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14-10-2010, 01:40 PM


The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. In terms of population, its sphere of influence is the largest of any regional organization: almost 1.5 billion people, the combined population of its member states. It was established on December 8, 1985 by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan. In April 2007, at the Association's 14th summit, Afghanistan became its eighth member. SAARC provides a platform for the peoples of South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust and understanding. It aims to accelerate the process of economic and social development in Member States.

Bangladeshi president Ziaur Rahman first mooted the idea in the 1970's for creation of a trade bloc, consisting of South Asian countries. The Foreign Secretaries of the seven countries met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981.

The Declaration on South Asian Regional Cooperation was adopted by the Foreign Ministers in 1983 in New Delhi. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was established, when its Charter was formally adopted on December 8 1985.
The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987 and was inaugurated by His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of Nepal.
It is headed by a Secretary General appointed by the Council of Ministers from Member Countries in alphabetical order for a three-year term. He is assisted by the Professional and the General Services Staff, and also an appropriate number of functional units called Divisions assigned to Directors on deputation from Member States.[8] The Secretariat coordinates and monitors implementation of activities, prepares for and services meetings, and serves as a channel of communication between the Association and its Member States as well as other regional organizations.
The Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the Secretariat[8] which was signed by Foreign Ministers of member countries on 17 November 1986 at Bangalore, India contains various clauses concerning the role, structure and administration of the SAARC Secretariat as well as the powers of the Secretary-General.
In several recent meetings the heads of state or government of member states of SAARC have taken some important decisions and bold initiatives to strengthen the organisation and to widen and deepen regional co-operation.
The SAARC Secretariat and Member States observe 8 December as the SAARC Charter Day.


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