rest of the members that India’s only interested in the protection of its national interests. And to secure such interests, India does not mind if it curtails the potentials of regional cooperation and trade enhancement between the nations of the region. On the one hand the South Asian region has an enormous potential for growth, and on the other hand, it is the region that is facing the gravest of all challenges like climate change and terrorism.

All prospects of development and challenges of survival demand that the countries of the region sit together to chalk out a way that can ensure sustainable development for every member nation of the organisation. The leaders of the member countries need to join a dialogue table to discuss proposals and suggestions on the elimination of terrorism from the region.

Indian allegations that it will not respond to Pakistan’s calls for cooperation until and unless Islamabad stops supporting terrorist networks in Kashmir is an attempt to cover its injustices in the occupied territories of Kashmir. India in 2016, managed to isolate Pakistan by convincing all other nations to boycott the 19th SAARC summit. Now the other members realise that boycott is not the option that can achieve the purposes of the organisation. The world is undergoing rapid changes. The reluctance of India to participate in the summit and attempts to disrupt the summit will let go of opportunities that can be benefited from by the SAARC members.