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South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

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The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia. Its member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 4.21% (US$3.67 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2019.

South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation
  • Bengali:দক্ষিণ এশীয় আঞ্চলিক সহযোগিতা সংস্থা
    Dari:
    اتحادیه همکاری‌های منطقه‌ای جنوب آسیا
    Dzongkha:༄ ལྷོ ཨེསིཨ་ རེ་གིཨོནལ་ ཅོཨོཔེརཏིཨོན་ ཀོ་མི་ཏི།
    Hindi:दक्षिण एशियाई क्षेत्रीय सहयोग संगठन
    Maldivian:
    ދެކުނު އޭޝިޔާގެ ސަރަޙައްދީ އެއްބާރުލުމުގެ ޖަމިއްޔާ
    Nepali:दक्षिण एशियाली क्षेत्रीय सहयोग सङ्गठन
    Pashto:
    د سویلي اسیا لپاره د سیمه ایزی همکارۍ ټولنه
    Sinhala:දකුණු ආසියාතික කලාපීය සහයෝගිතා සංවිධානය
    Tamil:தெற்காசிய நாடுகளின் பிராந்தியக் கூட்டமைப்பு
    Urdu:
    جنوبی ایشیائی علاقائی تعاون کی تنظیم
Flag
Logo
SAARC Region
Member states
Observer states
HeadquartersKathmandu, Nepal
Official languagesEnglish
Demonym(s)South Asian
Member states
Leaders
Esala Ruwan Weerakoon
(3 March 2020 – present)
Establishment8 December 1985
Area
• Total
5,099,611 km2 (1,968,971 sq mi) (7th)
• Water (%)
6.8
Population
• 2015 estimate
1,713,870,000 (1st)
• Density
336.1/km2 (870.5/sq mi)
GDP(PPP)2017 estimate
• Total
US$11.64 trillion (3rd)
GDP (nominal)2017 estimate
• Total
$3.31 trillion (5th)
Currency
8 currencies
Time zoneUTC+4:30 to +6 (AFT, PST, MVT, IST, SLST, NPT, BST, BTT)
Calling code
8 codes
Internet TLD
8 ccTLDs

SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union.

Contents

The idea of co-operation among South Asian Countries was discussed in three conferences: the Asian Relations Conference held in New Delhi in April 1947; the Baguio Conference in the Philippines in May 1950; and the Colombo Powers Conference held in Sri Lanka in April 1954.

A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various Asian regional organisationsvde

In the ending years of the 1970s, the seven inner South Asian nations that included Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka agreed upon the creation of a trade bloc and to provide a platform for the people of South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust, and understanding. President Ziaur Rahman later addressed official letters to the leaders of the countries of the South Asia, presenting his vision for the future of the region and the compelling arguments for region. During his visit to India in December 1977, Rahman discussed the issue of regional cooperation with the Indian Prime Minister, Morarji Desai. In the inaugural speech to the Colombo Plan Consultative Committee which met in Kathmandu also in 1977, King Birendra of Nepal gave a call for close regional cooperation among South Asian countries in sharing river waters.

After the USSR's intervention in Afghanistan, the efforts to establish the union was accelerated in 1979 and the resulting rapid deterioration of South Asian security situation. Responding to Rahman and Birendra's convention, the officials of the foreign ministries of the seven countries met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981. The Bangladeshi proposal was promptly endorsed by Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives but India and Pakistan were sceptical initially. The Indian concern was the proposal's reference to the security matters in South Asia and feared that Rahman's proposal for a regional organisation might provide an opportunity for new smaller neighbours to re-internationalize all bilateral issues and to join with each other to form an opposition against India. Pakistan assumed that it might be an Indian strategy to organize the other South Asian countries against Pakistan and ensure a regional market for Indian products, thereby consolidating and further strengthening India's economic dominance in the region.

However, after a series of diplomatic consultations headed by Bangladesh between South Asian U.N. representatives at the UN headquarters in New York, from September 1979 to 1980, it was agreed that Bangladesh would prepare the draft of a working paper for discussion among the foreign secretaries of South Asian countries. The foreign secretaries of the inner seven countries again delegated a Committee of the Whole in Colombo in September 1981, which identified five broad areas for regional cooperation. New areas of co-operation were added in the following years.

In 1983, the international conference held in Dhaka by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the foreign ministers of the inner seven countries adopted the Declaration on South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and formally launched the Integrated Programme of Action (IPA) initially in five agreed areas of cooperation namely, Agriculture; Rural Development; Telecommunications; Meteorology; and Health and Population Activities.

Officially, the union was established in Dhaka with Kathmandu being the union's secretariat-general. The first SAARC summit was held in Dhaka on 7–8 December 1985 and hosted by the President of Bangladesh Hussain Ershad. The declaration signed by King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk, President of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq, Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi, King of Nepal Birendra Shah, President of Sri Lanka JR Jayewardene, and President of Maldives Maumoon Gayoom.

Economic data is sourced from the International Monetary Fund, current as of December 2019, and is given in US dollars.

