SAARC: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
The SAARC is an economic and geopolitical organization of eight countries which are located in South Asia. These countries are:
- Sri Lanka
The SAARC secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is the 3rd largest economy of the world in the terms of GDP (PPP) after USA and China and the 8th largest in the terms of nominal GDP.
How was SAARC formed?
In the late 1970s, the seven south Asian countries included India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan agreed upon the creation of trade bloc to provide a platform for the people of south Asia to work together in spirit of friendship, trust and understanding. This idea was first raised in May, 2, 1980 by Zia Ur Rahaman and the first summit was held in Dhaka on December 8, 1985.
Note: Initially there were only seven countries. After 20 years of its establishment, Afghanistan joined this cooperation as per the request of India.
Main objectives behind forming SAARC
These are the five basic areas of cooperation assigned by SAARC:
- Human Resources development.
- Population and health related activities.
- Rural and agriculture development.
- Science, Technology and Telecommunication.