SAARC: It is an intergovernmental organization and its function is to provide economic, social and cultural development for its members.

Headquarters: Kathmandu, Nepal

Secretary general: Esala Weerakoon

Current members:

8 members:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka

9 observers:

  • Australia
  • China
  • European Union
  • Iran
  • Japan
  • Mauritius
  • Myanmar
  • South Korea
  • United States

History of SAARC:

SAARC was established in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 8th December 1985 and. In the start only 7 countries were part of SAARC, Afghanistan was later joined as the 8th member in 2007. The heads of these countries signed a charter together that they will work for the wellbeing of people belonging to the countries of SAARC.

The secretariat was established on 17 January 1987, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Till now 18 of the total summits have been held, the 19th was canceled and the 20th one will be hosted in 2022 by Pakistan.

 Ziaur Rahman (former president of Bangladesh) is known as the father of SAARC. He was the one who first proposed the idea of a regional organization of south Asia. Programmes for Mass irrigation and food production were the first kind of programs he initiated for the welfare of the people.

First secretary general of SAARC was Abul Ahsan.

Objectives of SAARC:

SAARC works with dedication for the economic, social and cultural development in the South Asian region. The main objectives of SAARC is as follows:

  • To promote the wellbeing of the people living in South Asia and work for the betterment in their living standards.
  • SAARC does all which is required to help the individuals living in the south Asian region in enhancing their lifestyle. They work for the acceleration in economic, social and cultural development, so that people live healthy and dignified lives.
  • SAARC is always devoted to enhancing the good relationships between all the countries belonging to the south Asian region.
  • To equally contribute to the problems of each member and help each other develop mutual trust and respect. So that they can understand each other’s problems and resolve them together.
  • SAARC always promotes mutual assistance and collaboration of all the members when It comes to working for all areas like economic, social, cultural, technology and science.
  • SAARC is also dedicated to strengthening the co-operation and assistance of other developing countries.
  • Strengthening the mutual workings with international firms and groups is also done when it comes to achieving common goals.
  • SAARC conducts all kinds of activities with international regional organizations, so that they can work together in fulfilling common objectives and targets.

Principles of SAARC:

The functioning in the SAARC follows these principles:

  • SAARC should always respect sovereignty, territorial integrity, political equality and freedom to all the members, without being impartial to anyone.
  • One of its main objectives is to never interfere in the internal affairs of any of the members.
  • Always keep mutual benefit at first priority.
  • All the decisions should be taken after total involvement of all the members.
  • Multilateral (involving many countries) issues should be considered priority and bilateral issues should be kept aside.

Fields of cooperation:

The agreement among members is done in some fields and all the developments will be done mutual in these areas:

  • Rural and agricultural area
  • Education
  • Culture development
  • Biotechnology
  • Economic, business and financial issues
  • Energy production
  • Environmental development
  • Tourism and traveling
  • Science and Technology
  • Media sector, all kinds are included
  • Poverty alleviation
  • Security aspects
  • Interpersonal communication among individuals
  • Funding and all the mechanism related to it
  • Social development

Structure of SAARC:

The structure of SAARC is as follows:

The council: it’s the one who makes the policies for SAARC and it consists of heads of governments of member countries.

Council of ministers: These are basically foreign ministers of the respective countries and they meet up annually two times.

Functioning of Council of ministers:

  • Formulation of policy
  • Reviewing all the process and function of the regional cooperation
  • Discovering new fields where the cooperation can function
  • Arranging new mechanisms If required for cooperation

Standing committee:

Foreign secretariat combined with member countries is known as the standing committee in SAARC. Its functions are as follows:

  • To monitor and run the programs
  • To deal with the financial related issues
  • To help establish better communication within the regional areas and outside.

Programming committee: SAARC

The senior officials of member governments are in this committee. Its functions are as follows;

  • The annual meet is scheduled by this committee
  • Thorough analyzing of budget for the SAARC is done by this committee
  • It also conducts the external activities assigned by the standing committee.

Technical committee:

It is made of the representatives of the member countries. The following are its functions;

  • To make projects and monitor the projects entirely.
  • Submitting reports is also one of the main functions by this committee.


It is led by the secretary general and the secretary general is appointed by the council of ministers. The following is the functions of secretariat;

  • To organize and implement all the activities govern by SAARC
  • The meetings of SAARC are observed by secretariat
  • The Secretariat works as the medium of communication between SAARC and other international summits.

FAQs about SAARC:

Q1. What is the future of SAARC?

A1.  A lot of efforts need to be done by the members of SAARC to strengthen the purpose and aims of the cooperation. As most countries consist of a lot of below poverty line population. A serious amount of work needs to be done for the upliftment of this segment of population. Agricultural research and food production is also one of the major problems and members should join their hands and put more effort in this area.

Q2. What is the importance of SAARC for India?

A2. India can benefit majorly by the connection with all the countries in the areas like trade and exports etc. And this can boost economic growth really well. So India should involve itself seriously in the activities of SAARC, as it will be helpful in overall development of the nation in all areas like economic, cultural, agricultural etc.

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