Members

Country Population (2018) GDP (nominal) [US$ million, 2021] GDP (PPP) [US$ million, 2021] GDP per capita
(Nominal)
GDP per capita
(PPP)
GDP growth rate
(2018)
Exports
(US$ million, 2018)
Foreign direct investment
(US$ million, 2017 or earlier)
Foreign exchange reserves (US$ million, 2020 or earlier) Defence budget (US$ million, 2020) Literacy rate (above age 15) Life expectancy Population below poverty line Primary school enrolment Secondary school enrollment Population undernourished (%, 2015) Human Development Index Democracy Index Global Terrorism Index G20 BRICS BIMSTEC IORA APTA BBIN SASEC AIIB ACU ACD ADB World Bank Nuclear weapons
Afghanistan 37,171,921 $18,734 $76,486 $499 $2,070 2.3% $784 N/A $7,800 $12,000 38.2% 63.67 42% N/A 54% 26.8% 0.498

(168)

2.97

(143)

9.233

(2)

Bangladesh 161,376,708 $378,589 $1,978,200 $2,214 $5,752 8.2% $40,905 $14,620 $45,054 $4,530 78.7% 73.10 7.8% 98% 73% 11.4% 0.608

(136)

5.57

(88)

0

(124)

Bhutan 754,388 $2,842 $8,195 $3,423 $9,876 6.4% $580 $186 $987 $25.1 59.5% 70.20 12% 91% 78% N/A 0.612

(134)

5.30

(94)

0.305

(107)

India 1,352,642,280 $3,049,704 $10,510,290 $2,191 $7,333 6.8% $303,400 $367,500 $487,237 $60,580 77.7% 70.1 21.2% 92% 75% 15.2% 0.645

(130)

7.23

(41)

4.222

(39)

Maldives 515,696 $5,786 $8,667 $15,563 $23,312 6.9% $256 $324 $722 $86.4 98.6% 77.34 16% N/A N/A 5.2% 0.717

(101)

N/A N/A
Nepal 28,095,714 $29,813 $94,414 $1,115 $3,585 6.2% $819 $103 $9,440 $213 64.7% 70.25 6% 98% 67% 7.8% 0.574

(149)

5.18

(97)

4.791

(32)

Pakistan 212,228,286 $284,214 $1,076,258 $1,357 $5,230 3.3% $21,940 $41,560 $12,784 $11,400 58% 66.48 24.3% 72% 34% 22% 0.562

(150)

4.17

(112)

10

(1)

Sri Lanka 21,228,763 $86,556 $304,826 $3,698 $13,114 3.0% $10,930 N/A $7,635 $2,500 93.2% 75.28 6.7% 94% 99% 22% 0.770

(76)

6.19

(71)

4.077

(42)

The member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

SAARC was founded by seven states in 1985. In 2005, Afghanistan began negotiating their accession to SAARC and formally applied for membership in the same year. The issue of Afghanistan joining SAARC generated a great deal of debate in each member state, including concerns about the definition of South Asian identity because Afghanistan is considered a Central Asian country, while it is neither accepted as a Middle Eastern country, nor as a Central Asian country, or as part of the Indian subcontinent, other than being only in part of South Asia.

SAARC member states imposed a stipulation for Afghanistan to hold a general election; the non-partisan elections were held in late 2005. Despite initial reluctance and internal debates, Afghanistan joined SAARC as its eighth member state in April 2007.

Observer countries

States with observer status include Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, and the United States.

On 2 August 2006, the foreign ministers of SAARC countries agreed in principle to grant observer status to three applicants; the US and South Korea (both made requests in April 2006), as well as the European Union (requested in July 2006). On 4 March 2007, Iran requested observer status, followed shortly by Mauritius.

Potential future members

Myanmar has expressed interest in upgrading its status from an observer to a full member of SAARC. China has requested joining SAARC. Russia has applied for observer status membership of SAARC. Turkey applied for observer status membership of SAARC in 2012. South Africa has participated in meetings. Indonesia, Jordan, and Yemen have expressed interest.[citation needed]

Secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Kathmandu, Nepal

The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987 and was inaugurated by the late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal.

Specialized Bodies

SAARC Member States have created the following Specialized Bodies of SAARC in the Member States which have special mandates and structures different from the Regional Centers. These bodies are managed by their respective Governing Boards composed of representatives from all the Member States, the representative of H.E. Secretary-General of SAARC and the Ministry of Foreign/External Affairs of the Host Government. The heads of these Bodies act as Member Secretary to the Governing Board which reports to the Programming Committee of SAARC.

Specialized Body Location Country Website
SAARC Arbitration Council (SARCO) Islamabad Pakistan www.sarco-sec.org
SAARC Development Fund (SDF) Thimphu Bhutan www.sdfsec.org
South Asian University (SAU) New Delhi India www.sau.int
South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) Dhaka Bangladesh www.sarso.org.bd

Regional Centres

The SAARC Secretariat is supported by following Regional Centres established in the Member States to promote regional co-operation. 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. After 31 December 2015, there 6 regional centers were stopped by unanimous decision. These are SMRC, SFC, SDC, SCZMC, SIC, SHRDC.

Regional Centre Location Country Website
SAARC Agricultural Centre (SAC) Dhaka Bangladesh Official website
SAARC Meteorological Research Centre (SMRC) Dhaka Bangladesh
SAARC Forestry Centre (SFC) Thimphu Bhutan
SAARC Development Fund (SDF) Thimphu Bhutan Official website
SAARC Documentation Centre (SDC) New Delhi India
SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) Gandhinagar India Official website
SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre (SCZMC) Malé Maldives
SAARC Information Centre (SIC) Kathmandu Nepal
SAARC Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Centre (STAC) Kathmandu Nepal Official website
SAARC Human Resources Development Centre (SHRDC) Islamabad Pakistan
SAARC Energy Centre (SEC) Islamabad Pakistan Official website
SAARC Cultural Centre (SCC) Colombo Sri Lanka Official website

Anthem

SAARC does not have an official anthem like some other regional organizations (e.g. ASEAN).

