The cancellation of the 2016 SAARC summit in Islamabad, Pakistan, marks a major turning point in the geopolitical configurations in South Asia. Bimstec wasn’t a term many people outside of government circles in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan were familiar till recently. Then, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka decided to pull out of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad citing Pakistan’s continuing support for and export of terrorist groups as part of its state policy. [...]
From a passive acceptance of SAARC’s irreplaceable role as a platform for economic integration and developmental cooperation in the region, the Narendra Modi led government has changed India’s approach.
In the autumn of 2016, the cancellation of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad was a defining moment in the life of this 30-year institution. The first SAARC summit was hosted by Dhaka in December 1985. Following that, heads of government of member countries were expected to meet every year.