SAARC stands for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It is the union of eight countries which is located in South Asia. SAARC was founded in 1970, It idea was initiated in May 1980. In 1981 Colombo seven countries met for the first time. In the 13th annual summit 2005, Afghanistan became the newest member. SAARC's main goal is to promote economic development in a regional area. The total area of these states who comes under the SAARC organization is about 2 million square miles, which is 3% of the total area of the world. All member states have a population of over 1.7 billion, which is 21% of the total world population. Mainly SAARC is based on the five principal that is Sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, and mutual benefit.
Those eight countries are :
Areas of Cooperation of SAARC Organization
Development in Agriculture and Rural area
Development in Human Resource and Tourism area
Helping in Environment, Natural Disasters, and Biotechnology
Achievements of SAARC
By SAARC member a free trade zone is established, their motive is to increase internal trade and significantly reduce the trade gap of some states. It is a news organization.
SAFTA (SAARC Free Trade Agreement) was signed to make the customs duty of all traded goods to zero by the year 2016. The agreement was limited to goods, but excluding all services such as information technology.
SATIS (SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services) is following GATS-plus 'positive list' approach to trade in services liberalization.
India and Pakistan conflict hamper the SAARC relation.
The frequency of SAARC meetings is low. SAARC countries need more engagement among the member countries rather than the biennial meetings that meet annually.
The free trade agreement between SAARC countries has not been satisfactory.
Structure of the SAARC
Council - This is the highest policy-making body. The council is represented by the heads of government of the respective member states.
Council of Ministers - The Council of Ministers consists of the Minister of External Affairs and they usually meet twice annually.