SAARC has six Apex Bodies, they are:

Esala Weerakoon is the current Secretary General of SAARC.

SAARC also has about 18 recognized bodies.

The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Disaster Management Centre (SDMC-IU) has been set up at Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management (GIDM) Campus, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. Eight Member States, i.e., Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are expected to be served by the SDMC (IU). It is entrusted with the responsibility of serving Member States by providing policy advice, technical support on system development, capacity building services and training for holistic management of disaster risk in the SAARC region. The centre also facilitates exchange of information and expertise for effective and efficient management of disaster risk.

Lasting peace and prosperity in South Asia has been elusive because of the various ongoing conflicts in the region. Political dialogue is often conducted on the margins of SAARC meetings which have refrained from interfering in the internal matters of its member states. During the 12th and 13th SAARC summits, extreme emphasis was laid upon greater cooperation between SAARC members to fight terrorism.

The 19th SAARC summit scheduled to be held in Pakistan was called off as India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan decided to boycott it due to a terrorist attack on an army camp in Uri. It was for the first time that four countries boycotted a SAARC summit, leading to its cancellation.

Countries under the South Asian Free Trade Area

The SAFTA was envisaged primarily as the first step towards the transition to a South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) leading subsequently towards a Customs Union, Common Market and the Economic Union. In 1995, Sixteenth session of the Council of Ministers (New Delhi, 18–19 December 1995) agreed on the need to strive for the realization of SAFTA and to this end, an Inter-Governmental Expert Group (IGEG) was set up in 1996 to identify the necessary steps for progressing to a free trade area. The Tenth SAARC Summit (Colombo, 29–31 July 1998) decided to set up a Committee of Experts (COE) to draft a comprehensive treaty framework for creating a free trade area within the region, taking into consideration the asymmetries in development within the region and bearing in mind the need to fix realistic and achievable targets.

The SAFTA Agreement was signed on 6 January 2004 during Twelfth SAARC Summit held in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Agreement entered into force on 1 January 2006, and the Trade Liberalization Programme commenced from 1 July 2006. Under this agreement, SAARC members will bring their duties down to 20 percent by 2009. Following the Agreement coming into force the SAFTA Ministerial Council (SMC) has been established comprising the Commerce Ministers of the Member States. In 2012 SAARC exports increased substantially to $354.6 billion from $206.7 billion in 2009. Imports too increased from $330 billion to $602 billion over the same period. But the intra-SAARC trade amounts to just a little over 1% of SAARC's GDP. In contrast to SAARC, in ASEAN (which is actually smaller than SAARC in terms of the size of the economy) the intra-bloc trade stands at 10% of its GDP.

The SAFTA was envisaged to gradually move towards the South Asian Economic Union, but the current intra-regional trade and investment relation are not encouraging and it may be difficult to achieve this target. SAARC intra-regional trade stands at just five percent on the share of intra-regional trade in overall trade in South Asia. Similarly, foreign direct investment is also dismal. The intra-regional FDI flow stands at around four percent of the total foreign investment.

The Asian Development Bank has estimated that inter-regional trade in SAARC region possessed the potential of shooting up agricultural exports by $14 billion per year from existing level of $8 billion to $22 billion. The study by Asian Development Bank states that against the potential average SAARC intra-regional trade of $22 billion per year, the actual trade in South Asia has been only around $8 billion. The uncaptured potential for intra-regional trade is therefore $14 billion per year, i.e., 68%.

The SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme was launched in 1992. The leaders at the Fourth Summit (Islamabad, 29–31 December 1988), realizing the importance of people-to-people contact among SAARC countries, decided that certain categories of dignitaries should be entitled to a Special Travel document. The document 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, entrepreneurs, journalists, and athletes.

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 SAARC Member States.

SAARC Award

The Twelfth (12th) Summit approved the SAARC Award to support individuals and organizations within the region. The main aims of the SAARC Award are:

  • To encourage individuals and organizations based in South Asia to undertake programmes and activities that complement the efforts of SAARC.
  • To encourage individuals and organizations in South Asia contributing to bettering the conditions of women and children.
  • To honour outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals and organizations within the region in the fields of peace, development, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and regional cooperation.
  • To honour any other contributions and achievement not covered above of individuals and organizations in the region.

The SAARC Award consists of a gold medal, a letter of citation, and cash prize of $25,000. Since the institution of the SAARC Award in 2004, it has been awarded only once and the Award was posthumously conferred upon the late President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh.

SAARC Literary Award

Recipients of SAARC Literary Award 2013

The SAARC Literary Award is an annual award conferred by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL) since 2001 which is an apex SAARC body. Shamshur Rahman, Mahasweta Devi, Jayanta Mahapatra, Abhi Subedi, Mark Tully, Sitakant Mahapatra, Uday Prakash, Suman Pokhrel and Abhay K are some of the prominent recipients of this award.

Nepali poet, lyricist, and translator Suman Pokhrel is the only poet/writer to get this award twice.

