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The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established on December 8, 1985 to organize and unite

the governments of of its seven original members: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka to promote mutual progress and development. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was founded as a movement toward collective progress for the involved nations of South Asia. The organization promoted political cooperation between these strategic nations for the mutual progression of the countries socially, economically, and culturally. There were seven original members of the SAARC: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan later joined the SAARC in 2007 bringing the total number of members up to eight. There are also nine observer states: Australia, China, the European Union, Japan, Iran, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, and the United States. The idea for the SAARC was proposed on May 2, 1980 by Ziaur Rahman, then president of Bangladesh. The founding countries met for the first time in April 1981, and then in 1985, they created the SAARC Charter. They sought peace, stability, amity, and progress including improving quality of life for all involved nations.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an organisation of South Asian nations, which was established on 8 December 1985 when the government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka formally adopted its charter providing for the promotion of economic and social progress, cultural development within the South Asia region and also for friendship and cooperation with other developing countries. It is dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasising collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Sri Lanka, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Afghanistan joined the organisation in 2007. Meetings of heads of state are usually scheduled annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, twice annually. It is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. DESIGNATED SAARC YEARS SAARC Year of Combating Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1999 2002-2003 2004 2006 SAARC SAARC SAARC SAARC SAARC SAARC SAARC SAARC SAARC SAARC SAARC South Year of Girl Child Year of Shelter Year of Environment Year of Disabled Persons Year of the Youth Year of Poverty Eradication Year of Literacy Year of Participatory Governance Year of Biodiversity Year of Contribution of Youth to Environment Awareness Year for TB and HIV/AIDS Asia Tourism Year

SAARC DECADES: SAARC Decade of the Girl Child 1991-2000 2001-2010 SAARC Decade of the Rights of the Child

Addu Island (Maldives), Nov 8 (ANI): The two-day SAARC summitbegins here on November 10 against this backdrop of 'building bridges', which is the central theme of the 17th SAARC summit. The theme has been selected as a visionary thought to link past, present and future of SAARC without undermining the achievements of 26 years of building SAARC.

The XVII SAARC Summit takes place in Addu City, in the southernatolls of the Maldives, situated in the Southern Hemisphere. This is the third time that Maldives is hosting a SAARC Summit; it did so previously in 1997 (Ninth Summit) and 1990 (Fifth Summit). The summit covers both the direct implication of connectivity between the SAARC Member States, and also the conceptual connotations of connecting peoples of the SAARC region in all facets, including social, economic, cultural, developmental aspects. This harmonizes with the observance of the current decade as the "SAARC Decade of Intra-Regional Connectivity". The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was created in 1985 in Dhaka with seven members, as an expression of the region's collective decision to evolve a regional cooperative framework. With Afghanistan joining the association in 2007, there are now eight member countries in SAARC namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh leaves for Maldives on Wednesday morning to attend the summit. The two-day summit is also expected to stress the need to have people-to-people contact in the region as one fifth of the world population lives in the SAARC region. Presently, there are eight member countries in SAARC namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It also has nine Observers, namely China, EU, Iran, Republic of Korea, Australia, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar and USA. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

The 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit kicked off on 10th of November in Addu city of Maldives with the theme of "Building Bridges - both in terms of physical connectivity and figurative political dialogue" H.E. Mohamed Nasheed was elected as the Chairperson of the 17th SAARC Summit. In his inaugural address President Nasheed highlighted three areas of cooperation in which progress should be made; trade, transport and economic integration; security issues such piracy and climate change; and good governance. Economic stagnation in one member nation causes insecurity in another. We must integrate economically and create a political environment that creates security. There are many reasons to be positive Afghanistan remains stable and as a region we must assist them, said Nasheed President of Maldives. The Head of States of all the SAARC Member States addressed the Meeting. The inaugural meeting was attended by Foreign/External Ministers of SAARC Member States, the Secretary General of SAARC, the Heads of Observer Delegation, Cabinet Ministers of the Maldives, Ministers in the visiting delegations and other state dignitaries. In her address Secretary General stated that the Summit being held under the theme of Building Bridges provides further impetus and momentum to build the many bridges that needs to be built: from bridging the gaps created by uneven economic development and income distribution, the gaps in recognizing and respecting the equality of men and women, the closing of space

