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The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an
organisation of South Asian nations, which was established on 8
December 1985 when the government of Bangladesh , Bhutan, India,
Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka formally adopted its charter
providing for the promotion of economic and social progress, cultural
development within the South Asia region and also for friendship and
cooperation with other developing countries. It is dedicated to economic,
technological, social, and cultural development emphasising collective
self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Sri Lanka, Bhutan, India,
Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Afghanistan joined the
organization in 2007. Meetings of heads of state are usually scheduled
annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, twice annually. It is
headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Area of operation of SAARC nations are Agriculture and Rural
Development Health and Population Activities Women, Youth and Children
Transportation Environment and Forestry Science and Technology and
Meteorology Human Resources development .

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an
organization of South Asian nations, founded in 1985 and dedicated to
economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasizing
collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Bangladesh,
Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan
joined the organization in 2007. Meetings of heads of state are usually
scheduled annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, twice annually.
Headquarters are in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The first concrete proposal for establishing a framework for regional
cooperation in South Asia was made by the late president of Bangladesh,
Ziaur Rahman, on May 2, 1980. Prior to this, the idea of regional
cooperation in South Asia was discussed in at least three conferences: the
Asian Relations Conference in New Delhi in April 1947, the Baguio
Conference in the Philippines in May 1950, and the Colombo Powers
Conference in April 1954. 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.

Afghanistan was added to the regional grouping on 13 November 2005

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. 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. On 4 March 2008, Iran requested
observer status. Followed shortly by the entrance of Mauritius.

The objectives of the Association as defined in the Charter are:

1. To promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve
their quality of life;
2. 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;
3. To promote and strengthen selective self-reliance among the
countries of South Asia;
4. To contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of
one another's problems;
5. To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the
economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields;
6. To strengthen cooperation with other developing countries;

7. To strengthen cooperation among themselves in international

forums on matters of common interest; and
8. To cooperate with international and regional organisations with
similar aims and purposes.


The principles are:

Respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, political equality and
independence of all members states
Non-interference in the internal matters is one of its objectives
Cooperation for mutual benefit
All decisions to be taken unanimously and need a quorum of all
eight members
All bilateral issues to be kept aside and only multilateral (involving
many countries) Issues to be discussed without being prejudiced by
bilateral issues


Sri Lanka
European Union
South Korea
United States

South Africa has participated in meetings.

The SAARC Secretariat has established various regional centres in member
states. Each regional centre is managed by a governing board. The GB has
representatives of each of the member state and SAARC Secretariat.
The SAARC Secretariat is supported by following Regional Centres
established in Member States to promote regional cooperation. These Centres are
managed by Governing Boards comprising representatives from all the Member
States, SAARC Secretary-General and the Ministry of Foreign/External Affairs of
the Host Government. The Director of the Centre acts as Member Secretary to the
Governing Board which reports to the Programming Committee.

SAARC Agricultural Centre (SAC), Dhaka
SAARC Meteorological Research Centre (SMRC), Dhaka
SAARC Tuberculosis Centre (STC), Kathmandu
SAARC Documentation Centre (SDC), New Delhi
SAARC Human Resources Development Centre (SHRDC), Islamabad
SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre (SCZMC), Maldives
SAARC Information Centre (SIC), Nepal
SAARC Energy Centre (SEC), Pakistan
SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC), India
SAARC Forestry Centre (SFC), Bhutan
SAARC Cultural Centre (SCC), Sri Lanka



SAARC Apex Bodies

SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI)

South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA)
South Asia Foundation (SAF)
South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC)
Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL)


SAARC Recognized Bodies

SAARC Federation of University Women (SAARCFUW)
Association of Management and Development Institutions in South Asia

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation of Architects (SAARCH)
Federation of State Insurance Organizations of SAARC Countries (FSIO)
SAARC Diploma Engineers Forum (SDEF)
Radiological Society of SAARC Countries (RSSC)
SAARC Teachers Federation (STF)
SAARC Surgical Care Society (SSCS)
South Asian Regional Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and

Leprologists (SARAD)
South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA)
SAARC Womens Association in Sri Lanka (SWA)
Hindukush Himalayan Grassroots Womens Natural Resources Management
Federation of Association of Pediatric Surgeons of SAARC Countries
South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE)
SAARC Federation of Oncologists (SFO)
South Asia Association of National Scout Organization (SAANSO)
South Asian Network of Economic Research Institute (SANEI)


The SAARC comprises five leayers of organizational structure:
1. Council: At the top, there is the Council represented by the heads of the
government of the member countries. The council the apex policy making body. It
meets once in 2 years time.
2. Council of Minister: It is to assist the council. It is represented by the foreign
minister of the member countries. Its functions include:

Formulation of policies

Review of functioning
Deciding new areas of cooperation
Chalk our additional mechanism
Decide about general issues of common of interest of the SAARC member.

