If Pakistan persists in its obstructionist agenda, it would find itself marginalized in the larger South Asian dynamic
In Yogi Berra’s words, it’s déjà vu all over again. Pakistan has backtracked from its support for the trans-South Asian road connectivity project after suggesting that it needed more time to consider the implications of this project. And with this, Pakistan has managed to scuttle a pact that would have allowed free movement of passenger and cargo vehicles with the Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nations. After Pakistan had refused to sign this pact at the Kathmandu summit of Saarc in November 2014, India along with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh had decided to move ahead of their accord. In June 2015, these four states signed a landmark Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) for the regulation of passenger, personnel and cargo vehicular traffic among the four South Asian neighbours in Thimphu, Bhutan. This major initiative is expected to pave the way for a seamless movement of people and goods across their borders for the benefit and integration of the region, thereby galvanizing economic development in South Asia at large. India only has bilateral motor vehicle agreements with Nepal and Bangladesh, but a multilateral pact would go a long way in boosting trade in the region. The agreement opens up the possibility of turning border roads into economic corridors which could increase inter-regional trade within South Asia by 60%.