The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2015.
SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union.
South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
|Amjad Hussain B. Sial|
|Establishment||8 December 1985|
|5,099,611 km2 (1,968,971 sq mi) (7th)|
• Water (%)
• 2015 estimate
|336.1/km2 (870.5/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2017 estimate|
|US$11.64 trillion (3rd)|
|GDP (nominal)||2017 estimate|
|US$ 3.31 trillion (5th)|
|Time zone||UTC+4:30 to +6 (Afghanistan Time(UTC+4:30), Pakistan Standard Time (PST), Maldives Time(both UTC+5:00), Indian Standard Time (IST), Sri Lanka Standard Time (SLST)(bothUTC+5:30), Nepal Standard Time (NST)(UTC+5:45), Bangladesh Standard Time (BST), Bhutan Time (bothUTC+6:00))|
The idea of co-operation in South Asia was discussed in at least three conferences: the Asian Relations Conference held in New Delhi on April 1947; the Baguio Conference in the Philippines on May 1950; and the Colombo Powers Conference held in Sri Lanka in April 1954.
In the ending years of the 1970s, the seven inner South Asian nations that included Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka agreed upon the creation of a trade bloc and to provide a platform for the people of South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust, and understanding. President Ziaur Rahman later addressed official letters to the leaders of the countries of the South Asia, presenting his vision for the future of the region and the compelling arguments for region. During his visit to India in December 1977, Rahman discussed the issue of regional cooperation with the Indian Prime Minister, Morarji Desai. In the inaugural speech to the Colombo Plan Consultative Committee which met in Kathmandu also in 1977, King Birendra of Nepal gave a call for close regional cooperation among South Asian countries in sharing river waters.
After the USSR's intervention in Afghanistan, the efforts to establish the union was accelerated in 1979 and the resulting rapid deterioration of South Asian security situation. Responding to Rahman and Birendra's convention, the officials of the foreign ministries of the seven countries met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981. The Bangladeshi proposal was promptly endorsed by Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives but India and Pakistan were sceptical initially. The Indian concern was the proposal's reference to the security matters in South Asia and feared that Rahman's proposal for a regional organisation might provide an opportunity for new smaller neighbours to re-internationalise all bilateral issues and to join with each other to form an opposition against India. Pakistan assumed that it might be an Indian strategy to organise the other South Asian countries against Pakistan and ensure a regional market for Indian products, thereby consolidating and further strengthening India's economic dominance in the region.
However, after a series of diplomatic consultations headed by Bangladesh between South Asian U.N. representatives at the UN headquarters in New York, from September 1979 to 1980, it was agreed that Bangladesh would prepare the draft of a working paper for discussion among the foreign secretaries of South Asian countries. The foreign secretaries of the inner seven countries again delegated a Committee of the Whole in Colombo on September 1981, which identified five broad areas for regional cooperation. New areas of co-operation were added in the following years.
In 1983, the international conference held in Dhaka by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the foreign ministers of the inner seven countries adopted the Declaration on South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and formally launched the Integrated Programme of Action (IPA) initially in five agreed areas of cooperation namely, Agriculture; Rural Development; Telecommunications; Meteorology; and Health and Population Activities.
Officially, the union was established in Dhaka with Kathmandu being union's secretariat-general. The first SAARC summit was held in Dhaka on 7–8 December 1985 and hosted by the President of Bangladesh Hussain Ershad. The declaration signed by King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk, President of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq, Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi, King of Nepal Birendra Shah, President of Sri Lanka JR Jayewardene, and President of Maldives Maumoon Gayoom.