3. Standing Committee: It is comprised by the foreign secretarian of the member

government. Its major functions are:

To monitor and co-ordinate the programmes

To determine inter-sectored priorities
To mobilise cooperation within and outside the region
To deal with the modalities of financing.

4. Programming Committee: It consist of the senior official of the member

governments. Its functions include:

Scrutinizing the budget of the secretarials

Finalizing the annual schedule
External activities assigned by the standing committee
Analyses the respects of the technical committee.

5. Technical Committee: It consist of the represented of the member nations. Its

function are:

To formulate project and programmer

To monitor and execute the projects
To submit reports.
The Technical Committee convers the areas such as: Aqriculture, Communication,
Environment, Rural Development, Health and Population, Science and
Technology, Tourism and Transport.

The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987 and
was inaugurated by Late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal.
It is headed by a Secretary General appointed by the Council of Ministers from
Member Countries in alphabetical order for a three-year term. He is assisted by the
Professional and the General Services Staff, and also an appropriate number of
functional units called Divisions assigned to Directors on deputation from Member
States. The Secretariat coordinates and monitors implementation of activities,
prepares for and services meetings, and serves as a channel of communication
between the Association and its Member States as well as other regional
The Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the Secretariat which
was signed by Foreign Ministers of member countries on 17 November 1986 at
Bangalore, India contains various clauses concerning the role, structure and
administration of the SAARC Secretariat as well as the powers of the SecretaryGeneral.
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.

The SAARC Secretariat and Member States observe 8 December as the SAARC
Charter Day1.

Secretary General, Directors and Staff of the SAARC Secretariat at the function to
celebrate the 25th SAARC Charter Day, 2009 in Kathmandu



Servicing the
Serving as a
monitaring &link between
SAARC & other
SAARC activities
Abul Ahsan
Kishore Kant Bhargava
Ibrahim Hussain Zaki
Yadav Kant Silwal
Naeem U. Hasan
Nihal Rodrigo
Q.A.M.A. Rahim
Lyonpo Chenkyab Dorji
Sheel Kant Sharma
Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed
Ahmed Saleem

January 16, 1987 to 15 October 1989

October 17, 1989 to December 31, 1991
January 1, 1992 to December 31, 1993
January 1, 1994 to December 31, 1995
January 1, 1996 to December 31, 1998
January 1, 1999 to January 10, 2002
January 11, 2002 to February 28, 2005
March 1, 2005 to February 29, 2008
March 1, 2008 to February 28, 2011
March 1, 2011 to March, 2012
March, 2012 to present



e n



i m




n C





Represented by the heads of foreign Minister of the member of


FUNCTIONS: The Highest Policy making body

MEETING: The Council meets once in two years.



REPRESENTATIVES: Represented by the foreign ministers of

member Governments

MEETINGS: The Council meets twice a year or more times if





Mobilizing Co-operation
and outside
region and
of Standing
the modalities of


REPRESENTATIVE: It includes the senior officials of the

member Governments

of out the
Activities assigned
by the Standing
Analyzing the
Scrutinising Committee
Finalizing the annual

and submitting themthe

to budget
the Standing Committee
of the
along with its components
Secretariatof the secretariat


