Thursday, 10 November 2011

China's relentless push into South Asia through annual summit

Foreign ministers from left, India's S.M. Krishna, Afghanistan's Zalmai Rassoul, Bhutan's Economic Affairs Minister Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk and Sri Lanka's Gamini Peiris, arrive for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) foreign ministers meeting in Addu, Maldives, Nov 9, 2011

ADDU CITY, Maldives - China, continuing its relentless push for a larger footprint in India's backyard, has quietly approached some South Asian nations for an annual summit with it modelled loosely as a 'Saarc Plus One' fixture, diplomatic sources said.
'China wants an annual summit with our eight members on the lines of its Asean Plus One arrangement,' a senior diplomat from one of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation's (Saarc) smaller states told the Straits Times. 'It is a move that annoys India and most of us are just sitting quiet because we do not want to upset New Delhi.'
Saarc groups Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The group is holding its 17th summit this week in Addu, a Maldivian atoll south of the Equator.
While Saarc is host to a fifth of the world's population, it is dominated by India, which has a population of 1.1 billion people and a trillion dollar economy.

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