|GDP per Capita
|GDP Growth Rate
|Foreign Direct Investment
|Foreign Exchange Reserves(million)||Defense Budget(% of GDP)
|Literacy Rate(Given Age & above)||Life Expectancy||Population below Poverty Line||Primary School Enrollment ||Secondary School enrollment ||Population undernourished(%)
|G20||BRICS||BIMSTEC||IORA||APTA||BBIN||SASEC||AIIB||ACU||ACD||ADB||World Bank||Nuclear Weapons|
|Afghanistan||34,656,032||$21.3 bn||$63.5 bn||$1,976||3.2%||$0.3 bn||N/A||$6,442||N/A||28.1%(Age 15)||60||15.8%||N/A||54%||26.8%||0.465
|Bangladesh||162,951,560||$285.815 bn||$751.949 bn||$4,560||7.65%||$37 bn||$2.65 bn||$32,000||$3.2 bn(1.2%)||57.7%(Age 15)||70||16%||92%||54%||12.4%||0.570
|Bhutan||797,765||$2.2 bn||$6.3 bn||$8,158||6.4%||$0.7 bn||$63 mln||N/A||N/A||52.8%(age 15)||68||23.7%||91%||78%||N/A||0.605
|India||1,324,171,354||$2,439.0 bn||$9,446.8 bn||$7,174||7.3%||$464.0 bn||$31.0 bn||$422,532.5||$45 bn(1.9%)||74.4%(age 15)||67||21.9%||94%||69%||15.2%||0.609
|Maldives||427,756||$3.0 bn||$5.2 bn||$14,980||4.5%||$0.28 bn||N/A||$356||N/A||99%(age 15)||77||16%||N/A||N/A||5.2%||0.706
|Nepal||28,982,771||$21.6 bn||$70.7 bn||$2,488||5.5%||$1.0 bn||$10 mln||$5,439||N/A||66%(age 15)||68||25.2%||98%||67%||7.8%||0.548
|Pakistan||193,203,476||$313 bn||$1161.0bn||$5,886||5.4%||$25.1 bn||$0.709 bn(2014)||$16,305||$7.4 bn(3.5%)||55%(age 15)||68||22.6%||72%||34%||22%||0.538
|Sri Lanka||20,798,492||$80.4 bn||$233.7 bn||$11,068||7%||$11.8 bn||$0.9 bn||$8,314||$1.4 bn(2.3%)||98.1%(age 15)||75||8.9%||94%||99%||22%||0.756
SAARC was founded by seven states in 1985. In 2005, Afghanistan began negotiating their accession to SAARC and formally applied for membership on the same year. The issue of Afghanistan joining SAARC generated a great deal of debate in each member state, including concerns about the definition of South Asian identity because Afghanistan is a Central Asian country.
The SAARC member states imposed a stipulation for Afghanistan to hold a general election; the non-partisan elections were held in late 2005. Despite initial reluctance and internal debates, Afghanistan joined SAARC as its eighth member state in April 2007.
On 2 August 2006, the foreign ministers of the SAARC countries agreed in principle to grant observer status to three applicants; the US and South Korea (both made requests in April 2006), as well as the European Union (requested in July 2006). On 4 March 2007, Iran requested observer status, followed shortly by Mauritius.
Myanmar has expressed interest in upgrading its status from an observer to a full member of SAARC. Russia has applied for observer status membership of SAARC. Turkey applied for observer status membership of SAARC in 2012. South Africa has participated in meetings.
The SAARC Secretariat is supported by following Regional Centres established in the Member States to promote regional co-operation. These Centres are managed by Governing Boards comprising representatives from all the Member States, SAARC Secretary-General and the Ministry of Foreign/External Affairs of the Host Government. The Director of the Centre acts as Member Secretary to the Governing Board which reports to the Programming Committee. After 31 December 2015, there 6 regional centers were stopped by unanimous decision. These are SMRC, SFC, SDC, SCZMC, SIC, SHRDC.
|SAARC Agricultural Centre (SAC)||Dhaka||Bangladesh||Official website|
|SAARC Meteorological Research Centre (SMRC)||Dhaka||Bangladesh|
|SAARC Forestry Centre (SFC)||Thimphu||Bhutan|
|SAARC Development Fund (SDF)||Thimphu||Bhutan||Official website|
|SAARC Documentation Centre (SDC)||New Delhi||India|
|SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC)||Gandhinagar||India||Official website|
|SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre (SCZMC)||Malé||Maldives|
|SAARC Information Centre (SIC)||Kathmandu||Nepal|
|SAARC Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Centre (STAC)||Kathmandu||Nepal||Official website|
|SAARC Human Resources Development Centre (SHRDC)||Islamabad||Pakistan|
|SAARC Energy Centre (SEC)||Islamabad||Pakistan||Official website|
|SAARC Cultural Centre (SCC)||Colombo||Sri Lanka||Official website|
SAARC has six Apex Bodies, they are-
Amjad Hussain B. Sial is the current Secretary General of SAARC.
