The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an organisation of South Asian nations, founded in December 1985

and dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasising collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan joined the organization in 2005. Meetings of heads of state are usually scheduled annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, twice annually. It is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. The 11 stated areas of cooperation are agriculture; education, culture, and sports; health, population, and child welfare; the environment and meteorology; rural development (including the SAARC Youth Volunteers Program); tourism; transport; science and technology; communications. he concept of SAARC was first adopted by Bangladesh during 1977, under the administration of President Ziaur Rahman. In the late 1970s, SAARC nations agreed upon the creation of a trade bloc consisting of South Asian countries. The idea of regional cooperation in South Asia was again mooted in May 1980. The foreign secretaries of the seven countries met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981. The Committee of the Whole, which met in Colombo in August 1985, identified five broad areas for regional cooperation. New areas of cooperation were added in the following years.[1]

[edit] Objectives
The objectives of the Association as defined in the Charter are:[2]
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to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life; to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potential; to promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia; to contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another's problems; to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields; to strengthen cooperation with other developing countries; to strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interest; and to cooperate with international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes.

Afghanistan was added to the regional grouping on 13 November 2005,[3] With the addition of Afghanistan, the total number of member states were raised to eight (8). In April 2006, the United States of America and South Korea made formal requests to be granted observer status. The European Union has also indicated interest in being given observer status, and made a formal request for the same to the SAARC Council of Ministers meeting in July 2006.[4][5] On 2 August 2006 the foreign ministers of the SAARC countries agreed in principle to grant observer status to the US, South Korea and the European Union.[5] On 4 March 2008, Iran requested observer status.[6] Followed shortly by the entrance of Mauritius.

SAARC has also refrained itself from interfering in the internal matters of its member states. the SAARC members have expressed their unwillingness on signing a free trade agreement. [edit] Political issues SAARC has intentionally laid more stress on "core issues" mentioned above rather than more decisive political issues like the Kashmir dispute and the Sri Lankan civil war.[7] The Secretariat coordinates and monitors implementation of activities. Nepal. In several recent meetings the heads of state or government of member states of SAARC have taken some important decisions and bold initiatives to strengthen the organisation and to widen and deepen regional co-operation. Each regional centre is managed by a governing board (GB). It is headed by a Secretary General appointed by the Council of Ministers from Member Countries in alphabetical order for a three-year term. structure and administration of the SAARC Secretariat as well as the powers of the Secretary-General. In 1993.[7] The Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the Secretariat[7] which was signed by Foreign Ministers of member countries on 17 November 1986 at Bangalore. Regional Centres The SAARC Secretariat has established various regional centres in member states. The SAARC Secretariat and Member States observe 8 December as the SAARC Charter Day1. extreme emphasis was laid upon greater cooperation between the SAARC members to fight terrorism. and serves as a channel of communication between the Association and its Member States as well as other regional organizations. He is assisted by the Professional and the General Services Staff. prepares for and services meetings. Though India has several trade pacts with Maldives. During the 12th and 13th SAARC summits. SAARC countries signed an agreement to gradually .[edit] Secretariat The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987 and was inaugurated by Late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal. similar trade agreements with Pakistan and Bangladesh have been stalled due to political and economic concerns on both sides. The GB has representatives of each of the member state and SAARC Secretariat. and also an appropriate number of functional units called Divisions assigned to Directors on deputation from Member States. However. [edit] South Asian Free Trade Area Over the years. The 13th being SAARC Arbitration Council established at Islamabad in 2010. India contains various clauses concerning the role. political dialogue is often conducted on the margins of SAARC meetings. Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

Ms. Md. SAARC countries devised the South Asia Free Trade Agreement which created a framework for the establishment of a free trade area covering 1. to economic ones.lower tariffs within the region. Najmul Hasnain Shah (Pakistan) 2001: Creative Photography: South Asian Diversity . Under this agreement. Syed Zafar Abbas Naqvi (Pakistan) 2008: From Himalayan glaciers to verdant plains to coral reefs – protecting the Environment in South Asia . Ravikant Singh (India) . The Committee for the SAARC Youth Award selects the best candidate based on his/her merits and their decision is final.Mr. at the 12th SAARC Summit at Islamabad. Eleven years later. [edit] SAARC Youth Award The SAARC Youth Award is awarded to outstanding individuals from the SAARC region. The nations also agreed to organize development funds under would cover all SAARC programs and also ranging from social.Dr.Mr. in Dhaka.Dr. South Korea and United States of America. SAARC members will bring their duties down to 20 per cent by 2009. Masil Khan (Pakistan) 2003: Invention in the Field of Traditional Medicine . Sukur Salek (Bangladesh) 1998: New Inventions and Discoveries . The recipients who receive this award are ones who have dedicated their lives to their individual causes to improve situations in their own countries as well as paving a path for the SAARC region to follow. [edit] Dhaka 2009 Summit The summit accorded observer status to People's Republic of China. Japan. to infrastructure. Mushfiqul Alam (Bangladesh) 2002: Outstanding contribution to protect the Environment . The award recognises and promotes the commitment and talent of the youth who give back to the world at large through various initiatives such as Inventions. The award is notable due to the recognition it gives to the Award winner in the SAARC region. Uswatta Liyanage Deepani Jayantha (Sri Lanka) 2009: Outstanding contribution to humanitarian works in the aftermath of Natural Disasters .Mr.Mr.Mr.Dr. Ajij Prasad Poudyal (Nepal) 2006: Promotion of Tourism in South Asia .6 billion people. The award is based on specific themes which apply to each year. 2008. Hassan Sher (Pakistan) 2004: Outstanding contribution to raising awareness for TB and/or HIV/AIDS . This agreement went into force on January 1. Previous Winners: 1997: Outstanding Social Service in Community Welfare . Protection of the Environment and Disaster relief.

