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South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

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South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
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दक्षिण एशियाई क्षेत्रीय सहयोग संगठन (दक्षेस) दक्षिण एशियाली क्षेत्रीय सहयोग संगठन (सार्क) সাউথ এশিয়ান এসোসিয়েশন ফর রিজিওনাল কো-অপারেশন (সার্ক) جنوبی ایشیائی علاقائی تعاون کی تنظیم தெற்காசிய நாடுகளின் பிராந்தியக் கூட்டமைப்பு (சார்க்) Members • Observers

Headquarters Kathmandu, Nepal
Membership 8 member states
6 observers
Leaders
- Chairman Mahinda Rajapaksa
- Secretary General Sheel Kant Sharma
Establishment December 8, 1985
Area
- Total 5,130,746 km2 (7th1)
1,980,992 sq mi
Population
- 2004 estimate 1,467,255,669 (1st1)
- Density 285.9/km2
740.5/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2005 estimate
- Total US$ 4,074,031 million (3rd1)
- Per capita US$ 2,777
Currency see footnote 2
Time zone (UTC+4½ to +6)
Website
http://www.saarc-sec.org/
1 If considered as a single entity.
2 A unified currency has been proposed.
Present currencies (ISO 4217 codes bracketed):
Afghan afghani (AFG) • Bangladeshi taka (BDT) •
Bhutanese ngultrum (BTN) • Indian rupee (INR) •
Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR) • Nepalese rupee (NPR) •
Pakistani rupee (PKR) • Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. In terms of population, its sphere of influence is the largest of any regional organization: almost 1.5 billion people, the combined population of its member states. It was established on December 8, 1985 by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. In April 2007, at the Association's 14th summit, Afghanistan became its eighth member. Contents

[hide]

* 1 History
o 1.1 Secretariat
o 1.2 Criticism
o 1.3 Political issues
o 1.4 Free trade agreement
o 1.5 Dhaka 2005 Summit
* 2 Membership
o 2.1 Current members (alphabetically)
o 2.2 Observers
o 2.3 Future membership
* 3 Secretaries General
* 4 List of SAARC summits
* 5 SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement
* 6 South Asian Free Trade Area
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 External links

[edit] History

In the late 1970s, Bangladeshi President Ziaur Rahman proposed 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 1981, identified five broad areas for regional cooperation. New areas of cooperation were added in the following years.[1]

The objectives of the Association as defined in the Charter are:[2]

* 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.

The Declaration on South Asian Regional Cooperation was adopted by the Foreign Ministers in 1983 in New Delhi. During the meeting, the Ministers also launched the Integrated Programme of Action...
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