The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. In terms of population, its sphere of influence is the largest of any regional organization: almost 1.5 billion people, the combined population of its member states. In 1980, Bangladesh President Ziaur Rahman proposed the creation of a trade bloc consisting of South Asian countries. The Bangladeshi proposal was accepted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during a meeting held in Colombo in 1981. In August 1983, the leaders adopted the Declaration on South Asian Regional Cooperation during a summit which was held in New Delhi. The seven South Asian countries, which also included Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan, agreed on five areas of cooperation:
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Meteorology
- Health and Population Activities
- Human Resource Development
Afghanistan was added to the regional grouping at the behest of India on November 13, 2005, With the addition of Afghanistan, the total number of member states were raised to eight (8). The People's Republic of China, the European Union, the United States of America, South Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Australia, and Mauritus are observers to SAARC. (more)
The economy of India is the fourth-largest in the world as measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), with a GDP of $3.3 trillion. When measured in USD exchange rates it is the tenth largest in the world, with a GDP of $691.8 billion. However India's huge population results in a relatively low per capita income ($3,100 at PPP). Services are the major source of economic growth in India today, though two-thirds of Indian workforce earn their livelihood directly or indirectly through agriculture. In recent times, India has also capitalised on its large number of highly-educated populace fluent in the English language to become a major exporter of software services, financial services and software engineers. For most of India's independent history, a socialist inspired approach was adhered to, with strict government control and regulation on private sector participation, foreign trade and foreign direct investment. Since the early 1990s, India has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment. The socio-economic problems India faces are the burgeoning population, growing inequality, lack of infrastructure, growing unemployment and growing poverty. (more...)
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Did you know
- ...that for nearly three centuries until 1956, the Burdwan Zamindari, one of the richest feudal estates in Bengal, was held by the same Punjabi family?
- ...that Neolithic tools found in the Kathmandu Valley indicate that people have been living in the Himalayan region for at least nine thousand years?
Selected Member Country
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (Sinhalese: , Tamil: இலங்கை; known as Ceylon before 1972) is an island nation in South Asia, located about 31 kilometers (18½ mi) off the southern coast of India. Originally known as Heladiva, it is home to around twenty million people.
Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia and has been a centre of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times. Today, Sri Lanka is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, with a fifth of the population following faiths other than Buddhism - notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population (around 80%), with Tamils, who are mostly concentrated in the north and east of the island, forming the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include the Muslim Moors and Malays as well as Burghers.
Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, rubber and coconuts, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage make it a world famous tourist destination.
After over two thousand years of rule by local kingdoms, parts of Sri Lanka were colonized by Portugal and the Netherlands beginning in the 16th century, before the control of the entire country was ceded to the British Empire in 1815. During World War II Sri Lanka served as an important base for Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese Empire. A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century, with the aim of obtaining political independence, which was eventually granted by the British after peaceful negotiations in 1948. Since then Sri Lanka has struggled in maintaining a liberal democracy and stunted economic progress due to the ongoing conflict between the Sri Lankan government and a separatist militant group known as the Tamil Tigers in the northeastern parts of the country.
At a glance
This map shows the Geologic - Tectonic map of the Himalaya, modified after Le Fort (1988).
Map credit: Pierre Dèzes 1999, "Tectonic and metamorphic Evolution of the Central Himalayan Domain in Southeast Zanskar (Kashmir, India)".
Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Urdu: محمد على جناح (help·info)) (December 25, 1876 – September 11, 1948) was an Indian Muslim politician and leader of the All India Muslim League who founded Pakistan and served as its first Governor-General. He is officially known in Pakistan as Quaid-e-Azam (Urdu: قائد اعظم — "Great Leader") and Baba-e-Qaum ("Father of the Nation.") His birth and death anniversaries are national holidays in Pakistan.
Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress expounding ideas of Hindu-Muslim unity and helping shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact with the Muslim League; he also became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League. Differences with Mohandas Gandhi led Jinnah to quit the Congress and take charge of the Muslim League. He proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims in a self-governing India. His proposals failed amid the League's disunity, driving a disillusioned Jinnah to live in London for many years.
