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Kathmandu: Nepal on Sunday said it was making efforts to activate the eight-member regional grouping SAARC, which has not been very effective since 2016.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Concern and Coordination Committee under the National Assembly, Secretary and spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bharat Raj Paudel said the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) could not be made effective due to the lack of consensus among all member states.
“Nepal is trying to make it active,” he was quoted as saying by My Republica newspaper.

“We are chairing the SAARC. However, there are places where processes have not progressed. This multilateralism and regionalism have certain constants. One of them is that when we formed SAARC, we agreed on a fundamental principle while defining the charter of SAARC.

“That means nothing moves forward until everyone agrees on a topic. Basically, it cannot be the same. The role of the chair of SAARC is nothing special. We are only one among the eight countries. That’s why efforts are being made on this,” Paudel said.

The SAARC has not been very effective since 2016 as its biennial summits have not taken place since the last one in Kathmandu in 2014.

The 2016 SAARC Summit was to be held in Islamabad. But after the terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to “prevailing circumstances”.

The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the Islamabad meet.

The regional grouping comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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