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Pakistan considering new Asian group with Iran, China

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Staff Writer | October 14, 2016
Mushahid Hussain Syed
Cooperation   Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed:

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed leading a parliamentary delegation from Pakistan to the U.S., has revealed this idea during his five-day visit to Washington.

He said that this group would be more effective than eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

“A greater South Asia is already emerging,” said Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, in one of his interactions with the media.

“This greater South Asia includes China, Iran and the neighbouring Central Asian republics.”

“We want India to join this arrangement as well,” said Senator Mushahid Hussain.

“Apparently, the showdown forced Pakistan to conclude that in its present shape, SAARC will always be dominated by India. That’s why they are now talking about a greater South Asia,” said a senior diplomat in an interview with Pakistani daily Dawn', confirming reports that Pakistan is actively seeking a new regional arrangement.

Last month, India had announced that it would not attend the regional group’s 19th summit, scheduled in Islamabad on November 15-16 which was later postponed.

Diplomatic observers say that the proposed arrangement also suits China as it can play an important role in persuading Central Asian republics and Iran to join the new arrangement.

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