Several Muslim leaders persuaded Jinnah to return to India in 1934 and re-organise the League. Tempered by the failure to build coalitions with the Congress, Jinnah embraced the goal of creating a separate state for Muslims as in the Lahore Resolution. The League won most Muslim seats in the elections of 1946, and Jinnah launched the Direct Action campaign of strikes and protests to achieve "Pakistan", which degenerated into communal violence across India. The failure of the Congress-League coalition to govern the country prompted both parties and the British to agree to partition. As Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah led efforts to rehabilitate millions of refugees, and to frame national policies on foreign affairs, security and economic development. (more...)
Wikipedia in South Asian Languages
, former English: Caubul
), is the capital
and largest city of Afghanistan
, with population of about 3 million people. It is an economic and cultural center, situated 5,900 feet (1,800 m) above-sea-level in a narrow valley, wedged between the Hindu Kush
mountains along the Kabul River
. Kabul is linked with Ghazni
and Mazari Sharif
via a long beltway (circular highway) that stretches across the country. It is also linked by highways with Pakistan
to the southeast and Tajikistan
to the north. Kabul's main products include munitions
, and beet sugar
, though, since 1978
, a state of nearly continuous war has limited the economic productivity of the city.
Kabul is over 3,000 years old. Many empires long fought over the city, due to its strategic location along the trade routes of Southern and Central Asia. In 1504, Babur captured Kabul and made the city his headquarters. Finally, in 1776, Timur Shah Durrani made it the capital of modern Afghanistan. The population of the city is multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, reflecting the diversity of the entire country.
Kabul was captured by the Taliban in September of 1996. Approximately five years later, in October 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban abandoned Kabul in the following months due to extensive American bombing, while the Afghan Northern Alliance (former mujahideen or millias) came to retake control of the city. On December 20, 2001, Kabul became the capital of the Afghan Transitional Administration, which transformed to the present government of Afghanistan that is led by US-backed President Hamid Karzai. Since the beginning of 2003, the city is slowly developing with the help of foreign investment. Security is also improving by the year, despite the occasional attacks on government forces.(more)
Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:31:22 -0800
Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhury for talks in Islamabad he described were held in a “constructive and positive atmosphere”, with a “determination to forge a cooperative relationship with ...
The Indian Express
The Indian Express
Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:30:00 -0800
S Jaishankar, Jaishankar Pakistan visit, Foreign Secretary in Pakistan, Narendra Modi Pak visit Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyan Jaishankar, left, poses for photographers, as he shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry at the ...
Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:30:00 -0800
From Sajjad Hussain Islamabad, Mar 3 (PTI) After a seven-month hiatus, India and Pakistan today renewed FS-level talks, with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar meeting with his counterpart Aizaz Chaudhary after arriving here as part of “SAARC yatra”.
Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:52:30 -0800
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) -- an economic and geopolitical grouping of eight countries located in South Asia -- includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka as its ...
Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:11:15 -0800
While Indian officials have taken care to downplay the visit's significance, calling it a “SAARC yatra not a Pak yatra”, it seems clear that the trip has been made with a special emphasis on Pakistan. The decision to re-engage with Pakistan, through ...
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 19:22:30 -0800
Thimphu: Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Sunday held talks with Bhutan's top leadership and called on King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck here as he began his 'SAARC Yatra' to firm up India's ties with members of the grouping while reviewing ...
Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:48:45 -0800
The SAARC Yatra to be undertaken by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar from March 1 is an opportunity for India to improve relations, resurrect stalled projects and create new synergies with its neighbourhood. An initiative like this could hold the key to ...
Mon, 02 Mar 2015 09:26:15 -0800
Jaishankar, who arrived in Dhaka on his 'SAARC Yatra' to firm up India's relations with members of the eight-nation grouping, called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and held talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart ...
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