Much to the chagrin of its communist allies, the Indian Government is enthusiastically supporting the inclusion of the US as an observer of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SSARC) in the 14th session to be hosted in India. China and Japan have already been accepted by the 13th session of SAARC as observers and it is likely that others such as Russia and South Korea may want a balcony seat to this grouping. In the 13th round, Afghanistan was invited to join this grouping as a full-fledged member.
Vexed by constant Indo-Pakistan barbs on Kashmir, the world had given up on SAARC. With the Kashmir peace process on the road and growing maturity by Pakistan and India not to bring up bilateral issues in a multi-lateral forum, there is a sense of forward movement in the grouping. Newer grouping with far less in common such as the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), etc have grown rapidly in reaching consensus on trade, security, terrorism, tariffs, crime, law, employment, and security. From that perspective SAARC
has been left behind.