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|Title:||THE PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF REGIONAL COOPERATION IN SOUTH ASIA: A CASE STUDY OF INDIA’S ROLE IN SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION (SAARC)|
|Publisher:||INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY, ISLAMABAD|
|Abstract:||The study primarily focuses on India’s role in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and explores the main research question: Is India’s role a factor in impeding regional cooperation in South Asia? The study covers these aspects: how the leading member influences the outcome of a cooperative arrangement; dynamics of demand for South Asian regionalism; the smaller states’ and India’s perspectives on SAARC; the expectations of smaller states from India and its response; influence of India’s policies on the process of regional cooperation in prospective areas. The study holds that the leading state has to play a key role in order to make regionalism successful. If interested in the growth of regionalism, the leading state has to address the fears and concerns of smaller states through adopting a restraint and responsible behaviour and ensuring equitable distribution of the gains of regional cooperation. However, confidence in national capabilities, domestic pressures and favourable international environment may induce the leading state to pursue independent course of action and take slight or insignificant interest in promoting regionalism. The demand for South Asian regionalism was closely linked with India’s past policies towards regional states. The smaller states had initiated the idea of SAARC to achieve their security, political and economic objectives. They wanted to use SAARC mainly to contain India in the region but its success also rested on latter’s role and behaviour in the organization. India and smaller states had conflicting interests, priorities and perspectives on SAARC. New Delhi needed to harmonize its interests and priorities with the regional ones but it could not come up to the expectations. It did not favourably respond enough to the political and economic needs, concerns, and demands of the smaller states. India believed that it had to play a leading role in the world politics and it had far wider global interests. South Asia could not meet its growing political and economic needs and it was an area of marginal importance for New Delhi. India was confident of its national capabilities and extra-regional linkages to help promote most of its strategic, political and economic objectives. Favourable international environment and domestic political pressures did not allow India to significantly change its policies in the region and accommodate the concerns, needs and demands of smaller states. It continued to rely mostly on bilateralism to maintain its domination, impose its policies and extract maximum benefits from smaller states and thus obstructed growth of regionalism in South Asia. India’s undue insistence on bilateralism created discontent and mistrust among the people and ruling elites of smaller states, and thus undermined the prospects of regional cooperation in various fields. New Delhi did not take any serious initiative for the growth of regionalism in South Asia. India’s insistent preference for the bilateralism over regionalism made SAARC an ineffective regional organization.|
|Appears in Collections:||PhD Thesis of All Public / Private Sector Universities / DAIs.|
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