REPRESENTATIVE: It comprises the representatives of all countries.
n rr
l i
n tt



Rural 2000
1983 Transportactivities


Re-affirming that the principal goal of SAARC is to promote the welfare of
the peoples of South Asia, to improve their quality of life, to accelerate economic
growth, social progress and cultural development and to provide all individuals the
opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potential.
Recognising that the countries of South Asia have been linked by age-old
cultural, social and historical traditions and that these have enriched the interaction
of ideas, values, cultures and philosophies among the people and the States and
that these commonalities constitute solid foundations for regional cooperation for
addressing more effectively the economic and social needs of people.
Recalling that all Member States attach high importance to the imperative of
social development and economic growth and that their national legislative,
executive and administrative frameworks provide, in varying degrees, for the
progressive realization of social and economic goals, with specific provisions,
where appropriate, for the principles of equity, affirmative action and public
Observing that regional cooperation in the social sector has received the
focused attention of the Member States and that specific areas such as health,
nutrition, food security, safe drinking water and sanitation, population activities,
and child development and rights along with gender equality, participation of
women in development, welfare of the elderly people, youth mobilization and
human resources development continue to remain on the agenda of regional
Noting that high level meetings convened since the inception of SAARC on
the subjects of children, women, human resettlements, sustainable developments,
agriculture and food, poverty alleviation etc. have contributed immensely to the
enrichment of the social agenda in the region and that several directives of the
Heads of State or Government of SAARC Countries at their Summit meetings
have imparted dynamism and urgency to adopting regional programmes to fully
and effectively realize social goals.
Reiterating that the SAARC Charter and the SAARC Conventions,
respectively on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, Preventing and
Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution, Regional
Arrangements for the Promotion of Child Welfare in South Asia and the SAARC

Agreement on Food Security Reserve provide regional frameworks for addressing

specific social issues, which require concerted and coordinated actions and
strategies for the effective realization of their objectives.
Realizing that the health of the population of the countries of the region is
closely interlinked and can be sustained only by putting in place coordinated
surveillance mechanisms and prevention and management strategies.
Noting, in particular, that Heads of State or Government of SAARC
Countries, at their Tenth Summit in Colombo in July 1998, re-affirmed the need to
develop, beyond national plans of action, a regional dimension of cooperation in
the social sector and that the Eleventh SAARC Summit in Kathmandu in January
2002 directed that a SAARC Social Charter be concluded as early as possible.
Convinced that it was timely to develop a regional instrument which
consolidated the multifarious commitments of SAARC Member States in the social
sector and provided a practical platform for concerted, coherent and
complementary action in determining social priorities, improving the structure and
content of social policies and programmes, ensuring greater efficiency in the
utilization of national, regional and external resources and in enhancing the equity
and sustainability of social programmes and the quality of living conditions of their
The Member States of the South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation hereby agree to adopt this Charter:


SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement

In December 1991, the Sixth Summit held in Colombo approved the
establishment of an Inter-Governmental Group (IGG) to formulate an
agreement to establish a SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement
(SAPTA) by 1997. Given the consensus within SAARC, the Agreement on
SAPTA was signed on 11 April 1993 and entered into force on 7 December
1995 well in advance of the date stipulated by the Colombo Summit. The
Agreement reflected the desire of the Member States to promote and
sustain mutual trade and economic cooperation within the SAARC region
through the exchange of concessions.
The basic principles underlying SAPTA are:
a. overall reciprocity and mutuality of advantages so as to benefit
equitably all Contracting States, taking into account their respective
level of economic and industrial development, the pattern of their
external trade, and trade and tariff policies and systems;
b. negotiation of tariff reform step by step, improved and extended in
successive stages through periodic reviews;
c. recognition of the special needs of the Least Developed Contracting
States and agreement on concrete preferential measures in their
favour; and
d. inclusion of all products, manufactures and commodities in their raw,
semi-processed and processed forms.
Four rounds of trade negotiations have been concluded under SAPTA
covering over 5000 commodities. Each Round contributed to an
incremental trend in the product coverage and the deepening of tariff
concessions over previous Rounds.


South Asian Free Trade Area

The Agreement on SAARC Preferential trading Arrangement (SAPTA)[2] was
signed on 11 April 1993 and entered into force on 7 December 1995, with the
desire of the Member States of SAARC (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka,
Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives) to promote and sustain mutual trade and
economic cooperation within the SAARC region through the exchange of
The establishment of an Inter-Governmental Group (IGG) to formulate an
agreement to establish a SAPTA by 1997 was approved in the Sixth Summit of
SAARC held in Colombo in December 1991.
The basic principles underlying SAFTA are as under;
overall reciprocity and mutuality of advantages so as to benefit equitably all
Contracting States, taking into account their respective level of economic
and industrial development, the pattern of their external trade, and trade and
tariff policies and systems;
negotiation of tariff reform step by step, improved and extended in
successive stages through periodic reviews;


recognition of the special needs of the Least Developed Contracting States

and agreement on concrete preferential measures in their favour;