SAARC also has about 17 recognised bodies.
South Asia Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Disaster Management Centre (SDMC-IU) has been set up at Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management (GIDM) Campus, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. Eight Member States, i.e. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are expected to be served by the SDMC (IU). The SDMC (IU) is entrusted with the responsibility to serve Member States by providing policy advice, technical support on system development, capacity building services and training for holistic management of disaster risk in the SAARC region. The centre also facilitates exchange of information and expertise for effective and efficient management of disaster risk.
Lasting peace and prosperity in South Asia has been elusive because of the various ongoing conflicts in the region. Political dialogue is often conducted on the margins of SAARC meetings which have refrained from interfering in the internal matters of its member states. During the 12th and 13th SAARC summits, extreme emphasis was laid upon greater cooperation between the SAARC members to fight terrorism.
The 19th SAARC summit scheduled to be held in Pakistan was called off as India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan decided to boycott it. It was for the first time that four countries boycotted a SAARC summit, leading to its cancellation.
SAFTA was envisaged primarily as the first step towards the transition to a South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) leading subsequently towards a Customs Union, Common Market and the Economic Union. In 1995, Sixteenth session of the Council of Ministers (New Delhi, 18–19 December 1995) agreed on the need to strive for the realisation of SAFTA and to this end, an Inter-Governmental Expert Group (IGEG) was set up in 1996 to identify the necessary steps for progressing to a free trade area. The Tenth SAARC Summit (Colombo, 29–31 July 1998) decided to set up a Committee of Experts (COE) to draft a comprehensive treaty framework for creating a free trade area within the region, taking into consideration the asymmetries in development within the region and bearing in mind the need to fix realistic and achievable targets.
The SAFTA Agreement was signed on 6 January 2004 during Twelfth SAARC Summit held in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Agreement entered into force on 1 January 2006, and the Trade Liberalisation Programme commenced from 1 July 2006. Under this agreement, SAARC members will bring their duties down to 20 percent by 2009. Following the Agreement coming into force the SAFTA Ministerial Council (SMC) has been established comprising the Commerce Ministers of the Member States. In 2012 the SAARC exports increased substantially to US$354.6 billion from US$206.7 billion in 2009. Imports too increased from US$330 billion to US$602 billion over the same period. But the intra-SAARC trade amounts to just a little over 1% of SAARC's GDP. In contrast to SAARC, in ASEAN (which is actually smaller than SAARC in terms of the size of the economy) the intra-bloc trade stands at 10% of its GDP.
SAFTA was envisaged to gradually move towards the South Asian Economic Union, but the current intra-regional trade and investment relation are not encouraging and it may be difficult to achieve this target. The SAARC intra-regional trade stands at just five percent on the share of intra-regional trade in overall trade in South Asia. Similarly, foreign direct investment is also dismal. The intra-regional FDI flow stands at around four percent of the total foreign investment.
The Asian Development Bank has estimated that inter-regional trade in SAARC region possessed the potential of shooting up agricultural exports by $14 billion per year from existing level of $8 billion to $22 billion. The study by Asian Development Bank states that against the potential average SAARC intra-regional trade of $22 billion per year, the actual trade in South Asia has been only around $8 billion. The uncaptured potential for intra-regional trade is therefore $14 billion per year, i.e. 68%.
The SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme was launched in 1992. The leaders at the Fourth Summit (Islamabad, 29–31 December 1988), realizing the importance of people-to-people contact among SAARC countries, decided that certain categories of dignitaries should be entitled to a Special Travel document. The document would exempt them from visas within the region. As directed by the Summit, the Council of Ministers regularly kept under review the list of entitled categories.
Currently, the list included 24 categories of entitled persons, which include dignitaries, judges of higher courts, parliamentarians, senior officials, entrepreneurs, journalists, and athletes.
The Visa Stickers are issued by the respective Member States to the entitled categories of that particular country. The validity of the Visa Sticker is generally for one year. The implementation is reviewed regularly by the Immigration Authorities of SAARC Member States.
