SAARC Summit – Building Bridges
Maldives Promotion House – The 17th South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit began today in Addu City, Maldives, attended by the heads of states and governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The summit of the regional countries will also be attended by the representatives from the Observer States, Australia, China, European Union, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Mauritius, Myanmar and Japan.
Foreign Ministers and Foreign Secretaries of the member states met on Wednesday to finalize the agenda and program for the Summit. The Maldivian government has made extensive arrangements for this Summit. The Leaders at the end of their two day summit are expected to adopt a declaration titled; Building Bridges which will focus on issues ranging from physical connectivity in the region to trade, economic, financial and environmental cooperation. In addition, the Secretariat of SAARC Development Fund will also be inaugurated at the Summit.
Out of the last 16 summits of this organization which was founded at Dhaka in 1985, Maldives has played host a total of three times. Maldives hosted the summit in 1990 and 1997 in the capital Malé and while year’s summit will be held in the city of Addu. This will also be the first SAARC summit to be held in the southern hemisphere.
SAARC was established when its Charter was formally adopted on 8th December 1985. SAARC is a manifestation of the determination of the people of the South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust and understanding and to create an order, based on mutual respect, equity and shared benefits.
The first summit was held December 1985 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the second was held in November 1986 in Bangalore, India. The third summit was held in November 1987 in Kathmandu, Nepal, while the 4th was held in December 1988 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The 5th summit was held in November 1990 in Malé, Maldives, and 6th was held in December 1991 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The 7th summit was held in April 1993 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the 8th was held in May 1995 in New Delhi, India. The 9th summit was held on 14 May 1997 in Malé, Maldives, once again and the 10th was held in July 1998 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The 11th was held in January 2002 in Kathmandu, Nepal, 12th was held in January 2004 in Islamabad, Pakistan, 13th was held in November 2005 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 14th was held in April 2007 in New Delhi, India, 15th was held in August 2008 in Colombo, Sri Lanka and the last and the 16th SAARC Summit was held in Thimphu, Bhutan on 28-29 April 2010.