SAARC Youth Award

The SAARC Youth Award is awarded to outstanding individuals from the SAARC region. The award is notable because of 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 – Sukur Salek (Bangladesh)
  • 1998: New Inventions and Shanu — Najmul Hasnain Shah (Pakistan)
  • 2001: Creative Photography: South Asian Diversity – Mushfiqul Alam (Bangladesh)
  • 2002: Outstanding contribution to protect the Environment – Masil Khan (Pakistan)
  • 2003: Invention in the Field of Traditional Medicine – Hassan Sher (Pakistan)
  • 2004: Outstanding contribution to raising awareness of TB and/or HIV/AIDS – Ajij Prasad Poudyal (Nepal)
  • 2006: Promotion of Tourism in South Asia – Syed Zafar Abbas Naqvi (Pakistan)
  • 2008: Protecting the Environment in South Asia – Deepani Jayantha (Sri Lanka)
  • 2009: Outstanding contribution to humanitarian works in the aftermath of Natural Disasters – Ravikant Singh (India)
  • 2010: Outstanding contribution for the Protection of Environment and mitigation of Climate Change – Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne (Sri Lanka)
# Name Country Took office Left office
1 Abul Ahsan Bangladesh 16 January 1985 15 October 1989
2 Kant Kishore Bhargava India 17 October 1989 31 December 1991
3 Ibrahim Hussein Zaki Maldives 1 January 1992 31 December 1993
4 Yadav Kant Silwal Nepal 1 January 1994 31 December 1995
5 Naeem U. Hasan Pakistan 1 January 1996 31 December 1998
6 Nihal Rodrigo Sri Lanka 1 January 1999 10 January 2002
7 Q. A. M. A. Rahim Bangladesh 11 January 2002 28 February 2005
8 Chenkyab Dorji Bhutan 1 March 2005 29 February 2008
9 Sheel Kant Sharma India 1 March 2008 28 February 2011
10 Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed Maldives 1 March 2011 11 March 2012
11 Ahmed Saleem Maldives 12 March 2012 28 February 2014
12 Arjun Bahadur Thapa Nepal 1 March 2014 28 February 2017
13 Amjad Hussain B. Sial Pakistan 1 March 2017 29 February 2020
14 Esala Ruwan Weerakoon Sri Lanka 1 March 2020 Incumbent
Main article: List of SAARC summits
No Date Country Host Host leader
1st 7–8 December 1985 Bangladesh Dhaka Ataur Rahman Khan
2nd 16–17 November 1986 India Bengaluru Rajiv Gandhi
3rd 2–4 November 1987 Nepal Kathmandu King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah
4th 29–31 December 1988 Pakistan Islamabad Benazir Bhutto
5th 21–23 November 1990 Maldives Malé Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
6th 21 December 1991 Sri Lanka Colombo Ranasinghe Premadasa
7th 10–11 April 1993 Bangladesh Dhaka Khaleda Zia
8th 2–4 May 1995 India New Delhi P V Narasimha Rao
9th 12–14 May 1997 Maldives Malé Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
10th 29–31 July 1998 Sri Lanka Colombo Chandrika Kumaratunga
11th 4–6 January 2002 Nepal Kathmandu Sher Bahadur Deuba
12th 2–6 January 2004 Pakistan Islamabad Zafarullah Khan Jamali
13th 12–13 November 2005 Bangladesh Dhaka Khaleda Zia
14th 3–4 April 2007 India New Delhi Manmohan Singh
15th 1–3 August 2008 Sri Lanka Colombo Mahinda Rajapaksa
16th 28–29 April 2010 Bhutan Thimphu Jigme Thinley
17th 10–11 November 2011 Maldives Addu Mohammed Nasheed
18th 26–27 November 2014 Nepal Kathmandu Sushil Koirala
19th 15–16 November 2016 Pakistan Islamabad Cancelled
20th N/A N/A N/A N/A