The Twelfth Summit approved the SAARC Award to support individuals and organisations within the region. The main aims of the SAARC Award are:
The SAARC Award consists of a gold medal, a letter of citation, and cash prize of US$25,000 (₹15 lakhs). Since the institution of the SAARC Award in 2004, it has been awarded only once and the Award was posthumously conferred upon the late President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh.
The SAARC Literary Award is an annual award conferred by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL) since 2001 which is an apex SAARC body. Shamshur Rahman, Mahasweta Devi, Jayanta Mahapatra, Abhi Subedi, Mark Tully, Sitakant Mahapatra, Uday Prakash, Suman Pokhrel and Abhay K are some of the prominent recipients of this award.
The SAARC Youth Award is awarded to outstanding individuals from the SAARC region. The award is notable because of the recognition it gives to the Award winner in the SAARC region. The award is based on specific themes which apply to each year. The award recognises and promotes the commitment and talent of the youth who give back to the world at large through various initiatives such as Inventions, Protection of the Environment and Disaster relief. The recipients who receive this award are ones who have dedicated their lives to their individual causes to improve situations in their own countries as well as paving a path for the SAARC region to follow. The Committee for the SAARC Youth Award selects the best candidate based on his/her merits and their decision is final.
SAARC does not have an official anthem like some other regional organisations (e.g. ASEAN). A poem by poet-diplomat Abhay Kumar spurred a search for a better SAARC anthem. Nepal's foreign minister has expressed the need for an SAARC anthem to connect SAARC nations. Nepal at the 18th summit in Kathmandu in November 2014 planned to introduce proposal for an SAARC Anthem in the agenda of summit when heads of all member states meet here.
|#||Name||Country||Took office||Left office|
|1||Abul Ahsan||Bangladesh||16 January 1985||15 October 1989|
|2||Kant Kishore Bhargava||India||17 October 1989||31 December 1991|
|3||Ibrahim Hussein Zaki||Maldives||1 January 1992||31 December 1993|
|4||Yadav Kant Silwal||Nepal||1 January 1994||31 December 1995|
|5||Naeem U. Hasan||Pakistan||1 January 1996||31 December 1998|
|6||Nihal Rodrigo||Sri Lanka||1 January 1999||10 January 2002|
|7||Q. A. M. A. Rahim||Bangladesh||11 January 2002||28 February 2005|
|8||Chenkyab Dorji||Bhutan||1 March 2005||29 February 2008|
|9||Sheel Kant Sharma||India||1 March 2008||28 February 2011|
|10||Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed||Maldives||1 March 2011||11 March 2012|
|11||Ahmed Saleem||Maldives||12 March 2012||28 February 2014|
|12||Arjun Bahadur Thapa||Nepal||1 March 2014||28 February 2017|
|13||Amjad Hussain B. Sial||Pakistan||1 March 2017||Incumbent|
|1st||7–8 December 1985||Bangladesh||Dhaka||Ataur Rahman Khan|
|2nd||16–17 November 1986||India||Bengaluru||Rajiv Gandhi|
|3rd||2–4 November 1987||Nepal||Kathmandu||King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah|
|4th||29–31 December 1988||Pakistan||Islamabad||Benazir Bhutto|
|5th||21–23 November 1990||Maldives||Malé||Maumoon Abdul Gayoom|
|6th||21 December 1991||Sri Lanka||Colombo||Ranasinghe Premadasa|
|7th||10–11 April 1993||Bangladesh||Dhaka||Khaleda Zia|
|8th||2–4 May 1995||India||New Delhi||P V Narasimha Rao|
|9th||12–14 May 1997||Maldives||Malé||Maumoon Abdul Gayoom|
|10th||29–31 July 1998||Sri Lanka||Colombo||Chandrika Kumaratunga|
|11th||4–6 January 2002||Nepal||Kathmandu||Sher Bahadur Deuba|
|12th||2–6 January 2004||Pakistan||Islamabad||Zafarullah Khan Jamali|
|13th||12–13 November 2005||Bangladesh||Dhaka||Khaleda Zia|
|14th||3–4 April 2007||India||New Delhi||Manmohan Singh|
|15th||1–3 August 2008||Sri Lanka||Colombo||Mahinda Rajapaksa|
|16th||28–29 April 2010||Bhutan||Thimphu||Jigme Thinley|
|17th||10–11 November 2011||Maldives||Addu||Mohammed Nasheed|
|18th||26–27 November 2014||Nepal||Kathmandu||Sushil Koirala|
|19th||9–10 November 2016||Pakistan||Islamabad||Cancelled|
|20th||2019||Sri Lanka||Colombo||Maithripala Sirisena|
|Country||President / Head of State||Prime Minister|
|Afghanistan||Ashraf Ghani||Abdullah Abdullah|
|Bangladesh||Abdul Hamid||Sheikh Hasina|
|Bhutan||King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck||Lotay Tshering|
|India||Ram Nath Kovind||Narendra Modi|
|Maldives||Ibrahim Mohamed Solih|
|Nepal||Bidhya Devi Bhandari||Khadga Prasad Oli|
|Pakistan||Arif Alvi||Imran Khan|
|Sri Lanka||Maithripala Sirisena||Ranil Wickremesinghe|
