Pakistan is trying to form a larger economic group among South and Central Asian countries to counter India’s ‘growing’ influence among South Asian Association Countries (SAARC). Dawn news paper quoting highly placed diplomatic sources said Pakistan parliamentary delegation which is on a visit to New York mooted this idea. Senator Mushahid Hussain who is part of the delegation said a greater Cooperation among South Asian countries is already emerging
“This greater South Asia includes China, Iran and the neighbouring Central Asian republics,”Mushahid Hussain, Pakistan Senator
He said Pakistan want India also to join the alliance. He added that the China -Pakistan Economic Corridor is key economic route linking South Asian countries to Central Asian countries. The China Pakistan economic corridor passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
After the Uri terror attack India has withdrawn from the SAARC summit which was to be held in Pakistan this month. Supporting India’s case Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka also decided not to attend the meeting. Pakistan was totally isolated among the SAARC members.
The report quoted a diplomat as saying that this isolation forced Pakistan to conclude that in its present shape, SAARC will always be dominated by India. That's why we are now talking about a greater South Asia. Pakistan hopes that this new arrangement will give it more room to manoeuvre when India tries to force a decision on it”
Pakistan believes that China can persuade Central Asian countries like Iran to join the alliance. But according to reports Pakistan is not sure whether counties like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka may not join the group since it won’t benefit them. Afghanistan is the country which could benefit by the economic alliance. But because the country is having a strong relationship with India, the chances of them joining the group is also minimal.