however. Nepal along with Pakistan and Bangladesh. during the 2005 Dhaka summit. India agreed on granting observer status to the PRC along with Japan. Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne (Sri Lanka) [edit] South Asian Federation of Accountants South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) is a forum of professional accountancy bodies in the SAARC Region. On 22 February 2005. Iran asked to join the SAARC as an observer. has traditionally enjoyed strong cultural. India is currently backing Myanmar. and is supported by Sri Lanka.[8] While Pakistan and Bangladesh support China's candidature. a state with borders to two SAARC members. [edit] Membership [edit] Current members (alphabetically)         Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan India Maldives Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka [edit] Future membership      The People's Republic of China has shown its interest in joining SAARC.[13] Indonesia intends to become an observer as well. SAARC Secretary-General Lyonpo Chenkyab Dorji responded by saying that Iran's request for observer status would be taken up during a meeting of foreign ministers at the 3 April summit in New Delhi.2010: Outstanding contribution for the Protection of Environment and mitigation of Climate Change . even though it is already a member of the ASEAN. announced their support for the membership of China.[17][18] Myanmar has expressed an interest in joining as a full member.[12][16] Russia intends to become an observer as well and is supported by India. Myanmar will become the ninth member in the group. finds it too early to apply for full membership. economic and political relationships with Afghanistan and Pakistan and has expressed its desire to become a member of the South Asian organization.[14] Iran."[15] On 3 March 2007. India is against the prospect of Chinese membership.[19][20] Myanmar’s military regime . During the 14th summit.[9] However. the Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi indicated Iran's interest in joining SAARC by saying that his country could provide the region with "East-West connectivity. If done so.[10][11][12] China seeks greater involvement in SAARC.Ms.

Rahim January 11. 1989 to December 31.[22] [edit] Secretaries General Abul Ahsan Kant Kishore Bhargava Ibrahim Hussain Zaki January 16. 1995 Yadav Kant Silwal January 1. 2008 March 1.A. 1992 to December 31. 2008 to February 28. Hasan Nihal Rodrigo January 1. 2011 Sheel Kant Sharma March 1.A. 2002 Q. 1993 January 1. 2002 to February 28. 1994 to December 31. 1999 to January 10. 1996 to December 31. 2011 to present Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed SAARC summits No 1st Date 7–8 December 1985 16–17 November 1986 2–4 November 1987 29–31 December 1988 21–23 November 1990 Country Host Dhaka Host leader Ataur Rahman Khan Bangladesh 2nd India Bangalore Rajiv Gandhi 3rd Nepal Kathmandu Marich Man Singh Shrestha 4th Pakistan Islamabad Benazir Bhutto 5th Maldives Malé Maumoon Abdul Gayoom .M.officially applied for full SAARC membership in May 2008. 2005 to February 29. 1998 Naeem U. the application is still being considered and the government is currently restricted to observer status. 1991 January 1. 1987 to 15 October 1989 October 17. 2005 Lyonpo Chenkyab Dorji March 1. However.[21] [edit] Others  South Africa has participated in meetings.

6th 7th 8th 9th 21 December 1991 10-11 April 1993 2–4 May 1995 12–14 May 1997 Sri Lanka Colombo Dhaka New Delhi Malé Dingiri Banda Wijetunge Khaleda Zia P. Narasimha Rao Maumoon Abdul Gayoom Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike Sher Bahadur Deuba Zafarullah Khan Jamali Bangladesh India Maldives 10th 29–31 July 1998 Sri Lanka Colombo 11th 12th 4–6 January 2002 2–6 January 2004 12–13 November 2005 3–4 April 2007 1–3 August 2008 28–29 April 2010 November 2011 (Planned)[23] Nepal Pakistan Kathmandu Islamabad 13th Bangladesh India Sri Lanka Bhutan Dhaka Khaleda Zia 14th 15th 16th New Delhi Colombo Thimphu Manmohan Singh Ratnasiri Wickremanayake Jigme Thinley 17th Maldives Addu Mohamed Nasheed . V.