ISSI hosts roundtable discussion with SAARC Secretary General

Kathmandu, May 22: The India Study Centre at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) organised a Roundtable Discussion, titled “Prospects and Challenges of Regional Cooperation in South Asia”, with Ambassador Golam Sarwar, Secretary General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), on Tuesday.

During the Roundtable discussion, the importance of SAARC for the region was highlighted by the participants. It was noted that SAARC is a people-centric organization. The Participants focused on SAARC’s instrumental role in addressing myriad of common challenges faced by member states like food insecurity, growing population, natural disasters, and deficient intra-regional trade and connectivity.

Currently, among other things, the organisation envisions a ‘SAARC Youth Charter’, which will help promote cultural cooperation among youth of member states. The participants focused on the need for improving implementation of SAARC’s decisions; strengthening economic cooperation and trade; and deepening regional integration and connectivity. The participants shared their perspectives on the progress made by SAARC so far and suggested ways to revive the SAARC process to make it a viable platform for regional cooperation.

The need for resolving long-standing disputes and reducing bilateral tensions was emphasized by participants as a means of creating an environment conducive for regional cooperation. Chairman BoG ISSI, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, had made concluding remarks in the discussion. The event was attended by diplomats, academics, practitioners, and researchers of various Islamabad-based think-tanks and Universities.

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