Tamil Nadu Board of Secondary EducationHSC Commerce Class 12

South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC)



  • Objectives of SAARC
  • Council
  • Functions of SAARC
  • Achievements of SAARC


South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC):

Zia-ur Rehman, President of Bangladesh felt that an organisation, which would work for the economic and social development in Asia needs to be established. Accordingly, the first among the four meetings of foreign secretaries of Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal was convened in 1981, at Colombo. In this meeting, it was decided to work together for the planning of regional co-operation, rural development, health, demographic issues, trade, etc. In 1983, the foreign ministers of the above-mentioned countries published the 'SARC Declaration' in Delhi. In 1985, SAARC was established at the summit meeting held at Dhaka.

The following are the objectives of SAARC, as declared in the Dhaka conference.

  1. To co-operate for the rapid, all-round development of member nations.
  2. To oppose terrorism and smuggling of narcotics.
  3. To resolve problematic issues and create mutual understanding for mutual trust among nations.
  4. To co-operate with various organisations at regional, zonal and international levels, working with similar objectives.
  5. To work on an international level for collective well being.

SAARC was officially established in Dhaka, with these objectives in view. Its secretariat-general was established at Kathmandu. It was decided that members should meet once annually. Annual subscription was made mandatory for raising the salary fund of General Secretary, seven Directors and the staff. The duration of SAARC’s Principal Secretary’s posting was to be for three years and every nation was to get to post their representative as Principal Secretary, every year by rotation. The leaders of the South Asian countries reaffirmed their commitment to the UN Charter and the principles governing sovereign equality of States, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs and non-use or threat of use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of other States. They reiterated that the United Nations constituted the most important forum for the resolution of all issues affecting international peace and security. They also reaffirmed their deep conviction in the continuing validity and relevance of the objectives of the Non-Aligned Movement as an important force in international relations.

Challenges for SAARC to tackle:

SAARC is laden with many difficult issues to tackle such as economic disparity among the member nations, expenditure allotment for defence, inadequate infrastructure, underdevelopment of agricultural sector, rising terrorism, population explosion, insufficient trade, divergent political systems, religious-lingual diversity, etc.

Success of SAARC:

SAARC has done well in some of the fields mentioned above. For example, a centre for the dissemination of agro related information was started in Bangladesh and it has been also used as a platform for research related to seeds, animal husbandry and fisheries. A ‘SAARC’ centre for meteorological research was established in Dhaka. In Kathmandu, an orthopaedic centre was established. Efforts are being made to promote tourism in SAARC countries. SAARC is also working for eliminating poverty in the countries in South Asia with the help of the ‘Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP)’. An inter-Governmental group was established to formulate an agreement (SAFTA – South Asian Free Trade Area) for promoting free trade and economic co-operation among the SAARC nation. The SAARC Documentation Centre was established at Delhi for the dissemination of information. SAARC Human Resources Development Centre was established at Islamabad (Pakistan). Agreements were signed to counter the smuggling of narcotic drugs. Committees were appointed for development in the fields of postal services and transportation. South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement - SAPTA and South Asian Free Trade Area - SAFTA. With a view to enhancing mutual trade among Asian countries two treaties were signed, namely, SAPTA (1993) and SAFTA (2004).

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