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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Role and Origin of SAARC

Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 1 Comment

South Asia Association of regional co-operation (SAARC) in December 1985 the heads of slates and governments of seven South Asian countries viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Srilanka held a summit meeting at Dhaka. After due deliberations they unanimously decided to set up secretariat and issued a declarations for a creation of SAARC. The declaration stated the objective of association as promotion of welfare of people, improvement in the quality of the life of people, acceleration of economic growth, promotion of collective self reliance promotion of mutual trust and understanding, promotion of collaboration in economic social cultural, technical and scientific fields, strengthening of co-operation with other developing countries and themselves besides co-operation with regional and international organization with similar objectives. This co-operation amongst the members was to be based on respect for principles of sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, political independence non-interference in internal affairs of other states of mutual benefit. It was further asserted that co-operation among the member state shall not be a substitute for bilateral and multilateral co-operation but shall complement them and it shall not be inconsistent with bilateral and multilateral obligations, further decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basic of consensus and the bilateral and contentions issues shall be excluded from the deliberations.

The declaration stated that the state of government shall meet annually and Council of Ministers consisting of foreign ministers of the member states shall be constituted to formulate policies, to review the progress of co-operation to establish additional mechanism and to decide on matters of general interest. This Council of Ministers shall be assisted by foreign secretaries. The declaration also envisaged the setting up of technical committee composing of representatives of member states for implementing coordinating and monitoring of programmes and Action Committee for projects involving more than two member states. The declaration stated that a secretarial for the association shall be established at the appropriate time. The expenses of the organisation shall be met out of voluntary contributions of members.

The formation of saarc evoked mixed reaction. King of Bhutan described it as “a manifestation of our collective wisdom and political will be bring about meaningful regional co-operation in spite of the differences on foreign policy and Security perspectives”. On the other hand President Zia of Pakistan expressed apprehensions about the dominant position of India which could deter the fulfilment of the objectives and ideas of saarc. Similar misgivings arose due to the size and population of India. Therefore it is desirable that India should try to allay these feelings by demonstrate ratings both by words and deeds that she will always by ready to enter into constructive and mutually beneficial co-operation with such countries as may seek it.

Despite these misgivings it cannot be denied that the formation of saarc was a significant step forward because it could stimulate regional cooperation through collective approach and action. No doubt the seven countries had different political system. Ideologies and links but they were also best with political problems of growth and development which encouraged them to co-operate with each other and evolve a common approach for development.

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