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South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): Principal Organs and Summits

29-MAR-2016 15:01

    South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is association (South Asian) for regional cooperation was founded as a movement toward collective progress for the involved nations of South Asia. The organization promoted political cooperation between these strategic nations for the mutual progression of the countries socially, economically, and culturally. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka were the founding members. In 2007, Afghanistan joined SAARC and bringing the total number of members of SAARC up to eight. Australia, China, the European Union, Japan, Iran, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, and the United States of America are nine observer states

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    History behind the formation of SAARC

    In November 1980, the idea of regional co-operation among South Asian Countries was raised. But the idea of association trace back to the three conferences: the Asian Relations Conference held in New Delhi on April 1947; the Baguio Conference in the Philippines on May 1950; and the Colombo Powers Conference held in Sri Lanka in April 1954.

    After consultations, the foreign secretaries of the seven founding countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka—met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981. This was followed a few months later by a meeting of the Committee of the Whole, which identified five broad areas for regional cooperation. The foreign ministers, at their first meeting in New Delhi in August 1983, adopted the Declaration on South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and formally launched the Integrated Program of Action (IPA) in the five agreed areas of cooperation: agriculture; rural development; telecommunications; meteorology; and health and population activities.

    Later, transport; postal services; scientific and technological cooperation; and sports, arts, and culture were added to the IPA. Afghanistan became the newest member of SAARC at the 13th annual summit in 2005. China and Japan were granted observer status at the same.

    Principal Organs of SAARC

    The apex bodies of SAARC are discussed below:

    • The Heads of State or Government during the Ninth SAARC Summit agreed that a process of informal political consultations would prove useful in promoting peace, stability, amity, and accelerated socio-economic cooperation in the region.
    • Council of Ministers: The Council, comprising the Foreign Ministers of Member States, generally meets twice a year. The Council may also meet in extraordinary circumstances by agreement of Member States.
    • Standing Committee of Foreign Secretaries: The Committee provides overall monitoring and coordination, determines priorities, mobilizes resources, and approves projects and financing. It may meet as often as deemed necessary but in practice normally meets twice a year and submits its reports to the Council of Ministers.
    • The Standing Committee may also set up Action Committees comprising Member States concerned with implementation of projects per Article VII of the Charter. The Standing Committee is assisted by a Programming Committee, an ad hoc body, comprising senior officials, to scrutinize the Secretariat Budget, finalize the Calendar of Activities, and take up any other matter assigned to it by the Standing Committee. The Programming Committee also has been entrusted to consider the reports of the Technical Committees and the SAARC Regional Centers and submit its comments to the Standing Committee.
    • Secretariat: The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987. Its role is to coordinate and monitor the implementation of SAARC activities, service the meetings of the association and serve as the channel of communication between SAARC and other international organizations.

    It is comprises the secretary-general, seven directors, and the general services staff. The secretary-general is appointed by the Council of Ministers on the principle of rotation, for a non-renewable tenure of three years.

    SAARC Summits Dates and Host Cities

    Number

    Date

    Country

    Host

    Host leader

    1st

    7–8 December 1985

    Bangladesh

    Dhaka

    Ataur Rahman Khan

    2nd

    16–17 November 1986

    India

    Bengaluru

    Jayanth M Gowda

    3rd

    2–4 November 1987

    Nepal

    Kathmandu

    Marich Man Singh Shrestha

    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

    September 2016

    Nepal

    Islamabad

    Nawaz Sharif

    Source: www.mapsofworld.com

    DISCLAIMER: JPL and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

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