With China seeking greater role in the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as a ‘dialogue partner’ and Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka immediately supporting the Chinese move, the 20-point agenda of the declaration adopted by the 17th SAARC Summit that concluded on Friday in Addu City of the Maldives, also included the decision to review engagement between the regional body with the countries with observer status.
The United States, China, Japan, Myanmar, Australia, Iran, Korea, Mauritius and the European Union were present at the 17th SAARC Summit as the observers.
According to the 20 Point declaration, the SAARC regional body will undertake a comprehensive review of all matters relating to its engagement with observer countries, including the question of dialogue partnership, before the next Session of the Council of Ministers to be held in 2012.
The Chinese move was resisted by India and Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan preferred to remain neutral.
Thus, Nepal’s Prime Minister Bhattarai justified his India elevation else he would have a fate similar to Nepal’s former sovereign Gyanendra Shah.
Nepal thus became a tail of the Indian regime.
To recall, at the 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka of Bangladesh, Nepal had supported Chinese entrance in the South Asian regional body with an Observer status.
“It was a long time coming. But when it did in Dhaka over the weekend, China’s diplomatic big bang left in tatters India’s long-standing claim of an exclusive sphere of influence in the sub-continent. That Nepal’s King Gyanendra could hold up the consensus at the summit on Afghanistan’s membership for two days by linking it to China’s request for an association with the SAARC, heralds a new paradigm in the sub-continent’s geopolitics. Without even being present at the summit, China has significantly influenced the outcome of the Dhaka debate on expanding SAARC membership”, so wrote C. Raja Mohan for the Indian express (12, November 2005).
King Gyanendra thus became instantly a villain in the Indian eyes.
It is quite interesting to note that in a revengeful act, just a week after Gyanendra Shah’s grand push to lend support to the Chinese place in SAARC as an Observer, India forced Nepal’s subservient political parties to sign the most humiliating and anti-national 12-Point Agreement that eventually did away with the institution of Monarchy in Nepal.
Chinese also did not come to the rescue when the monarch was being sidelined. What a pity!
The date of the signing of the 12 point agreement is November 22, 2005.
In the meantime, reports have it that China has established an embassy in the Maldivian capital Male just two days before the SAARC Summit. Quiet diplomacy takes a new height.
Reports coming from Bangladesh are also in favor of China. The main opposition BNP has called for granting China full membership in the SAARC regional body.
"The delegation discussed the issue of China becoming a full member of the South-Asian platform during the meeting and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia expressing her all-out support on the issue," BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, while briefing journalist in Bangladesh.
She made the remark while meeting a high level delegation from China.
The institution of monarchy may have been sidelined but Nepal’s last King Gyanendra’s noble efforts to include China in the South Asian regional body as an observer must be praised because his efforts have considerably lessened India’s fear among smaller South Asian states.
With Madam Khalida now demanding full membership to China in SAARC must have elated Nepal’s former King Gyanendra.