The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the brainchild of Bangladesh President Zia ur Rehman, held its first meeting in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. The goal of the abovementioned organisation was manifold. Promoting regional stability, economic and human development along with settling of disputes are core parts of its agenda. Until this day, the organisation has held 18 SAARC summits. The 19th SAARC summit that was to be held in Islamabad was cancelled after India refused to attend the summit.

In a recent visit to Maldives to take part in the festivities of the country’s 52nd Independence Day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif argued that India had harmed the organisation by not attending its 19th summit, and undermined and violated the spirit of the SAARC Charter by casting shadows of bilateral issues and problems on a multilateral forum for regional cooperation.

However, cooperation in any sub-field of international politics and relations needs to be viewed through an objective lens. The Kashmiri people have risen once again against Indian occupation of their homeland. They are fighting tooth and nail against Indian barbarism. They are resisting the Indian subjugation of their land by any means necessary. Blaming Pakistan for this movement and any and all forms of terrorist is the primary reason behind India’s politicisation of a regional body. Not only can the country tolerate an indigenous movement, its attitude towards Pakistan is the only recourse for it to maintain a shred of innocence after abusing Kashmiris.

India has made it a norm to accuse Pakistan of its involvement in any attack that is carried out on its soil. For this purpose, the Indian government exploits every regional and international forum of debate. India’s refusal to share any platform with Pakistan on the regional and international front has belittled the importance of such forums. Especially, in the case of SAARC, India has boycotted the regional organisation’s meeting at five different occasions. Unwilling to participate in any initiative that Pakistan takes for regional stability and peace, such actions of Indian government are more likely to make the regional organisation ineffective rather than isolating Pakistan on regional and international fronts. Keeping regional development hostage to save face is a façade that it cannot keep up for too long.