SAARC varsity chair won't be permanent

Though the SAU, a brainchild of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is being set up in Delhi with India contributing almost 79 per cent of the cost for its establishment, the office of its president is likely to be rotationally held by the nominees of the eight member countries of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

As most of the SAARC institutions are headed by the nominees of the respective host governments for continuous terms, New Delhi was initially keen to make sure that the SAU too always has an Indian at helm and proposed to get the clause on president’s appointment in the varsity’s statute drafted accordingly.

But, according to the sources, India’s proposal was strongly opposed by Pakistan. Islamabad even lobbied hard to secure support from other SAARC member-countries to block New Delhi’s bid. Nepal and Bangladesh too had reservations about India’s proposal, although they were not as vocal as Pakistan.

A recent stormy meeting of the SAU steering committee held in New Delhi finally resolved that a nominee of the Indian government would hold the president’s office for the first five years and thereafter it would be rotationally held by all the member-countries’ nominees in alphabetical order.

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