Introduction of SAARC
SAARC is an acronym for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. SAARC is an intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia.
The official language of SAARC is English and the organization was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal.
SAARC provides a platform for the peoples of South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust and understanding.
It aims to promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life.
Member States of SAARC
SAARC has nine observer states and eight permanent member states. Its permanent member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Prime Objectives of SAARC
- Acceleration of economic growth.
- Promotion of peace and prosperity
- Promotion of welfare of people of South Asia, and an increase in collaboration and mutual assistance in economic, social, culture, technology, and scientific fields.
Suggestions to improve the working of SAARC
According to one estimate, the subcontinent made up two-thirds of global GDP during the 18th century, compared with just 6 percent to 7 percent now. To reclaim its space in the world, regional integration is a must, and the time has come for SAARC to help transform South Asia in the same way that the European Union has changed Europe.
Here are a few suggestions to transform SAARC into South Asia’s version of the European Union and to make the organization more effective in enhancing regional cooperation and communication.
- Making Afganistan an economic hub for South Asia rather than just a political battlefield for competing world powers.
- Ensuring workable relations between India and Pakistan including the resolution of all inter-state issues.
- Decisions of SAARC must be taken on the basis of a majority vote instead of a yes vote by all the member states.
- Ensuring the inclusion and resolution of all bilateral issues of SAARC member states through the platform of SAARC such as the resolution of India-Bangladesh border issues, Pakistan-India territorial disputes via proper and consistent dialogue from the SAARC platform.
- Taking practicable steps to improve the intra-regional trade among the SAARC members and the efforts should be done for improving the overall trade share of SAARC countries in global trade.
- Implementation of pre-existing South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) to its full potential by shifting the preferences of SAARC members from nationalism towards the globalization of goods and services.
- Reducing the influence of other countries like America, UK, Saudi Arabia on regional (South Asian) political framework.
- Formation of a South Asian Parliament in line with the European Union model to resolve the bilateral issues of member states.
- Improving the confidence-building measures (CBMs) by improving the track-1, track-2, and track-3 diplomacy.
- Administrative changes in SAARC to improve the cultural, social, military cooperation among the SAARC members.
- A collective security mechanism should be planned and implemented to ensure the security of the most vulnerable countries such as Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc.
- Development of an internal single market through the standardized system of laws that are applicable in all SAARC member states.
- Ensuring the free movement of people, goods, and services on the model of the European Union.
- Establishment of a monetary union at the level of SAARC and utilization of a single currency for regional trade.