December 8, 2021 - 6:15 am

 Need More Potential Than Ever Before 

The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established on 8 December 1985 celebrates another Charter Day today. The day marks the signing of the SAARC Charter by the leaders of SAARC countries Heads of State or Government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the first Summit held in Dhaka. Since the establishment of the association, the SAARC Secretariat, member states, regional centers and apex/recognised bodies have been commemorating December 8 as the SAARC Charter day and celebrate it with great enthusiasm by organising events and programs.

                SAARC embodies the desire of the people and government of South Asia to work collectively to promote mutual understanding, good neighborly relations and meaningful cooperation among the member states. The main objectives of SAARC are to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural and technical & scientific fields on the basis of respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence and non-interference in the internal affairs of each other.

                Indian leaders like Indira Gandhi were not interested in such an idea of a regional organisation. After her death, her son Rajiv Gandhi signed the SAARC charter for India, hence marking the beginning of the association of regional cooperation. China, which earlier wanted to be member of SAARC was prevented by India in becoming a member. Therefore, China never wanted SAARC to be a strong organisations. Also, China is trying to establish relations with the member states of SAARC excluding India.

                SAARC is not a choice, but a necessity for meaningful regional cooperation in South Asia. SAARC charter reflects the region's "shared vision, collective resolve and mutual pursuit to promote peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia through eradication of poverty, accelerated economic growth and environment advancement in socio-cultural development. There is a need for greater regional cooperation today than ever before. To collectively emerge from the pandemic, the situation underlines the importance of more concerted efforts, collaboration and cooperation among the member state of SAARC.