The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation(SAARC): an economic intergovernmental and geopolitical corporate organization. SAARC established on 8th December in 1985. It comprised of 7 nations at that time including, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indian, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Later in 2007 Afghanistan, another country in the South Asian region was admitted to the SAARC. There was also news about China and Myanmar showing signs of joining the SAARC but for now. There are 8 countries in the SAARC organization which have made a relationship for ease in trade and economic activities. One nation provides resources and helps to another and the one which receives help and resources returns to the donor or supplier.
South Asia or the countries in SAARC covers only about 5.2 million km2 of the whole world which is 3.5% of the world’s land surface area. 11.71% of Asia but the population of South Asia is about 1.891 billion which is one-fourth of the world’s population. Despite the large density of population, this region has been able to produce only 4.21% of the world’s global economy which is USD 3.67 trillion. South Asia the most densely populated geographical region in the world. There is potential to do a lot of things in this region. Such a huge amount of manpower and workforce allows the South Asian region to not only make. An impact on the Asian economy but also the whole. SAARC has been established to promote social progress, economic growth, and cultural development. The South Asian Region so that it can bring the best of the dense population.
History of SAARC
Ever since the Asian Relations Conference held in New Delhi in April 1947. The idea about the cooperation of South Asian countries was discussed. Later in May 1950 in the Baguio Conference in the Philippines May 1950. The Colombo Powers Conference held in Sri Lanka in April 1954 also the concept was discussed. Later in the late 1970s when Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka agreed to create a trade. So that the people and countries in South Asia could work together in a spirit of friendship, understanding, and Trust. There were discussions in 1977 when President ZaiurRahman discussed it with then Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai. King Birendra of Nepal also gave a call for a close regional corporation among South Asian Countries. In 1977 in Kathmandu during the Colombo Plan Consultative Committee.
The intervention of the USSR in Afghanistan was what accelerated the effort to create an alliance of the South Asian Countries. In April of 1981, the officials of the seven countries met for the first time in Colombo. Where some of them were skeptical initially. There were many meetings and discussions in 1981. Afterward which resulted in the establishment of the union in Dhaka with Kathmandu of Nepal being the union’s secretariat-general. The first SAARC summit was held on 7-8 December 1985 in Dhaka which was hosted by HussainErshad, President of Bangladesh. In 2007, Afghanistan also entered into the SAARC union becoming the 8th country.
What has SAARC done until now?
SAARC has been promoting the development of economical and regional integration ever since its establishment. The South Asian Free Trade Area has been launched in 2006 which has helped to create better relations in trade. So that the costs are comparatively less. SAARC also maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations (UN) as an observer. It has also been successful in developing links with other multilateral entities like the European Union (EU).
The countries in the SAARC have been helping one another at times of difficult situations. Like natural calamities and other problems. One has been helping at times of difficulties. Besides this, the countries also organize sports events known as the South Asian Games. Previously known as the South Asian Federation and the countries in the South Asian region; SAARC participates in different sports events to compete with one another. It has helped the people in the sports sector to improve and advance.
SAARC actively helps during disasters through the SAARC Disaster Management Center (SDMC -IU). It also has emphasized creating peace and prosperity in the region looking at the political issues. There are other advantages like SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme and the SAARC award. Besides all these the primary goal and main focus has been in the South Asian Free Trade Area.
Are there going to be any new members in the SAARC in near future?
Countries like Myanmar, China, Russia, and China have requested to join the SAARC. Along with that South Africa has participated in meetings of SAARC. It has not been included as a member yet. There are some countries requesting to become an observer and some requesting to become a full member. Until now any changes have not been made so it is unlikely for a new country to enter the SAARC in near future. We cannot be sure about what will happen in long term.