between intent and implementation. The summit recognized the importance of bridging differences, creating better understanding and promoting amity and mutually beneficial and comprehensive cooperation in order to promote effective linkages and connectivity for greater movement of people, enhanced investment and trade in the region; The summit proceeded with recognizing that the full enjoyment of fundamental rights by women and girls is an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights and that genderbased violence and discriminatory practices constitute a violation of fundamental rights; SAARC member countries have agreed to direct the SAFTA (South Asia Free Trade Agreement) Ministerial Council to intensify efforts to reduce the sensitive list as well as reduce non-tariff barriers to trade and expedite the process of harmonizing standards and customs procedures. The SAARC Summit concluded on Friday 11th November with the adoption of Addu Declaration. The declaration, jointly adopted by the eight SAARC member countries, reaffirms their commitment to peace, confidence building, liberty, human dignity, democracy, mutual respect, good governance and human rights. The declaration reviews their commitment to alleviate poverty and reduce income inequalities within the societies and reaffirms their resolve to improve quality of life and well-being of their people through people-centered sustainable development. The Seventeenth Summit November 11, 2011

The Seventeenth Summit was held from 10-11 of November 2011 in Addu City, Maldives. The Meeting, which was held at the Equatorial Convention Centre, Addu City was opened by the outgoing Chair of SAARC, Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Bhutan, H.E.Lyonchhen Jigmi Yoezer Thinley. H.E. Mohamed Nasheed was elected as the Chairperson of the 17 SAARC Summit. In his inaugural address President Nasheed highlighted three areas of cooperation in which progress should be made; trade, transport and economic integration; security issues such piracy and climate change; and good governance. President also called on the Member States to establish a commission to address issues of gender inequalities in South Asia.
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The Head of States of all the SAARC Member States addressed the Meeting. The inaugural meeting was attended by Foreign/External Ministers of SAARC Member States, the Secretary General of SAARC, the Heads of Observer Delegation, Cabinet Ministers of the Maldives, Ministers in the visiting delegations and other state dignitaries.

In her address Secretary General stated that the Summit being held under the theme of Building Bridges provides further impetus and momentum to build the many bridges that needs to be built: from bridging the gaps created by uneven economic development and income distribution, the gaps in recognizing and respecting the equality of men and women, the closing of space between intent and implementation. In this Meeting, the Foreign Ministers of the respective Member States signed four agreements;

1. 2. 3. 4.

SAARC Agreement on Rapid Response to Natural Disasters SAARC Agreement on Multilateral Arrangement on Recognition of Conformity Assessment SAARC Agreement on Implementation of Regional Standards SAARC Seed Bank Agreement

In addition, the Addu Declaration of the Seventeenth SAARC Summit was also adopted.

NAM The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a group of states which are not formally aligned with or against any [1] major power bloc. As of 2012, the movement has 120 members and 17 observer countries. The organization was founded in Belgrade in 1961, and was largely conceived by Yugoslavia's president, Josip Broz Tito; Indonesia's first president,Sukarno; Egypt's second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser; Ghana's first president Kwame Nkrumah; and India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. All five leaders were prominent advocates of a middle course for states in the Developing World between the Western and Eastern blocs in the Cold War. The phrase itself was first used to represent the doctrine by Indian diplomat and [3] statesman Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon in 1953, at the United Nations.

The Non-Aligned Movement is a Movement of 115 members representing the interests and priorities of developing countries. The Movement has its origin in the Asia-Africa Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. The meeting was convened upon the invitation of the Prime Ministers of Burma, Ceylon, India, Indonesia and Pakistan and brought together leaders of 29 states, mostly former colonies, from the two continents of Africa and Asia, to discuss common concerns and to develop joint policies in international relations. Prime Minister Nehru, the acknowledged senior statesman, along with Prime Ministers Soekarno and Nasser, led the conference. At the meeting Third World leaders shared their similar problems of resisting the pressures of the major powers, maintaining their independence and opposing colonialism and neo-colonialism, specially western domination. Relevance Non Alignment Movement (NAM) has been described as the largest politically-oriented body in the world. Today, NAM has redefined itself as a movement for countries that are not aligned with any major powers. Gradually NAM is becoming increasingly vocal about resisting the hegemony of the sole superpower, the US, and is asserting the independence of its members from the dominance of the West. NAM was an influential force in world politics during the Cold War period. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the significance of the movement diluted to a certain extent. A book on The Soviet Union and the Strategy of Non-Alignment in the Third World by Roy Allison mentioned that the official Soviet encouragement for the policy of non-alignment and Soviet support for the program of the Non-Aligned Movement in the 1960s and 1970s have been a part of a broad Soviet strategy aimed at weakening and ultimately supplanting Western military and political ties with the Third World Countries. He argued in his book that during that period the Soviet officials have been reluctant to view neutrality, neutralism or non-alignment as concepts or policies which denote an intermediate status between the blocs. Today, most of NAM members are UN members as well and issues explored by NAM have been and are on the UN agenda too. The NAM, with 120 countries as its full members and 17 observer members, includes many countries and governments of the world. This is a group whose voices cannot be ignored. India as the founder member of the Non Alignment Movement tries to engage proactively on number of issues significant to the Movement. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, was one among the five leaders who initiated this movement. During last two-day Summit in Tehran Indias Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has lead the Indian delegation. Amidst Western efforts to isolate Iran over its nuclear program, the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement took place in Tehran. Syrian crisis and Palestine statehood dominated among the Summit agenda issues. The Summit opened in Tehran with Iran assuming the Chair from Egypt for the next three years period. For Iran the last NAM summit was of grave significance. Many NAM members appear to agree on Tehrans argument that it is pursuing peaceful nuclear energy, as permitted under the NPT (Non-proliferation Treaty). Iran is already a nuclear powered state, with its first reactor started its operation in Busher, in 2011. Many suspects Iranian nuclear weapons ambitions, but at the same time, are not willing to accept Western double standard that

