NEW DELHI, April 5, 2007 (AFP) – Conflict-ridden South Asian nations made little headway in fighting terrorism or boosting trade at a summit this week despite repeated calls for action, analysts said Thursday.
The eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SSARC) ended a two-day summit Wednesday with a declaration that underscored an “urgent need” to implement ideas, more than two decades after the bloc was founded.
But there was scant detail about how that would take place.
“There has not been any substantial progress on the two big issues — terrorism and trade despite the fact that every SAARC member is experiencing terrorism of some sort,” said security expert Chitrapu Uday Bhaskar.
“No significant progress has been made this time,” he said.
Set up in 1985, SAARC has been criticised for achieving little, mostly because of tensions between key members India and Pakistan which have fought three wars, two over the disputed region of Kashmir.
At the summit, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz stood firmly behind Islamabad’s position that Kashmir was the “key dispute” and that free trade with India depended on progress on the issue.
Led by Indian Prime Minis