chapter  3
23 Pages

Security and economic cooperation

Much of the extant literature on South Asia’s regional cooperation has converged on the perceived lack of effectiveness of SAARC. For instance, Kishore Dash offers a voice to this perspective when he writes that “to some, SAARC is merely a talking shop, which can provide nothing more than a lip service to the various issues of peace and development in the region.”1 Despite its shortcomings, however, Dash has argued that although SAARC “may not be a panacea to the region’s problems, but its existence has certainly provided an opportunity for the policy makers, administrators, and experts to meet regularly and hold informal dialogues on important bilateral and regional issues.”2 Thus, the strongest defense of SAARC is that it provides an informal forum for the mediation of important regional cooperation challenges. Even S. D. Muni suggests that without SAARC, “the deterioration in the regional strategic environment would have been greater and moved faster.”3