A sensitive list is a list with every country which does not include tariff
concession. Bangladesh has 1,233 products on the sensitive list for the Least
Developing countries and 1,241 for the non-Least developing countries under the
SAFTA. Bangladesh will reduce the sensitive list by 246 items for the least
developed countries (LDCs) and 248 for the non-LDCs.[5] India has 25 items on the
sensitive list for the LDCs and 695 for the non-LDCs. Dr Manmohan Singh, the
Indian Prime Minister, announced in September in Dhaka that he will reduce the
Sensitive List by 46. Bhutan has 150 items for both the LDCs and non-LDCs and
has no plan of shortening its list. Nepal has 1,257 for the LDCs and 1,295 for the
non-LDCs. Nepal has reduced its list by 259 from its previous list of 1295. Now
it's 1036, said joint secretary at Ministry of Commerce and Supplies.
The Maldives has 681 for all seven SAFTA nations. Pakistan had 1,169 in its
sensitive list but has cut its sensitive list by 20% to 936 Sri Lanka has 1,042
and Afghanistan has 1,072 items on the negative list.

Following are the instrument involved in SAFTA:

Trade Liberalisation Programme

Rules of Origin

Institutional Arrangements

Consultations and Dispute Settlement Procedures

Safeguard Measures

Any other instrument that may be agreed upon.


India succeeded in building excellent trade relations and cordial relations on social,
political and economic front with the 6 SAARC countries.
India has been an active member of the SAARC and aims and fostering better
mutual understanding by supporting people-to-people initiatives. India offers a
great source of potential investment in terms of trade and commerce as it is the sole
SAARC member to be sharing borders with all 6 members via land or sea.
SAARCs prime objectives include: promoting the welfare of the people of South
Asia, accelerating the Economic growth, social progress; providing dignified
livelihood to all individuals and on a larger scale promoting the self-reliance
amongst the South Asian nations and building trust and appreciation for other
countries problem.


In the way of achieving these objectives, poverty has been major hindrance. India
offered a contribution of US $ 100 million at the twelfth Summit held at Islamabad
in 2004.
Indias disputes and military rivalry with Pakistan is believed to be the cause of
ineffectiveness of SAARC in integrating South Asian countries. If Indo-Pak
relations improve, many SAARC nations could benefit from it by improved trade
relations and creation of better export markets. SAARC has failed to work towards
regional co-operation mainly because India has been reluctant to solve major
regional disputes which have given rise to economic and political problems in
South Asia.
Since India has an unbeatable economic, military strength and international
influence compared to all 6 members of SAARC, the disparity of power brings in
the reluctance from smaller states to work with India. They have fear of dominance
from India if they co-operate in order to facilitate faster economic growth.
India has also heightened the fears of fears of South Asian nations by acting in a
dominating and arrogant way. Its dispute with neighboring Bangladesh due to
redirection of water flows impacting Bangladeshs agricultural production has kept
Bangladesh afraid of its powers.


Nepal is also fearful that India may take over its world trade because of its
geographical suitability. As a result of all these fears and disagreements, SAARC
has failed to promote regional co-operation and mutual trust amongst the South
Asian countries.
The tension between India and Sri Lanka that prevailed for 4 years over Indian
Military trying to curb the revolution by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil E Elam and
Indo-Pak Dispute over the Kashmir valley and the resulting Trade violations are
enough to prove that South Asian countries fail to achieve SAARC objectives by
any means.
India must come to the front and initiate measures to encourage nations to prove
their mettle and make the SAARC summit a meaningful affair. Appropriate
measures should be taken with the intent of maintaining peace and resolving
disputes amongst the SAARC member countries. Special Economic Zones and
Export Promotion Zones should be created in all member countries to make trading
easier and smooth the relations between the South Asian nations.



The SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme was launched in 1992. The leaders at the
Fourth Summit (Islamabad, 29-31 December 1988), while realizing the importance
of having people to people contacts, among the peoples of SARC countries,
decided that certain categories of dignitaries should be entitled to a Special Travel
document, which would exempt them from visas within the region. As directed
by the Summit, the Council of Ministers regularly kept under review the list of
entitled categories.
Currently the list included 24 categories of entitled persons, which include
Dignitaries, Judges of higher courts, Parliamentarians, Senior Officials,
Businessmen, Journalists, Sportsmen etc.
The Visa Stickers are issued by the respective Member States to the entitled
categories of that particular country. The validity of the Visa Sticker is generally
for one year. The implementation is reviewed regularly by the Immigration
Authorities of SAAR Member States.


