SAARC (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – IR)

News-CRUX-10     3rd April 2024        
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Context: India is embarking on a diplomatic push to get SAARC countries to restart funding the cash-strapped South Asian University (SAU), which started its operations in 2010 in the national capital, according to persons aware of the matter.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

  • Establishment: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established with the signing of the SAARC Charter in Dhaka on 8 December 1985.
  • Regional Cooperation: The idea of regional cooperation in South Asia was first raised in November 1980, leading to the inaugural meeting of the foreign secretaries of the seven founding countries in Colombo in April 1981.
  • Membership: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri-Lanka.
  • Expansion of Membership: Afghanistan joined SAARC as its newest member.
  • Headquarters: Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • Objectives: SAARC's objectives include promoting welfare, economic growth, collective self-reliance, mutual trust, collaboration, and cooperation with other developing countries and international organizations.
  • Principles of Cooperation: SAARC is grounded on principles like sovereign equality, territorial integrity, non-interference, and mutual benefit, outlined in its charter.
  • Areas of Cooperation: SAARC's areas of cooperation span diverse sectors such as human resource development, agriculture, environment, trade, social affairs, energy, education, and security.

South Asian University (SAU)

  • Origin of the University: The SAU originated from a proposal by the Prime Minister of India during the 13th SAARC Summit in Dhaka in 2005.
  • Objective of Establishment: To establish a Centre of Excellence in the form of a University to offer world-class facilities and faculty to students and researchers from all SAARC member countries.
  • Pooling of Resources: Member countries agreed to pool their resources to support the creation and maintenance of the University, emphasizing collaboration and cooperation among SAARC nations.
  • Inclusive Education: SAU aimed to provide educational opportunities for students and researchers from every country in the SAARC region, promoting inclusivity and regional cooperation.
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