Following is the full text of the letter addressed to the Prime Minister jointly by the CPI(M) General Secretary, Prakash Karat and CPI General Secretary, A.B. Bardhan on the reported proposal for making the USA a SAARC Observer.
12 April 2006
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Government of India
Dear Dr. Manmohan Singhji,
We have learnt that there is a proposal to make the United States an observer in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). This is being considered at the request of the United States government. It has been reported in the media that the issue will be discussed in the forthcoming meeting of the Foreign Secretaries of the SAARC countries when the modalities for associating China and Japan as observers is going to be worked out.
We are unable to understand the rationale for involving the United States as an observer in the South Asian regional forum. We wonder whether India’s decision to support the United States as an observer is an outcome of the strategic partnership that has been worked out with the United States which necessitates direct involvement by the latter in the region.
If non-Asian powers are going to be associated with the SAARC, then other major countries of the Asean region and Russia would have a better claim to be associated.
It would be better if the Government clarifies its position in the matter.
(Prakash Karat) (A.B. Bardhan)
General Secretary General Secretary
Communist Party of India (Marxist) Communist Party of India