A divided region.

THE news stories about the never-ending Pakistan-India conflict add a surreal touch to the events dominated by the frightening coronavirus pandemic. The picture of a young child, a life brutally extinguished along the LoC by enemy fire, flashes through the Covid-19 gloom to remind everyone of the other kind of fatal epidemics that human beings themselves are prone to unleashing. The LoC sadly remains a source of bad news at a time when the focus of everyone ought to have been on finding ways to thwart the most dangerous virus in living memory. The pandemic is enough reason for the countries of South Asia to come together. However, formal regional groupings such as Saarc have been left too weak by years of wilful neglect to react positively to any emergency calls for unity. There have in recent times been overtures made for reviving the South Asian alliance and then gradually increasing the tempo of its work to a meaningful level. But for the time being the region appears too divided, with member nations looking outward for international patrons at the cost of nearby friends and essential ties.

That's a grave mistake. The spread of the virus indicates just how important and interdependent the basic rules of coexistence are, especially in times of trouble and grief. And these principles don't change even...

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