Current leaders

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  50. See for this aspect Michael, Arndt (2013). Sovereignty vs. Security: SAARC and its Role in the Regional Security Architecture in South Asia. Harvard Asia Quarterly Summer 2013, Vol. VX, No.2: 37-45
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South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Language Watch Edit This article needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation news newspapers books scholar JSTOR December 2017 Learn how and when to remove this template message The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SAARC is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia Its member states are Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan India the Maldives Nepal Pakistan and Sri Lanka SAARC comprises 3 of the world s area 21 of the world s population and 4 21 US 3 67 trillion 3 of the global economy as of 2019 South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Bengali দক ষ ণ এশ য আঞ চল ক সহয গ ত স স থ Dari اتحادیه همکاری های منطقه ای جنوب آسیاDzongkha ལ ཨ ས ཨ ར ག ཨ ནལ ཅ ཨ པ རཏ ཨ ན ཀ མ ཏ Hindi दक ष ण एश य ई क ष त र य सहय ग स गठनMaldivian ދ ކ ނ އ ޝ ޔ ގ ސ ރ ޙ އ ދ އ އ ބ ރ ލ މ ގ ޖ މ އ ޔ Nepali दक ष ण एश य ल क ष त र य सहय ग सङ गठनPashto د سویلي اسیا لپاره د سیمه ایزی همکارۍ ټولنهSinhala දක ණ ආස ය ත ක කල ප ය සහය ග ත ස ව ධ නයTamil த ற க ச ய ந ட கள ன ப ர ந த யக க ட டம ப ப Urdu جنوبی ایشیائی علاقائی تعاون کی تنظیمFlag LogoSAARC Region Member states Observer statesHeadquartersKathmandu NepalOfficial languagesEnglishDemonym s South AsianMember states8 members Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan India Maldives Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka 9 observers Australia China European Union Iran Japan Mauritius Myanmar South Korea United StatesLeaders Secretary GeneralEsala Ruwan Weerakoon 3 March 2020 present 1 Establishment8 December 1985Area Total5 099 611 km2 1 968 971 sq mi 7th Water 6 8Population 2015 estimate1 713 870 000 2 1st Density336 1 km2 870 5 sq mi GDP PPP 2017 estimate TotalUS 11 64 trillion 3 3rd GDP nominal 2017 estimate Total 3 31 trillion 3 5th Currency8 currencies Afghanistan Afghani AFs AFN Bangladesh Taka BDT Bhutan Ngultrum Nu BTN India Rupee INR Maldives Rufiyaa ރ MVR Nepal Rupee र NPR Pakistan Rupee PKR Sri Lanka Rupee ර LKR Time zoneUTC 4 30 to 6 AFT PST MVT IST SLST NPT BST BTT Calling code8 codes Bangladesh 880India 91Pakistan 92Afghanistan 93Sri Lanka 94Maldives 960Bhutan 975Nepal 977Internet TLD8 ccTLDs af bd bt in lk mv np pkWebsite www wbr saarc sec wbr org SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985 4 Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu Nepal The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration 5 It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006 6 SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities including the European Union Contents 1 Historical background 2 Members and observers 2 1 Members 2 2 Observer countries 2 3 Potential future members 3 Secretariat 3 1 Specialized Bodies 3 2 Regional Centres 3 3 Anthem 4 Apex and Recognized Bodies 5 SAARC Disaster Management Centre 6 Political issues 7 South Asian Free Trade Area 8 SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme 9 Awards 9 1 SAARC Award 9 2 SAARC Literary Award 9 3 SAARC Youth Award 10 Secretaries General of SAARC 11 SAARC summits 12 Current leaders of SAARC 12 1 Current leaders 13 See also 14 References 15 External linksHistorical background EditThe idea of co operation among South Asian Countries was discussed in three conferences the Asian Relations Conference held in New Delhi in April 1947 the Baguio Conference in the Philippines in May 1950 and the Colombo Powers Conference held in Sri Lanka in April 1954 7 A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various Asian regional organisations v d e In the ending years of the 1970s the seven inner South Asian nations that included Bangladesh Bhutan India the Maldives Nepal Pakistan and Sri Lanka agreed upon the creation of a trade bloc and to provide a platform for the people of South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship trust and understanding President Ziaur Rahman later addressed official letters to the leaders of the countries of the South Asia presenting his vision for the future of the region and the compelling arguments for region 8 During his visit to India in December 1977 Rahman discussed the issue of regional cooperation with the Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai In the inaugural speech to the Colombo Plan Consultative Committee which met in Kathmandu also in 1977 King Birendra of Nepal gave a call for close regional cooperation among South Asian countries in sharing river waters 9 After the USSR s intervention in Afghanistan the efforts to establish the union was accelerated in 1979 and the resulting rapid deterioration of South Asian security situation 9 Responding to Rahman and Birendra s convention the officials of the foreign ministries of the seven countries met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981 9 The Bangladeshi proposal was promptly endorsed by Nepal Sri Lanka Bhutan and the Maldives but India and Pakistan were sceptical initially 9 The Indian concern was the proposal s reference to the security matters in South Asia and feared that Rahman s proposal for a regional organisation might provide an opportunity for new smaller neighbours to re internationalize all bilateral issues and to join with each other to form an opposition against India Pakistan assumed that it might be an Indian strategy to organize the other South Asian countries against Pakistan and ensure a regional market for Indian products thereby consolidating and further strengthening India s economic dominance in the region 9 However after a series of diplomatic consultations headed by Bangladesh between South Asian U N representatives at the UN headquarters in New York from September 1979 to 1980 it was agreed that Bangladesh would prepare the draft of a working paper for discussion among the foreign secretaries of South Asian countries 9 The foreign secretaries of the inner seven countries again delegated a Committee of the Whole in Colombo in September 1981 which identified five broad areas for regional cooperation New areas of co operation were added in the following years 10 In 1983 the international conference held in Dhaka by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs the foreign ministers of the inner seven countries adopted the Declaration on South Asian Association Regional Cooperation SAARC and formally