South Asian Free Trade Area
Over the years, the SAARC members have expressed their unwillingness on
signing a free trade agreement. Though India has several trade pacts with
Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, similar trade agreements with Pakistan
and Bangladesh have been stalled due to political and economic concerns on both
sides. In 1993, SAARC countries signed an agreement to gradually lower tariffs
within the region, in Dhaka. Eleven years later, at the 12th SAARC Summit at
Islamabad, SAARC countries devised the South Asia Free Trade Agreement which
created a framework for the establishment of a free trade area covering 1.6 billion
people. This agreement went into force on January 1, 2008. Under this agreement,
SAARC members will bring their duties down to 20 percent by 2009.

1. A SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) was established in New Delhi
in October 2006. The SDMC provides policy advice and facilitates capacity
building including strategic learning, research, training, system development,
expertise promotion and exchange of information for effective disaster risk
reduction and management.
2. Regional Centers such as the SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre in the
Maldives, the SAARC Forestry Centre in Bhutan, the SAARC Disaster
Management Centre in India and the SAARC Meteorological Research Centre in
Bangladesh constitute a framework of SAARC Institutions which address diverse
aspects of environment, climate change and natural disasters.


3. Sixteenth SAARC Summit, Thimphu, 28-29 April 2010

Climate Change was the theme of the Sixteenth SAARC Summit (Thimphu, 28-29
April 2010) and, among others, the Heads of State or Government of SAARC
adopted the Thimphu Statement on Climate Change which outlines a number of
important initiatives at the national and regional levels to strengthen and intensity
regional cooperation to address the adverse effects of climate change in a focused
manner. The Inter-governmental Expert Group on Climate Change (IGEG.CC),
established by the Thimphu Statement, is scheduled to meet in Sri Lanka in 2011.

At the Thirteenth SAARC Summit held in November 2005 in Dhaka, India
proposed to create a Centre of Excellence, in the form of a South Asian University,
which can provide world class facilities and professional faculty to students and
researchers drawn from every country of the region.

Recognizing the imperative to address poverty related issues and to suggest
strategies and measures to alleviate poverty in the region, the SAARC Leaders at
their Sixth Summit (Colombo, 1991) established an Independent South Asian
Commission on Poverty Alleviation (ISACPA).


The Tourism Ministers who met at Cox's Bazar (Bangladesh) in May 2006,
adopted the Cox's Bazar SAARC Action Plan on Tourism.
Several factors such as political, economic, security and potentiality
of mutual economic benefit through regionalism seem to have influenced President
Ziaur Rahmans thinking about establishing a regional organization in South Asia.
15 SAARCs existence, however, has enabled South Asian political leaders to meet
regularly and carry on informal discussions to address their mutual problems.
This is no mean achievement given South Asias past history and low
level of interaction among South Asian countries since their independence.
Informal talks among the leaders at regularly held SAARC meetings have led to
inter-elite reconciliation on many sensitive issues, producing some noteworthy
results in South Asia. The informal talks between the Indian and Pakistani Prime
Ministers at the second SAARC Summit meeting at Bangalore in November 1986
led to the diffusion of tension between the two countries on the issue of Indias
military exercise, Operation Brasstacks, on the Indo-Pakistan border, and the IndiaSri Lanka talks at the 1987 SAARC foreign ministers meeting led to their accord
on the Tamil problem. As a result of an informal meeting and discussion between
Prime Minister of India and Pakistan, Narasimha Rao and Nawaz Sharif, at Davos


(Switzerland), in 1992, the Pakistani government took action to prevent the move
of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) to cross the ceasefire line in
Kashmir later that year. The Davos meeting was possible because of an earlier
informal agreement between the two leaders at the sixth SAARC Summit meeting
at Colombo in December 1991. Given this utility of SAARC, can the organization
grow or expand its role in the coming decades? The Heads of State or Government
during the Ninth SAARC

South Asia needs increased co operations among its countries to face challenges
posed by hikes in food prices energy prices, recurrent disasters and climate change.
Due to gerographic, economic, cultural and other strategic reasons. South asia has
distinct advantages to cooperate in many areas including cross border
infrastructure and services, health, trade finance, and regional public goods. Due to
its strategic geographic location. southasia can play an important role in the wider
Asian integration, Though there are significant achievement in cooperation among
the south asian countries the progress in regional cooperation and integration has
been slow. The SAARCH has tremendous prospects to expedite the integration