The 17th SAARC summit was held in November 10, 2011 in the South Province of Maldives (Addu Atoll, Fuvahmulah). The theme of the summit was “Building Bridges”.1992–93 SAARC Quadrangular
The 1992–93 SAARC Quadrangular cricket Tournament started in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 1992 amidst great enthusiasm and excitement. 4 teams, the 'A' teams from neighbouring India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and the full national team of the host country participated in the event. Due to the volatile political situation arising in the sub-continent, the tournament had to be abandoned at the League stage. Thus, there was no winners of the tournament.19th SAARC summit
The 19th SAARC summit was a scheduled diplomatic conference, which was originally planned to be held in Islamabad, Pakistan on 15–19 November 2016. The summit was to be attended by the leaders of the eight SAARC member states and representatives of observers and guest states.
Following the rising diplomatic tensions after the Uri terrorist attack, India announced its boycott of the summit, alleging Pakistan's involvement in the attack. Later, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives also pulled out of the summit. culminating in an indefinite postponement of the summit.20th SAARC summit
The 20th SAARC summit is the 20th meeting of the heads of state or heads of government of the eight SAARC countries after their previous meeting in Pakistan was boycotted by all SAARC members. The Summit will take place in 2019.
Pakistan is aggressively seeking support from smaller South Asian nations to host the SAARC summit in Islamabad. Sri Lanka and Nepal have already shown support, but analysts doubt India will agree as it plans to isolate Pakistan.Ahmed Saleem
Ahmed Saleem is a Maldivian diplomat. He is currently the Ambassador of Maldives to Pakistan and Ambassador (Non-Resident) to Nepal.
Prior to his present post, Saleem was the 11th Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Association’s Secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Saleem assumed the Secretary-Generalship of SAARC on 12 March 2012.Banglabandha
Banglabandha (also spelled Banglabandh) is a major inland port in northern Bangladesh established to provide a trade link with India, Nepal and Bhutan. The three nations are separated by 52 km (32 mi) of Indian territory, known as the Siliguri Corridor. On the Indian side of the border is Phulbari. Border crossing of vehicles between Phulbari and Banglabandha was inaugurated in January 2011.Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature
The FOUNDATION OF SAARC WRITERS AND LITERATURE is the only SAARC apex body in the SAARC Region, working under the SAARC banner, projecting, nurturing and strengthening cultural connectivity through literary and cultural interactions among the SAARC countries, for peace and tranquility in the region, through people-to-people contacts and dialogue.Kant Kishore Bhargava
Kant Kishore Bhargava is an Indian diplomat who served as the second secretary-general of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) from October 17, 1989 to December 31, 1991. He emigrated to Canada in 1998.Q. A. M. A. Rahim
Q.A.M.A. Rahim is a Bangladeshi diplomat who served as the seventh secretary-general of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation from January 11, 2002 to February 28, 2005.Regional organization
Regional organizations (ROs) are, in a sense, international organizations (IOs), as they incorporate international membership and encompass geopolitical entities that operationally transcend a single nation state. However, their membership is characterized by boundaries and demarcations characteristic to a defined and unique geography, such as continents, or geopolitics, such as economic blocs. They have been established to foster cooperation and political and economic integration or dialogue among states or entities within a restrictive geographical or geopolitical boundary. They both reflect common patterns of development and history that have been fostered since the end of World War II as well as the fragmentation inherent in globalization, which is why their institutional characteristics vary from loose cooperation to formal regional integration. Most ROs tend to work alongside well-established multilateral organizations such as the United Nations. While in many instances a regional organization is simply referred to as an international organization, in many others it makes sense to use the term regional organization to stress the more limited scope of a particular membership.
