South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) | IAS Target IAS Target

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union. Afghanistan became the newest member of SAARC at the 13th annual summit in 2005. SAARC Summits are held annually. There have been, however, times when the summits skipped a year. The diplomatic summits can only take place when all the members of SAARC are present.


  • Collective effort on global platform on matter of common interest
  • Effort to work on strengthening Global South cooperation
  • Welfare of the people and focus on quality of life.
  • The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration.
  • It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006.
  • Reduce trust deficit, collective effort to solve other country's problems

Establishment 8 December 1985
Secretariat: Kathmandu, Nepal
Official languages English
Members Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Observer status Australia, China, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, the United States, and the European Union

Facts about SAARC

  • 3% of the world's area
  • 21% of the world's population
  • 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy


Cooperation within the framework of the SAARC shall be based on:
  • Such cooperation shall not be a substitute for bilateral and multilateral cooperation but shall complement them.
  • Respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and mutual benefit.
  • Such cooperation shall not be inconsistent with bilateral and multilateral obligations.


  • Meeting of Heads of State or Government
  • Standing Committee of Foreign Secretaries
  • Secretariat

Focus area of SAARC

  • Energy (specially renewable form of energy), Transport, Science and Technology
  • Human Resource Development and Tourism
  • Information and Poverty Alleviation and using of technology for common good and reduce harmful impact
  • Economic, Trade and Finance and investment promotion
  • Agriculture and Rural Development and focus on sustainable development
  • Environment, ecology and biological diversity and Natural Disasters and Biotechnology
  • Social and political Affairs
  • Education, Security and Culture and Others