ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Region without Regionalism

Three decades have passed since the inception of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It still is virtually a non-starter and has not addressed any substantive issue. Intra-regional trade is minuscule. India and Pakistan show little interest in the organisation. Without judging their respective foreign policies, it is argued that South Asian regionalism is not on their agenda. Three questions arise: Is South Asia at all a region? How much does the strategic divide between India and Pakistan, with China factored in, come in the way of South Asian regionalism? Why should India bother about regionalism when its policy of bilateralism serves it fine? To probe these, the region's history, global perceptions of the region, India's foreign and educational practices, and interstate relationships are discussed.

Does SAFTA Have a Future?

Even as the SAARC agenda languishes in the aftermath of the 1998 nuclear tests, recent trends point to a space of bilateral agreements in the offing. This has serious implications for the future direction of economic cooperation under the proposed South Asian Trade Agreement (SAFTA). Bilateral deals may undermine commitment to SAFTA and also result in a tangle of overlapping deals causing further confusion.
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