Examples of ROs include, a.o., the African Union (AU), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Arab League (AL), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Council of Europe (CoE), Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), European Union (EU), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO), Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), Union of South American Nations (USAN).SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry
SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recognized as a regional apex trade body by South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is a constellation of the eight national Federation Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the member states of SAARC. The rationale behind creation of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the SAARC countries was to promote trade and industry in the region and to develop and achieve common objectives in the areas of trade and industry, moreover the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry is also accepted as the voice of the private sector across the region.SAARC Consortium on Open and Distance Learning
The SAARC Consortium on Open and Distance Learning (SACODiL) is a regional cooperation agency set up under the auspices of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) with the objectives of promoting cooperation and collaboration among institutions imparting knowledge through open and distance learning within member states, and promoting its use as a viable and cost-effective method of imparting quality education at all levels.SAARC Documentation Centre
SAARC Documentation Centre (SDC) is a regional centre of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation). SDC is located in New Delhi. Presently it is housed on the campus of NISCAIR.SAARC Secretary General
Secretary–General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, is head of a SAARC Secretariat, which is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. SAARC is an economic and geopolitical union between the eight South Asian member nations, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Secretary-General is appointed for a three-year term by election by a council of Ministers from member states. Secretary-General is assisted by eight deputies, one from each nation, who also reside in Kathmandu. SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987 by Bangladeshi diplomat Abul Ahsan, who was its first Secretary-General, and was inaugurated by King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal. Since its creation, its member nations have contributed to a total of thirteen General Secretaries. Pakistan's Diplomat Amjad Hussain B. Sial is the current Secretary-General, having assumed charge on 1 March 2017.Sheel Kant Sharma
Sheel Kant Sharma was the ninth Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), serving from 2008 to 2011. He is an expert on energy, and was formerly Indian envoy to Austria.South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme
The South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme, also known as SACEP, is an inter-governmental organisation established in 1982 by the South Asian governments to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of the environment in the region.South Asia Satellite
The South Asia Satellite, also known as GSAT-9, is a geostationary communications and meteorology satellite operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region. The satellite was launched on the 5th May, 2017. During the 18th SAARC summit held in Nepal in 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mooted the idea of a satellite serving the needs of SAARC member nations as a part of his Neighbourhood first policy. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka are the users of the multi-dimensional facilities provided by the satellite.
Pakistan did not join the project, stating that it was working on its own satellite, but did offer "monetary and technical support". India rejected Pakistani offers, saying that it wanted the project to be a "gift" and multi-national collaboration would be time consuming. As a result, Pakistan declined to participate in the project. Afghanistan was initially non-committal to the satellite.The South Asia Satellite provides crucial information on tele-medicine, tele-education, banking and television broadcasting opportunities. It is also equipped with remote sensing state of the art technology which enables collection of real-time weather data and helps in observations of the geology of the South Asian nations.South Asian Federation of Accountants
The South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) is a forum of professional accounting bodies in the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region of eight nations. It works in the public interest and towards broad economic development of the region in part through promoting harmonization of accounting standards and practices.
It was founded in 1984. The strategy of the organization is not to create new standards, but rather to promote harmonization by building common knowledge and adoption of International Accounting Standards (IAS, which accommodates regional/national variations).Former presidents of the SAFA include Jamal Uddin Ahmad.Ugyen Dorji (DNT politician)
Ugyen Dorji (c. 1986) is a Bhutanese politician who has been Minister for Labour and Human Resources since November 2018. He has been a member of the National Assembly of Bhutan, since October 2018.
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)