Press Reviews
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established when its Charter was formally adopted on December 8, 1985 by the Heads of State or Government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan became its eighth member at the Association's 14th summit in April 2007.

In terms of population (of 1.3 billion), SAARC's sphere of influence is the largest of any regional organization. Providing a platform for the peoples of South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust and understanding, its aim is to accelerate the process of economic and social development in Member States.

Connectivity was the overarching theme of the 14th SAARC Summit with emphasis on physical connectivity, economic connectivity and people to people connectivity. A diverse range of challenges were identified, dealing with poverty and malnutrition, education, food, health, connectivity, environment conservation, as well as the need for combating terrorism, narcotics and psychotropic substances, trafficking in women and children and other trans-national crimes. The Leaders have acknowledged that the direct involvement of people in the decision making process has helped SAARC
to identify connectivity projects in the fields of education, health and infrastructure

As the current Chair of SAARC, India is committed to improve people to people connectivity within the region. As directed by the 14th SAARC Summit, the SAARC Cultural Festival is being institutionalized with the first being organized by India. Deliberation on the cultural and social ties among the SAARC countries, based on common history and geography, took place where the futures of peoples of South Asia were seen as interlinked. The importance of people-to-people contact was stressed as a key constituent in regional connectivity with the increased intra-regional tourism and increased exchanges, particularly among the youth, civil society, and parliamentarians.

ICCR India