launched the Integrated Programme of Action IPA initially in five agreed areas of cooperation namely Agriculture Rural Development Telecommunications Meteorology and Health and Population Activities 11 12 Officially the union was established in Dhaka with Kathmandu being the union s secretariat general 13 The first SAARC summit was held in Dhaka on 7 8 December 1985 and hosted by the President of Bangladesh Hussain Ershad 14 The declaration signed by King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk President of Pakistan Zia ul Haq Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi King of Nepal Birendra Shah President of Sri Lanka JR Jayewardene and President of Maldives Maumoon Gayoom 14 Members and observers EditEconomic data is sourced from the International Monetary Fund current as of December 2019 and is given in US dollars 15 Members Edit Country Population 16 17 2018 GDP nominal US million 2021 18 GDP PPP US million 2021 GDP per capita Nominal GDP per capita PPP GDP growth rate 2018 Exports US million 2018 Foreign direct investment US million 2017 or earlier Foreign exchange reserves US million 2020 or earlier Defence budget US million 2020 19 Literacy rate above age 15 Life expectancy Population below poverty line Primary school enrolment 20 Secondary school enrollment 21 Population undernourished 2015 22 Human Development Index Democracy Index Global Terrorism Index G20 BRICS BIMSTEC IORA APTA BBIN SASEC AIIB ACU ACD ADB World Bank Nuclear weaponsAfghanistan 37 171 921 18 734 76 486 499 2 070 2 3 784 N A 7 800 12 000 38 2 63 67 42 N A 54 26 8 0 498 168 2 97 143 9 233 2 Bangladesh 161 376 708 378 589 1 978 200 2 214 5 752 8 2 40 905 14 620 45 054 4 530 78 7 73 10 7 8 98 73 11 4 0 608 136 5 57 88 0 124 Bhutan 754 388 2 842 8 195 3 423 9 876 6 4 580 186 987 25 1 59 5 70 20 12 91 78 N A 0 612 134 5 30 94 0 305 107 India 1 352 642 280 3 049 704 10 510 290 2 191 7 333 6 8 303 400 367 500 487 237 60 580 77 7 70 1 21 2 92 75 15 2 0 645 130 7 23 41 4 222 39 Maldives 515 696 5 786 8 667 15 563 23 312 6 9 256 324 722 86 4 98 6 77 34 16 N A N A 5 2 0 717 101 N A N A Nepal 28 095 714 29 813 94 414 1 115 3 585 6 2 819 103 9 440 213 64 7 70 25 6 98 67 7 8 0 574 149 5 18 97 4 791 32 Pakistan 212 228 286 284 214 1 076 258 1 357 5 230 3 3 21 940 41 560 12 784 11 400 58 66 48 24 3 72 34 22 0 562 150 4 17 112 10 1 Sri Lanka 21 228 763 86 556 304 826 3 698 13 114 3 0 10 930 N A 7 635 2 500 93 2 75 28 6 7 94 99 22 0 770 76 6 19 71 4 077 42 The member states are Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan India the Maldives Nepal Pakistan and Sri Lanka 23 SAARC was founded by seven states in 1985 In 2005 Afghanistan began negotiating their accession to SAARC and formally applied for membership in the same year 24 25 The issue of Afghanistan joining SAARC generated a great deal of debate in each member state including concerns about the definition of South Asian identity 26 because Afghanistan is considered a Central Asian country while it is neither accepted as a Middle Eastern country nor as a Central Asian country or as part of the Indian subcontinent other than being only in part of South Asia 27 SAARC member states imposed a stipulation for Afghanistan to hold a general election the non partisan elections were held in late 2005 26 Despite initial reluctance and internal debates Afghanistan joined SAARC as its eighth member state in April 2007 26 28 Observer countries Edit States with observer status include 29 Australia 30 China the European Union Iran Japan 31 Mauritius 32 Myanmar South Korea and the United States 33 34 On 2 August 2006 the foreign ministers of SAARC countries agreed in principle to grant observer status to three applicants 35 the US and South Korea both made requests in April 2006 35 as well as the European Union requested in July 2006 36 On 4 March 2007 Iran requested observer status 37 followed shortly by Mauritius Potential future members Edit Myanmar has expressed interest in upgrading its status from an observer to a full member of SAARC 38 China has requested joining SAARC 39 Russia has applied for observer status membership of SAARC 40 41 42 Turkey applied for observer status membership of SAARC in 2012 40 41 42 South Africa has participated in meetings 43 Indonesia Jordan and Yemen have expressed interest citation needed Secretariat Edit Secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Kathmandu Nepal The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987 and was inaugurated by the late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal 44 Specialized Bodies Edit SAARC Member States have created the following Specialized Bodies of SAARC in the Member States which have special mandates and structures different from the Regional Centers These bodies are managed by their respective Governing Boards composed of representatives from all the Member States the representative of H E Secretary General of SAARC and the Ministry of Foreign External Affairs of the Host Government The heads of these Bodies act as Member Secretary to the Governing Board which reports to the Programming Committee of SAARC Specialized Body Location Country WebsiteSAARC Arbitration Council SARCO Islamabad Pakistan www sarco sec orgSAARC Development Fund SDF Thimphu Bhutan www sdfsec orgSouth Asian University SAU New Delhi India www sau intSouth Asian Regional Standards Organization SARSO Dhaka Bangladesh www sarso org bdRegional Centres Edit The SAARC Secretariat is supported by following Regional Centres established in the Member States to promote regional co operation 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 After 31 December 2015 there 6 regional centers were stopped by unanimous decision These are SMRC SFC SDC SCZMC SIC SHRDC 45 Regional Centre Location Country WebsiteSAARC Agricultural Centre SAC Dhaka Bangladesh Official websiteSAARC Meteorological Research Centre SMRC Dhaka BangladeshSAARC Forestry Centre SFC Thimphu BhutanSAARC Development Fund SDF Thimphu Bhutan Official websiteSAARC Documentation Centre SDC New Delhi IndiaSAARC Disaster Management Centre SDMC Gandhinagar India Official websiteSAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre SCZMC Male MaldivesSAARC Information Centre SIC Kathmandu NepalSAARC Tuberculosis and HIV AIDS Centre STAC Kathmandu Nepal Official websiteSAARC Human Resources Development Centre SHRDC Islamabad PakistanSAARC Energy Centre SEC Islamabad Pakistan Official websiteSAARC Cultural Centre SCC Colombo Sri Lanka Official websiteAnthem Edit SAARC does not have an official anthem like some other regional organizations e g ASEAN 46 Apex and Recognized Bodies EditSAARC