Introduction to SAARC
South Asia is a region of enormous prosperity, growth and economic development. It has a long cultural heritage of strong bonding. This region is endowed with huge natural resources in and around. To strengthen the bonding among the people of this region, The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an organization of South Asian nations, founded in December 1985 by Zia ur Rehman and dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasizing collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are •Bangladesh
• Sri Lanka
Meetings of heads of state are usually scheduled annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, twice annually. It is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. The 16 stated areas of cooperation are
•Agriculture and rural
•Economy and trade
•Human resource development
•People to people contact
•Science and technology
The objectives of the Association as defined in the Charter are: 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 organizations with similar aims and purposes. Principles
The principles are:
Respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, political equality and independence of all members states Non-interference in the internal matters
Cooperation for mutual benefit
All decisions to be taken unanimously and need a quorum of all seven members All bilateral issues to be kept aside and only multilateral(involving many countries) issues to be discussed without being prejudiced by bilateral issues Afghanistan was added to the regional grouping on 13 November 2005, during 14th SAARC summit at India 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 SAARC and The Role Of Pakistan For The SAARC?
Since the Association's inception, Pakistan has been a supporter of SAARC objectives and has remained an active player on the SAARC platform. It has contributed meaningfully to the establishment, institutionalization and progress of the Association. Pakistan supports a step by step approach for enhancing cooperation and emphasizes the need for better coordination It has the potential of becoming a vibrant region in the world, given its enormous resources in manpower, technology, agricultural and mineral assets, its history and civilization, arts and culture, intra-regional exchanges in the SAARC framework and trade among its Member...