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SAARC portal

edit 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
  • Transport*
  • 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)

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US-UK-Sangin2007.jpg

The War in Afghanistan (2001–present) began on October 7, 2001, and was in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States of America (U.S.). This marked the beginning of the Bush Administration's campaign known as the War on Terrorism. The stated purpose of the invasion was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime which had allegedly provided support and safe harbour to al-Qaeda.

The U.S. and the UK led the aerial bombing campaign, with ground forces supplied primarily by the Afghan Northern Alliance. In 2002, US and British infantry joined the attack. Later NATO troops were added. The U.S. military name of the conflict was Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

The war removed the Taliban from power for some time, but there has been a resurgence in Taliban forces. The war has been less successful in achieving the goal of restricting al-Qaeda's movement. Since the invasion, Afghanistan has become less stable due to increased warlord and Taliban activity, growing illegal drug production, and a fragile government with limited control outside of Kabul. (more...)

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Rabindranath Tagore
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The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, was commissioned by the 17th century Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, as a mausoleum for his Persian wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Built over a period of 23 years, it is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture, featuring the finest materials from all over India and Asia. Its gleaming facade is clad in white marble from Rajasthan and inlaid with 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones.

Photo credit: Sandeep Dhirad

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Flag of Pakistan
Emblem of Pakistan
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The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان, islāmī jamhūriya i pākistān), or Pakistan (Urdu: پاکستان, pākistān), is a country located in South Asia. Its strategic location at a crossroads of political and religious ideologies has kept it at the forefront of world events. Its culture and history have been enriched by the countless invaders, traders, and settlers who have been a part of the region’s past. The country borders India, Afghanistan, Iran (Persia), China and the Arabian Sea. With around 178 million inhabitants, it is the sixth most populous country, the second most populous Muslim-majority nation. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and the OIC.

The area of Pakistan has a long history of settlement and civilisation that includes some of the most ancient cultures. The region was invaded by Mongols, Greeks, Persians, Arabs, and Turks before being invaded by the British Raj in the Eighteenth century. Pakistan became independent on 14 August 1947 as one of two successor states to British India. (The other successor state was the Union of India, which became the Republic of India in 1950.) Following independence, Pakistan has seen repeated military coups, the loss of East Pakistan in 1971, widespread Islamic fundamentalism and significant military and economic growth, with the second-fastest growing economy amongst the ten most populous countries in the world in 2005 and the twenty-seventh largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. Pakistan has the seventh largest armed forces in the world and is one of eight declared nuclear weapons states.

At a glance
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Sri Lanka provinces

Sri Lanka is divided into 9 provinces. This labeled map collaboratively created by wikipedia editors and released to public domain shows these provinces.

Map credit: Rarelibra, Snowolfd4 and QuartierLatin1968

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Gandhara Buddha. 1st-2nd century. Musee Guimet, Paris

Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit; Pali: Siddhāttha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from ancient Nepal and the founder of Buddhism. He is universally recognized by Buddhists as the Supreme Buddha (Sammāsambuddha) of our age. The time of his birth and death are uncertain: a majority of 20th-century historians date his lifetime from circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE, but some more recent scholars have suggested dates around 410 or 400 BCE for his death. This alternative chronology, however, has not yet been accepted by other historians.

Gautama, also known as Shakyamuni (“sage of the Shakyas”, in Pali "śakamuṇi"), is the key figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules were summarized after his death and memorized by the sangha. Passed down by oral tradition, the Tripitaka, the collection of discourses attributed to Gautama, was committed to writing about 400 years later.

Siddhartha was born in Lumbini, Nepal. His father was King Suddhodana, the chief of the Shakya nation, one of several ancient tribes in the growing state of Kosala; Gautama was the family name. His mother, Queen Maha Maya (Māyādevī) and Suddhodana's wife, was a Koliyan princess. (more...)

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عربى (Arabic) • অসমিয়া (Assamese) • भोजपुरी (Bhojpuri) • বাংলা (Bengali) • ইমার ঠার/বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী (Bishnupriya Manipuri) • މަހަލް (Dhivehi) • ગુજરાતી (Gujarati) • हिन्दी (Hindi) • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada) • कॉशुर (Kashmiri) • മലയാളം (Malayalam) • मराठी (Marathi) • नेपाली (Nepali) • ଓଡ଼ିଆ (Oriya) • پښتو (Pashto) • فارسی (Persian) • ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Punjabi) • संस्कृत (Sanskrit) •Santali (Santali) • सिनधि (Sindhi) • தமிழ் (Tamil) • తెలుగు (Telugu) • اردو (Urdu) • සිංහල (Sinhala)

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Dhaka (previously Dacca; Bengali: ঢাকা Ḍhākā; [ɖʱaka]) is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka District. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, has a population of 11 million, making it the largest city in Bangladesh and one of the most populous in the world.

Under Mughal rule in the 17th century, the city was also known as Jahangir Nagar, and was both a provincial capital and a centre of the world-wide muslin trade. The modern city, however, was developed chiefly under British rule in the 19th century, and soon became the second-largest city in Bengal after Calcutta. With the partition of India in 1947, Dhaka became the administrative capital of East Pakistan, and later, in 1972, the capital of an independent Bangladesh. During the intervening period, the city witnessed widespread turmoil; this included many impositions of martial law, the declaration of Bangladesh's independence, military suppression, devastation during war, and natural calamities.

Modern Dhaka is the centre of political, cultural and economic life in Bangladesh. It has both the highest literacy rate and the most diverse economy amongst Bangladeshi cities. Although its urban infrastructure is the most developed in the country, it nonetheless faces challenges such as pollution, congestion, supply shortages, poverty and crime. In recent decades, Dhaka has seen modernisation of transport, communications and public works. The city is attracting considerable foreign investment and greater volumes of commerce and trade. It is also experiencing an increasing influx of people from across the nation. (more)

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Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:SAARC — Please support Wikipedia.
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