South Asian Association for
M. Hammad Shakil
SAARC is an eco-political organization of 8 South Asian
nations, which was established on
8 December 1985 for friendship and cooperation
among themselves and with other developing countries.
Covering a population of more than 2 billion, SAARC is the
largest regional organization in the world.
Origin of SAARC
Idea of regional cooperation in South Asia was discussed in at least
1-the Asians Relations Conference in New Delhi in April 1947
2-the Baguio Conference in the Philippines in May 1950,
3-the Colombo Powers Conference in April 1954
The first concrete proposal for establishing a framework for
regional cooperation in South Asia was made by the late
president of Bangladesh, Zia-ur-Rehman, on May 2, 1980.
Its 7 founding members are : Sri Lanka, Bhutan , Maldives,
Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India
▪ 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.
▪ All bilateral issues to be kept aside and only multilateral
issues to be discussed.
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
To promote welfare and quality of life of peoples of south Asia.
To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural
Strengthen selective self-reliance among the countries of south Asia.
Understanding and appreciation of one another's problems.
Strengthen cooperation among themselves as well as with other
developing countries and international and regional organizations
Maintain peace in the region.
Areas of Co-Operation
▪ Agriculture & Biotechnology
▪ Trade & Finance
▪ Information , Communication & Media
▪ Science &Technology
▪ Energy & Environment
▪ Tourism & Social Development
▪ People-to-People Contacts
Trade & Finance
▪ The acceleration of economic growth is a Charter objective
of SAARC. Corporation in core areas of trade and finance
b/w the SAARC members in 1991.
The following important processes of SAARC are
promoting cooperation in the field ofTrade, Economy
▪ Customs Cooperation
▪ South Asian FreeTrade Area (SAFTA) (Custom Duties
down to 20%)
▪ SAARC PreferentialTrading Arrangement (SAPTA)
The dispute over Kashmir’s accession to
India has been standing in the way of the
lasting peace and prosperity of the Indian
subcontinent as well as SAARC.
Agreement for establishment of
SAARC Arbitration Council
Final Agreement on Customs
CHARTER OF SDF 31 July 2008
Agreement on establishing the
SAARC food bank
Agreement on south Asian Free
Trade Area (SAFTA)
Agreement on the Establishment
of South Asian Regional Standards
Agreement on Avoidance of
SAARC Convention on Combating and Prevention of
Trafficking inWomen and Children for Prostitution
The purpose of this Convention is to effectively deal with the
various aspects of prevention and suppression of trafficking
in women and children and to prevent the use of women
and children prostitution networks.
Convention on Promotion of Welfare of Children
The purpose of this Convention is to promote cooperation
amongst Member States so that they take effective steps for
the welfare of children.
Convention on Mutual Assistance on Criminal Matters
and Suppression ofTerrorism
The States Parties shall provide widest possible measures of mutual legal
assistance in criminal matters, namely investigations, prosecution and resulting
SAARC Convention Narcotics Drugs
Important steps have been taken to enforce the provisions of the Regional
Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
List of SAARC summits
▪ ¤ 1st Saarc Summit (Dhaka, December 8, 1985)
▪ ¤ 2nd Saarc Summit (Bangalore, November 17, 1986)
▪ ¤ 3rd Saarc Summit (Katmandu, November 4, 1987)
▪ ¤ 4th Saarc Summit (Islamabad, December 31, 1988)
▪ ¤ 5th Saarc Summit (Male', November 23, 1990)
▪ ¤ 6th Saarc Summit (Colombo, December 21, 1991)
▪ ¤ 7th Saarc Summit (Dhaka,April 11, 1993)
▪ ¤ 8th Saarc Summit (New Delhi, May 4, 1995)
¤ 9th Saarc Summit (Male', May 14, 1997)
¤ 10th Saarc Summit (Colombo, July 31, 1998)
¤ 11th Saarc Summit (Katmandu, January 6, 2002)
¤ 12th Saarc Summit (Islamabad, January 6, 2004)
¤ 13th Saarc Summit (Dhaka, November 13,2005)
¤ 14th Saarc Summit (New Delhi, April 3-4,2007)
¤ 15th Saarc Summit (Colombo, July 27 – August 4,2008)
¤ 16th Saarc Summit (Thimpu, 28-29 April 2010)
• Meetings held between the ministers of
member states of various portfolios.
