No major deals could be signed as Pakistan held back from signing two key pacts; Agreement for Regulation of Passenger and Cargo Vehicular Traffic and SAARC Regional Agreement on Railways. The only pact that was signed was SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity).The Kathmandu Declaration highlighted "deeper integration for peace and prosperity" among member states. Some of the key features of the declaration are mentioned in the BOX below.
SAARC, a regional organisation including India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Bangladesh, emerged in 1985 to promote cooperation on economic, geo-political and socio-cultural fronts. SAARC also includes 9 countries in the role of observers.
Trade has played a key role in binding the SAARC nations together. In an effort to improve trade ties, the South Asian nations signed the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) in January 2004 during the 12th SAARC summit held in Islamabad, Pakistan. This primarily came as an initiative to transform the region into an economic union. The agreement came into force in January 2006, following which SAFTA Ministerial Council was formed comprising commerce ministers of the member states.
The Kathmandu Declaration reaffirmed their commitment to achieve South Asian Economic Union in a planned manner through a free trade area, a customs union, a common market, and a common economic and monetary union.
The total Free on Board (FOB) value of exports by member states under SAFTA has reached about $3 billion, or Rs. 18,600 crore (as on 20.09.2013) since launching the SAFTA trade liberalisation programme in July 2006.
Let's look at India's bilateral trade with various SAARC nations.
(Indiaspend.org is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit)