SAARC Overview for UPSC
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, shortly called (SAARC) is an economic and Political Organization for 8 countries in South Asia. SAARC was formed to promote economic growth, social progress and cultural development within South Asia.
SAARC Full form – South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
Founded Year – 8 December 1985
Founder: Mr Ziaur Rahmanm Ex. President of Bangladesh
Headquarters – Kathmandu, Nepal
Total members – 8
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was formed on December 8, 1958, in Dhaka, Bangladesh after the leaders from 7 of its founding member countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka signed the SAARC Charter.
Afghanistan become the 8th member of SAARC only in 2007 at the 14th Annual summit. The headquarters and the secretariat of SAARC are located in Kathmandu, Nepal
SAARC Summits are held annually and the country hosting the Summit holds the Chair of the Association. Decisions are made on a unanimity basis while bilateral and contentious issues are excluded from the deliberations of SAARC.
What are the Member Countries of SAARC?
There are 8 member countries in SAARC, they are as follows
- Sri Lanka
In addition to the eight Member States, nine Observer States join SAARC Summits: China, the US, Myanmar, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Mauritius and the European Union.
Objectives of SAARC
SAARC was formed with the following objectives,
- Promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and improve their quality of life
- Accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region by providing all individuals with the opportunity to live in dignity and realise their full potential
- Promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia
- Contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another’s problems
- Promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields
- Strengthen co-operation with other developing countries
- Strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interest; and
- Cooperate with international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes.
Areas of Cooperation
SAARC countries agree to follow 5 principles during cooperation among member countries. They are sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in internal affairs of the Member States and mutual benefit.
The Member States agreed on the following areas of cooperation
- Agriculture and rural development
- Education and culture
- Economic, trade and finance
- Science and Technology
- Information, Communication and Media
- Poverty alleviation
- Security aspects
- People-to-People Contacts
- Funding mechanism
- Social development