This, however, did not stop India from revitalising the SAARC grouping when opportunities emerged. Two recent instances underscore its failed attempts. At the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, in 2014, India proposed the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement. However, this could not progress due to resistance from Pakistan. This compelled Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) to sign the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement in 2015. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Kathmandu, regional integration in South Asia would go ahead “through SAARC or outside it, among all of us or some of us,” keeping the doors open for those outside to join when they felt confortable to do so. Pakistan also opted out of the ambitious SAARC Satellite project proposed by India, leading to a change in its name to the South Asia Satellite.
There is a tendency in some quarters to see India’s interests in BIMSTEC as part of its strategy to isolate Pakistan and position BIMSTEC as an alternative to SAARC. The above instances suggest otherwise.