In the wake of the Uri attack, India has vowed to isolate Pakistan internationally by highlighting its alleged support to terror elements, and has been 100 per cent successful in its endeavour.
Last month, India used its influence in eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to isolate Pakistan when it announced that it would not attend the regional group’s 19th summit, scheduled in Islamabad on November 15 and 16. And many other SAARC nations followed suit.
Seemingly annoyed over its isolation, now Pakistan is exploring the possibility of creating a greater South Asian economic alliance to counter India’s hold on SAARC.
A parliamentary delegation from Pakistan, which is now in New York, pitched this idea during its five-day visit to Washington last week, The Dawn reported.
According to senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, the idea of a greater South Asia is emerging which will include China, Iran and the neighbouring Central Asian republics.
A senior Pakistani diplomat said that given the heightened tensions between the two neighbours, Pakistan concluded that in its present shape, SAARC will always be dominated by India. “That’s why they are now talking about a greater South Asia,” he said.
“We want India to join this arrangement as well,” said Syed.
Diplomatic observers in Washington believe the arrangement suits China due to its worried related to India. They argued that China can play an important role in persuading Central Asian republics and Iran to join the new arrangement.
India has pulled out of the 19th Saarc summit which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad on November 15 and 16.
India cited Pakistan’s involvement in the September 18 terrorist attack at an army camp in Kashmir’s Uri , in which 19 soldiers died, as the reason for its decision to boycott the summit.