South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
SAARC is the acronym for an intergovernmental organisation of south Asian countries. It is a geopolitical body comprising of 8 members. It stands for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It was established in Dhaka on 8 December 1985 and is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. Its members include India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. There are 9 observers and they are: Australia, Myanmar, China, Iran, European Union, Japan, Mauritius, South Korea and the USA. Its current Secretary-General is Pakistan’s Amjad B Hussain.
SAARC promotes regional and economic integration. In 2006, it launched the South Asian Free Trade Area. It has observer status with the United Nations and has links with several multilateral groupings including the European Union. Initially composed of seven states, Afghanistan joined SAARC in 2007.