has six Apex Bodies 47 they are SAARC Chamber of Commerce amp Industry SCCI South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Law SAARCLAW 48 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 Esala Weerakoon is the current Secretary General of SAARC SAARC also has about 18 recognized bodies 49 SAARC Disaster Management Centre EditThe South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation SAARC Disaster Management Centre SDMC IU has been set up at Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management GIDM Campus Gandhinagar Gujarat India Eight Member States i e Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan India Maldives Nepal Pakistan and Sri Lanka are expected to be served by the SDMC IU It is entrusted with the responsibility of serving Member States by providing policy advice technical support on system development capacity building services and training for holistic management of disaster risk in the SAARC region The centre also facilitates exchange of information and expertise for effective and efficient management of disaster risk Political issues EditLasting peace and prosperity in South Asia has been elusive because of the various ongoing conflicts in the region Political dialogue is often conducted on the margins of SAARC meetings which have refrained from interfering in the internal matters of its member states 50 During the 12th and 13th SAARC summits extreme emphasis was laid upon greater cooperation between SAARC members to fight terrorism 51 52 The 19th SAARC summit scheduled to be held in Pakistan was called off as India Bangladesh Bhutan and Afghanistan decided to boycott it due to a terrorist attack on an army camp in Uri 53 54 It was for the first time that four countries boycotted a SAARC summit leading to its cancellation 55 56 South Asian Free Trade Area Edit Countries under the South Asian Free Trade Area The SAFTA was envisaged primarily as the first step towards the transition to a South Asian Free Trade Area SAFTA leading subsequently towards a Customs Union Common Market and the Economic Union In 1995 Sixteenth session of the Council of Ministers New Delhi 18 19 December 1995 agreed on the need to strive for the realization of SAFTA and to this end an Inter Governmental Expert Group IGEG was set up in 1996 to identify the necessary steps for progressing to a free trade area The Tenth SAARC Summit Colombo 29 31 July 1998 decided to set up a Committee of Experts COE to draft a comprehensive treaty framework for creating a free trade area within the region taking into consideration the asymmetries in development within the region and bearing in mind the need to fix realistic and achievable targets The SAFTA Agreement was signed on 6 January 2004 during Twelfth SAARC Summit held in Islamabad Pakistan The Agreement entered into force on 1 January 2006 and the Trade Liberalization Programme commenced from 1 July 2006 Under this agreement SAARC members will bring their duties down to 20 percent by 2009 Following the Agreement coming into force the SAFTA Ministerial Council SMC has been established comprising the Commerce Ministers of the Member States 57 In 2012 SAARC exports increased substantially to 354 6 billion from 206 7 billion in 2009 Imports too increased from 330 billion to 602 billion over the same period But the intra SAARC trade amounts to just a little over 1 of SAARC s GDP In contrast to SAARC in ASEAN which is actually smaller than SAARC in terms of the size of the economy the intra bloc trade stands at 10 of its GDP The SAFTA was envisaged to gradually move towards the South Asian Economic Union but the current intra regional trade and investment relation are not encouraging and it may be difficult to achieve this target SAARC intra regional trade stands at just five percent on the share of intra regional trade in overall trade in South Asia Similarly foreign direct investment is also dismal The intra regional FDI flow stands at around four percent of the total foreign investment 58 The Asian Development Bank has estimated that inter regional trade in SAARC region possessed the potential of shooting up agricultural exports by 14 billion per year from existing level of 8 billion to 22 billion The study by Asian Development Bank states that against the potential average SAARC intra regional trade of 22 billion per year the actual trade in South Asia has been only around 8 billion The uncaptured potential for intra regional trade is therefore 14 billion per year i e 68 59 60 SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme EditThe SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme was launched in 1992 The leaders at the Fourth Summit Islamabad 29 31 December 1988 realizing the importance of people to people contact among SAARC countries decided that certain categories of dignitaries should be entitled to a Special Travel document The document 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 entrepreneurs journalists and athletes 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 SAARC Member States 61 Awards EditSAARC Award Edit The Twelfth 12th Summit approved the SAARC Award to support individuals and organizations within the region The main aims of the SAARC Award are To encourage individuals and organizations based in South Asia to undertake programmes and activities that complement the efforts of SAARC To encourage individuals and organizations in South Asia contributing to bettering the conditions of women and children To honour outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals and organizations within the region in the fields of peace development poverty alleviation environmental protection and regional cooperation To honour any other contributions and achievement not covered above of individuals and organizations in the region The SAARC Award consists of a gold medal a letter of citation and cash prize of 25 000 Since the institution of the SAARC Award in 2004 it has been awarded only once and the Award was posthumously conferred upon the late President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh 62 SAARC Literary Award Edit Recipients of SAARC Literary Award 2013 The SAARC Literary Award is an annual award conferred by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature FOSWAL since 2001 63 64 which is an apex SAARC body 65 Shamshur Rahman Mahasweta Devi Jayanta Mahapatra Abhi Subedi Mark Tully Sitakant Mahapatra Uday Prakash Suman Pokhrel and Abhay K are some of the prominent recipients of this award 66 Nepali poet lyricist and translator Suman Pokhrel is the only poet writer to get this award twice 67 SAARC Youth