The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and geopolitical organization of eight countries that are primarily located in South Asia, established on 8 December 1985.
The first summit was held in Dhaka, when the organization was established by the governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan was the last member to join the SAARC Group.
Objectives of SAARC
To promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia
To contribute to develop mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another’s problem.
To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields.
To strengthen cooperation with other developing countries.
To strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interest.
To cooperate with international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes.
Observers of SAARC
States with observer status include Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea and the United States.
Secretariat of the SAARC is in Kathmandu, Nepal and it was established on 16 January 1987 and was inaugurated by Late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal.
Abul Ahsan from Bangladesh was the first Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
Arjun Bahadur Thapa is a Nepali diplomat and the current secretary-general of the SAARC.
Though the SAARC Charter requires the heads of state or government to meet once a year, the summits have generally taken place approximately every eighteen months.
The Eighteenth SAARC Summit will be held at Kathmandu (Nepal) on November 2014.
The SAARC Award comprises a gold medal, a letter of citation and cash prize of US $ 25,000. Since institution of SAARC Award in 2004, it has been awarded only once and the Award was posthumously conferred upon Late President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh.