Nepal quake gets India, Pakistan leaders talking: Need for SAARC solidarity

It takes a colossal tragedy like the 7.9 Richter earthquake in Nepal to get the leaders of India and Pakistan talking. And that’s not something to be cynical about. On the contrary, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s telephone call to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi should be welcomed not just because the Pakistani leader lauded India’s exemplary relief efforts in the Himalayan state, but the conversation underlines the need for regional solidarity in the face of cataclysmic events like the Nepal quake.
The Nepal tragedy is also the testing time for SAARC to shed its unenviable reputation as a talk shop and show some real initiative in healing the wounds of a member country. To begin with, the SAARC Disaster Management Mechanism should be strengthened. Secondly, SAARC Food Bank should be activated to provide immediate succour to thousands of hungry people who could starve to death if they are not fed urgently. It’s time for SAARC to show its relevance in testing times like the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake.

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