Award Edit The SAARC Youth Award is awarded to outstanding individuals from the SAARC region The award is notable because of 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 68 Previous Winners 1997 Outstanding Social Service in Community Welfare Sukur Salek Bangladesh 1998 New Inventions and Shanu Najmul Hasnain Shah Pakistan 2001 Creative Photography South Asian Diversity Mushfiqul Alam Bangladesh 2002 Outstanding contribution to protect the Environment Masil Khan Pakistan 2003 Invention in the Field of Traditional Medicine Hassan Sher Pakistan 2004 Outstanding contribution to raising awareness of TB and or HIV AIDS Ajij Prasad Poudyal Nepal 2006 Promotion of Tourism in South Asia Syed Zafar Abbas Naqvi Pakistan 2008 Protecting the Environment in South Asia Deepani Jayantha Sri Lanka 2009 Outstanding contribution to humanitarian works in the aftermath of Natural Disasters Ravikant Singh India 2010 Outstanding contribution for the Protection of Environment and mitigation of Climate Change Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne Sri Lanka Secretaries General of SAARC Edit Name Country Took office Left office1 Abul Ahsan Bangladesh 16 January 1985 15 October 19892 Kant Kishore Bhargava India 17 October 1989 31 December 19913 Ibrahim Hussein Zaki Maldives 1 January 1992 31 December 19934 Yadav Kant Silwal Nepal 1 January 1994 31 December 19955 Naeem U Hasan Pakistan 1 January 1996 31 December 19986 Nihal Rodrigo Sri Lanka 1 January 1999 10 January 20027 Q A M A Rahim Bangladesh 11 January 2002 28 February 20058 Chenkyab Dorji Bhutan 1 March 2005 29 February 20089 Sheel Kant Sharma India 1 March 2008 28 February 201110 Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed Maldives 1 March 2011 11 March 201211 Ahmed Saleem Maldives 12 March 2012 28 February 201412 Arjun Bahadur Thapa Nepal 1 March 2014 28 February 201713 Amjad Hussain B Sial Pakistan 1 March 2017 29 February 202014 Esala Ruwan Weerakoon Sri Lanka 1 March 2020 IncumbentSAARC summits EditMain article List of SAARC summits No Date Country Host Host leader1st 7 8 December 1985 Bangladesh Dhaka Ataur Rahman Khan2nd 16 17 November 1986 India Bengaluru Rajiv Gandhi3rd 2 4 November 1987 Nepal Kathmandu King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah4th 29 31 December 1988 Pakistan Islamabad Benazir Bhutto5th 21 23 November 1990 Maldives Male Maumoon Abdul Gayoom6th 21 December 1991 Sri Lanka Colombo Ranasinghe Premadasa7th 10 11 April 1993 Bangladesh Dhaka Khaleda Zia8th 2 4 May 1995 India New Delhi P V Narasimha Rao9th 12 14 May 1997 Maldives Male Maumoon Abdul Gayoom10th 29 31 July 1998 Sri Lanka Colombo Chandrika Kumaratunga11th 4 6 January 2002 Nepal Kathmandu Sher Bahadur Deuba12th 2 6 January 2004 Pakistan Islamabad Zafarullah Khan Jamali13th 12 13 November 2005 Bangladesh Dhaka Khaleda Zia14th 3 4 April 2007 India New Delhi Manmohan Singh15th 1 3 August 2008 Sri Lanka Colombo Mahinda Rajapaksa16th 28 29 April 2010 Bhutan Thimphu Jigme Thinley17th 10 11 November 2011 Maldives Addu Mohammed Nasheed18th 26 27 November 2014 69 Nepal Kathmandu Sushil Koirala19th 15 16 November 2016 Pakistan Islamabad Cancelled20th N A N A N A N ACurrent leaders of SAARC Edit Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering India Prime Minister Narendra Modi Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Sri Lanka President Gotabaya RajapaksaCurrent leaders Edit Country President Head of State Prime MinisterAfghanistan Hibatullah Akhundzada Head of State Hasan AkhundBangladesh Abdul Hamid Sheikh HasinaBhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Lotay TsheringIndia Ram Nath Kovind Narendra ModiMaldives Ibrahim Mohamed SolihNepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari Sher Bahadur DeubaPakistan Arif Alvi Imran KhanSri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa Mahinda RajapaksaSee also Edit Afghanistan portal Bangladesh portal India portal Nepal portal Pakistan portal Sri Lanka portal ASEAN and India s Look East connectivity projects Asia Cooperation Dialogue SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal Initiative BIMSTEC Indian Ocean Rim Association ICAN List of SAARC summits Mekong Ganga Cooperation SAARC satellite South Asian University South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Shanghai Cooperation OrganisationReferences Edit http nepalforeignaffairs com saarc secretary general weerakoon assumes office World Urbanization Prospects Population Division United Nations un org Archived from the original on 18 February 2015 Retrieved 17 February 2015 a b c Report for Selected Countries and Subjects imf org Ahmad Naveed 6 August 2016 Rest in peace SAARC The tug of war between India and Pakistan tribune com pk The Express Tribune Archived from the original on 7 August 2016 Retrieved 7 August 2016 Charter of SAARC SAARC Secretariat Retrieved 10 November 2013 Center Asia Regional Integration South Asian Free Trade Area Free Trade Agreement aric adb org Retrieved 2 March 2018 12th SAARC Summit Islamabad History and Evolution of SAARC 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Archived from the original on 2 February 2017 Retrieved 22 January 2017 ADB urges Safta to exploit rich trade potential of member countries Archived from the original on 2 February 2017 Retrieved 22 January 2017 Ranjan Prabhash 8 September 2016 Coming closer together for trade The Hindu Archived from the original on 3 December 2016 Retrieved 22 January 2017 South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme saarc sec org South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation SAARC Award saarc sec org SAARC Literary Awards Foundation Of SAARC Writers And Literature Archived from the original on 3 November 2013 Retrieved 2 November 2013 Hindustan Times Archive News Archived from the original on 10 November 2013 Retrieved 2 November 2013 Five Writers honoured at SAARC Litearure Festival Hindustan Times 11 March 2013 Apex and Recognised Bodies SAARC Archived from the original on 30 May 2013 Mahasweta Devi to get SAARC Literary Award Archived 4 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine Oneindia in 30 March 2007 Hindustan Times New Delhi Saturday 14 February 2015 404 Error Archived from the original on 2 February 2017 Retrieved 21 January 2017 Press Releases 18th SAARC Summit Declaration 27 November 2014 SAARC Retrieved 2 December 2015 External links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Official website Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation amp oldid 1053977673, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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