The need for greater regional cooperation in South Asia was never so crucial as it has become today. Today the region is faced with a myriad of challenges—economic, social and political. In these testing times when every country is looking inwards, Pakistan rightly believes that the way out against these problems is practising regionalism. While addressing the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Pakistan’s Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mahmood Qureshi informed the participants of Islamabad’s willingness to host the SAARC summit.

The member countries in the region must welcome the call of FM Qureshi. Hosting the summit would be an excellent opportunity for Pakistan to promote regional peace and harmony by encouraging the dealing of issues that are undermining the stability of the region. Today, the bloc is struggling hard to deal with rising food insecurity, COVID-19, climate change, economic stagnation, locust attacks. And many member states are at loggerheads with each other over territorial disputes. These issues make it a challenge for the bloc to cash its worth. Hence, the member states must overcome the artificial hurdles and think beyond the limitations of nation-states.

Nevertheless, Islamabad being the host must ensure that intra-Afghan negotiations and India’s ever-increasing belligerent occupation and aggression in Kashmir take precedence. While Pakistan must highlight violations of international law in Kashmir, as Indian forces target the civilian population along the Line of Control (LoC), the member states need to pressurise India to stop being a rogue state. The conflict zones mentioned earlier can destabilise the entire region. So, finding solutions becomes essential for regional stability through cooperation. And the countries must find quick but sustainable solutions. India’s past behaviour indicates that it will not attend the summit. But boycotting the gathering will be India’s loss, as regional cooperation will take place with or without India’s participation.