• More than 30 such meetings have been
Related to the issue of children rights.
Declaration of safeguarding of rights of children to an
education plus curbing child labor.
Environment Ministers meeting:
Reaffirmation of goals of international conventions.
Proposal for environmental safeguarding of South Asian
Commerce Minister’s Meeting:
Held in Geneva right after the WTO ministerial meeting.
Joint statement demanding the rights of developing nations.
Related to health issues.
Agreement to setup Expert Group on Population to aide sharing
of expertise and experience related to population issues.
Emphasis laid on achieving the MDGs and on allocating a larger
share of GDP on health related matters.
Cooperation in CounterTerrorism:
Ratification and implementation of SAARC
Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in
Establishment of High Level Group of
1. SAPTA (SAARC preferential
trading arrangement) was signed
on 7 December, 1995
2. SAFTA (South Asian FreeTrade
Area) was signed in Islamabad in
3. SAARC chamber of commerce and
4. SAARC constitutes South Asian
Development Fund (SADF)
5. Signed an agreement of mutual
6. Avoidance of double taxation were
LITERACY & EDUCATION
▪ Establishment of a Common University for Education in Delhi,
Regional food security essence
Promoted global objective of shelter for all.
TERRORISM & DRUGTRAFFICKING
▪ Convention on terrorism was signed in November,1987
▪ SAARC convention on narcotic drugs signed on
▪ SAARC terrorist offences monitoring desk (STOMD)
▪ SAARC drug offences monitoring desk (SDOMD)
PEOPLETO PEOPLE CONTACT
The Second SAARC Summit (Bangalore, 1986) laid special emphasis on promoting people-to-
people contact in the region and following are some initiatives in this regard:
• SAVE (SARRC AudioVisual Exchange) was implemented.
• SAARC Chairs, Fellowships and Scholarships Scheme
• SAARCYouthVolunteers Programme (SYVOP)
• Talks between countries leads to the diffusion of tension
In 2002, when tension between India & Pakistan was at peak,
President Musharraf utilized the forum of SAARC to diffuse it.
Events organized by SAARCDifferent Cultural, Sports,Awareness,TrainingWorkshops
related events are organized by SAARC
Different Cultural, Sports, Awareness,
Training Workshops related events are
organized by SAARC
SAARC Tele-medicine Project
The SAARC e-NetworkTele-
Medicine project is the initiative
by the Government of India to
provide specialist healthcare
facilities and treatment to the
people of all member SAARC
countries and share its expertise
in medical knowledge among
doctors of the SAARC countries.
Pakistan’s role in SAARC
▪ Pakistan suggested that women participation in SAARC related
▪ Pakistan assembled ministerial level meeting on “ International economic
issues ” at Islamabad in May 1986.
▪ Pakistan has organized vast number of activities under the IPA for this
Pakistan doubled its share from 19100 tons in SouthAsian food security
Pakistan assigned highest priority to the eradication of
drugs abuse and drugs trafficking through effective
Pakistan is second largest contributor towards all SAARC
related activities as well as towards the budget of the
Failures of SAARC
SAARC is a ‘toothless tiger’ , more
than anything else.
Dr. Siegfried O.Wolf,
Lecturer Pol. Science
& Director research,
Democratic Forum, a
Brussels based think
Factors responsible for SAARC failure
Political instability, Trust deficit & lack of social cohesion (Dr. Sigfried O.Wolf)
Bilateral relationships within the region & varying visions for the SAARC (Dr.
Sigfried O. Wolf)
▪ Observers often refer unsolvable Indo-Pak relations as main hurdle towards
regional integration in SAARC
▪ India tries to dominate the function and activities of SAARC
▪ Lack financial constraints & of political Co-Operation
Future of SAARC
IT depends upon the ability of member
states to harmonize and accommodate
their differing interests and attitudes an
certain basic political, security and foreign
policy issues, which does not seem to
realizable in near future.