There was no need for these two big bickering neighbours of south Asia to hijack the South Asia Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc). The stupid Indian media -- the so-called secular and liberal ones -- focus exclsuively on what happens between India and Pakistan on the margins of any international forum. The one reason that Saarc is not evolving as an effective regional organisation in the manner of Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) is due to the silly diplomatic war between India and Pakistan. The reason that Saarc is an orphan is because it was an idea from Bangladesh and not from India or Pakistan.
Secondly, this whole business of bringing in observers is the depserate attempt by Pakistan to counter India. Pakistan believes that the presence of China will serve as a counter to India in the organisation. Pakistan a small country is always looking to players to foil India.
India pretends it is not interested in Saarc but that it is forced to be polite and play along with the other smaller neighbours. Perhaps Saarc would prosper without India in it. But Indian diplomats assure that Saarc will not be meaningful without India in it. Asean survives without China in it. Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan must show India the door, and if Pakistan does not behave properly with Afghanistan, the new Saarc member, throw Islamabad as well.
European Union (EU) has worked because Germany and France, the arch rivals, had decided to bury the hatchet. Of course, the equation between India and Pakistan is not the same as between France and Germany. The two European countries are nearly of equal size and share civilisational and cultural values. Pakistan is physically smaller than India and that is a fact it does not want to accept. It wants to be India's equal politically and economically as well. This it could be if it wants but then it has to become a Tiger economy like that South Korea and Taiwan. But Pakistan remains a feudal country and socially backward even compared to Bangaldesh. India is far ahead of Pakistan not just in terms of the economy and political stability but also in terms of cultural vibrancy because of liberal value system.
Indian leaders, prime minister Manmohan Singh would not do it and a BJP prime minister will not dare do it, should just opt out of Saarc and tell the other countries in the neighbourhood that they will lend moral and material support to Saarc without being inside the club. That will remove the shadow of India from falling on the smaller countries and they can try and bloom on their own. Most probably Pakistan which would then become the big brother of Saarc might want to throw its weight around and make a mockery of its pretensions. Then it will be left to the other members to deal with a bully like Pakistan.