Regional co operation can help achieve economic and social development. Crossborder development of basic infrastructure such as highways, railways, shipping
and air connectivity, inland waterways, power grids, san telecommucation links
can reduce physical barriers to the movement of goods and people across national
boundaries, it can in turn help to expand regional trade and tourism, increase
foreign echange earning capacity, and create labour intensive activites generating
emplyement oppportunites. Reginoal co operation can increase the regional
cooperation can play a very important role in assisting south asian coutires speed
up economic growth.
SAARC has a vital role

to play in poverty reduction and building a more

intergrated and prosperous asian region the SAARC can help to be a stabilizing
element to bilateral relationship.
The history of SAARC shows that it had been high on promise and low on
delivery, to change the organization into a more vibrant and result oriented body,
they need to overcome their differences and disputes and create a climate of mutual
trust and confidence.
The recent steps such as social charter, SAFTA, and declarations on Terrorism are
in the positive direction and their goals appear achievable there political will to do
so appears forthcoming now this looks good for the future of the SAARC.

The People's Republic of China has shown its interest in joining SAARC.
While Pakistan and Bangladesh support China's candidature, India is
against the prospect of Chinese membership. China's entry in to SAARC
will likely balance India's overbearing presence there. However, during the
2005 Dhaka summit, India agreed on granting observer status to the PRC
along with Japan. During the 14th summit, Nepal along with Pakistan and
Bangladesh, announced their support for the membership of China. China
seeks greater involvement in SAARC, however, finds it too early to apply
for full membership.
Indonesia intends to become an observer as well, and is supported
by Sri Lanka. Iran, a state with borders to two SAARC members, has
traditionally enjoyed strong cultural, economic and political relationships

with Afghanistan and Pakistan and has expressed its desire to become a
member of the South Asian organization. On 22 February 2005, the Foreign
Minister of Iran, Kamal Kharrazi, indicated Iran's interest in joining
SAARC by saying that his country could provide the region with "EastWest connectivity".

On 3 March 2007, Iran asked to join the SAARC as an observer. SAARC

Secretary-General Lyonpo Chenkyab Dorji responded by saying that Iran's
request for observer status would be taken up during a meeting of ministers
of foreign affairs of SAARC member countries in the 3 April summit in
New Delhi.

Russia intends to become an observer as well, and is supported by

India. Myanmar has expressed an interest in joining as a full member, even
though itis already a member of the ASEAN. If done so, Myanmar will
become the ninth member in the group. India is currently backing Myanmar.
Myanmar's military regime officially applied for full SAARC membership
in May 2008. However, the application is still being considered and the

government is currently restricted to observer status. South Africa has

participated in meetings.

SAARC Youth Award

The SAARC Youth Award is awarded to outstanding individuals from the SAARC
region. The award is notable due to the recognition it gives to the Award winner in
the SAARC region. The award is based on specific themes which apply to each
year. The award recognizes and promotes the commitment and talent of the youth
who give back to the world at large through various initiatives such as Inventions,
Protection of the Environment and Disaster relief. 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. The Committee for the SAARC Youth Award selects the best candidate
based on his/her merits and their decision is final.


Previous Winners:
1997: Outstanding Social Service in Community Welfare - Mr. Md. Sukur Salek
1998: New Inventions and Discoveries - Dr. Najmul Hasnain Shah (Pakistan)
2001: Creative Photography: South Asian Diversity - Mr. Mushfiqul Alam
2002: Outstanding contribution to protect the Environment - Dr. Masil Khan
2003: Invention in the Field of Traditional Medicine - Mr. Hassan Sher (Pakistan)
2004: Outstanding contribution to raising awareness for TB and/or HIV/AIDS Mr. Ajij Prasad Poudyal (Nepal)


2006: Promotion of Tourism in South Asia - Mr. Syed Zafar Abbas Naqvi
2008: Protecting the Environment in South Asia - Ms. Uswatta Liyanage Deepani
Jayantha (Sri Lanka)
2009: Outstanding contribution to humanitarian works in the aftermath of Natural
Disasters - Dr. Ravikant Singh (India)

Though the formation of SAARC is a landmark step taken by the leaders
of the region, the main rational behind its establishment is to develop a congenial
environment through summit plomacy where all nations may interact peacefully
with each other, cultivate sustainable peace and promote mutual economic well
being by harnessing available resources in the region through the peaceful process
of economic integration.

. The political tensions and conflicts surrounding the countries of a

South Asia pose a question of uncertainty and challenge to the formation of South
Asian Union.


In order to achieve the objectives the SAARC would have to evolve

into a full-fledged regional entity that can cultivate peace in the region. The
realization of durable peace and the future of economic integration through
SAARC depend upon the ability and interest of South Asian leaders to resolve
domestic as well as long-standing differences through peaceful eliberations.







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