India-Pakistan differences affect SAARC: Maldives

February 25th, 2011 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) Ahead of the SAARC summit his country will host later this year, Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed Friday said the India-Pakistan differences have affected the potential of the regional grouping and hoped that the two countries could resolve issues amicably. “India-Pakistan differences have made it difficult for SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) to kick-start. We hope that they will be able to resolve their differences amicably,” Nasheed, who wrapped up his three-day visit to India, told reporters here.

He was responding to a question on whether India-Pakistan rivalry has affected the efficacy and future of the eight-nation grouping.

The leaders of India and Pakistan are known for holding talks on the sidelines of SAARC summits, which invariably end up stealing the limelight and take the focus away from the deliberations of the regional grouping.

“It’s possible for us to have a more friendly neighbourhood,” said Nasheed as he stressed on the role of increasing trade and connectivity in the South Asia region.

The Maldives, an archipelago nation of nearly 1,200 islands, will host the SAARC summit in November this year.

Nasheed also called for giving more powers to the SAARC secretariat to make the regional grouping more effective.

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