By Surya Chandra Basnet/Bishnu Nepal
Kathmandu,9 Nov 2014: Former Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa has suggested that the government should table agendas for ‘breakthrough’ of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in the upcoming 18th SAARC Summit by taking it as an opportunity.
He said the government should leave no stone unturned for SAARC Summit’s overall management and preparations adding that the SAARC Summit was both opportunity and challenge for Nepal.
“Nepal should give agenda for SAARC’s breakthrough to make it more active. Issues of poverty alleviation, economic and social could be raised in an effective manner. But, its preparations should be finalized on time through consultations with the experts,” the former prime minister said.
Talking to RSS on preparations of SAARC Summit, Thapa said its operation should not be made complex by raising contentious political issues.
Former Prime Minister Thapa had led the Nepali delegation in the 12th SAAC Summit held in Islamabad, Pakistan, on January 4-6.
Saying that role of a single nation was not sufficient to make the SAARC dynamic, Thapa said but one or the other nation should take a leading role to make it effective.
Thapa said all should be cautious to the sensitivities of India and Pakistan. “The interests of both nations should be taken in mind while making any expressions, brining proposals and dealing in such sensitivity,” Thapa added.
Asked about the effectiveness of the implementation of SAARC objectives and the declarations,Â Thapa said that the implementation part is in poor condition.
“Unless the agendas of SAARC are acknowledged as the prime one by its member countries, the implantation part will continue to be ineffective,” Thapa added, “Instead of pushing the agendas further, all countries are busy in their own internal affairs.”
The SAARC has it that to initiate any step, there should be a unanimous approval by its all member countries.
Asked Thapa if this very provision has hindered the growth of the forum, Thapa replied, ‘A matured time has not come yet to raise this issue.”
“The high time to raise the issue is when the mutual understanding between India and Pakistan increases and when they could co-exist in harmony,” Thapa said.
When it comes to reforming SAARC, Thapa was of the opinion that more active and effective efforts should be made to further the forum from where it stands today.
The issues and problems hindering its advancement will be addressed if it continues to make a steady stride battling the odds.
In the recent time, there have been remarkable changes in the world in the context of social, political, economic and international arenas.
Asked Thapa how the forum could be advanced, he opined that the forum should call a regular assembly of the ministers and experts of the member countries and discussed on various issues prevailing in the region
Thapa opined that no country in the SAARC has ever taken such an initiative. “To make this happen, to begin with, the top two major players of the region, India and Pakistan, must take a lead,” he stated.