sanctions Iran while ignoring Israels nuclear program. Iran showed last NAM Summit as evidence that despite the best efforts by the United States and the West it has not been isolated diplomatically. The Summit had sessions which devoted to topics ranging from nuclear disarmament to UN reform, sustainable development, human rights, and opposition to unilateral sanctions. Both the United States and Israel have criticized the decision by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to attend Tehrans summit, arguing that his presence would increase the propaganda of the Iranian regime and reduce the perception of Irans diplomatic isolation. However, if Ban Ki-moon would have declined to attend the Summit, he would have reinforced widespread perceptions that he is a tool of the West. But in choosing to attend, Ban Kimoon showed his obligation to hold the Iranian government to account for its behavior, by pointedly condemning Irans atrocious human rights record and its failure to cooperate with the IAEA and come clean about its clandestine nuclear weapons program. Though the UN Secretary-Generals presence in the NAM summit has caused uneasy rumbles, but Ban Ki-moon's decision to attend the sixteenth summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran followed the precedent set by his predecessors and reaffirmed the interlinked relationship between the UN and NAM. By attending the Summit he also confirmed the universality of the Secretary-General's role, and its independence from bilateral disputes. Ban-Ki moon showed that by attending NAM summit he took seriously his responsibility and that of the UN to pursue diplomatic engagement with all member states for peacefully addressing vital matters of international security.While US has asked countries and few leaders not to attend the NAM Summit due to its venue, Iran has projected the presence of world's leaders as a big diplomatic win and this also showed Irans good ties with many countries of the world. West downplayed the significance of such a large gathering in Iran. They have not perceived NAM as an ideological forum for discussing international issues. Nonetheless, the summit became more significant than West predicted. Now NAM has showed that it has potential of becoming significant group moving away from West. Even Russia and Chinas representatives attended the Summit. China has the status of observers in the NAM and Russia which was not been part of the NAM, has been invited as Irans special guests and was represented by Konstantin Shuvalov as envoy of Russias President. Russias President Vladimir Putin has sent warm greetings to the nonaligned summit in Tehran vowing to step-up cooperation with the movement. Mr. Putin also mentioned that Russia is ready to cooperate with the Nonaligned Movement in the interests of peace and prosperity. Of course, the West will continue to ignore and play down the growth of this movement, like they did with the last Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit which took place in Beijing, China, from June 6-7, 2012. During NAM summit proposals were made for expansion of commerce and trade between member states. However, till date it did not provide much economic or social benefit to the member states. NAM needs to be better equipped to take on economic and social challenges too along with the political issues & concerns. Though it is clear that today NAM has gained its relevance and there is no question that Iran would try to make NAM more relevant during its tenure as the Chair of the movement. Last NAM Summit has provided Iran important diplomatic support in its nuclear dispute with the Atlanticists. Iran has increased its negotiation powers with NAM countries after the Summit. NAM still holds high symbolic significance. Of course, NAM is also facing challenges while having its own weaknesses. NAM has its own strengths and their importance should not be downplayed. The movement puts the emphasis on the principle of cooperation among nations and continues its support for maintaining peace. It encourages disarmament, insists on the nations right to self-determination, emphasizes on the need for structural changes in the United Nations, especially the Security Council, in order to encourage optimal participation of the international community in international processes related to the fate of humanity, insists on the adoption and implementation of multilateral policies as well as focuses strongly on unanimity on issues such as human rights and cultural pluralism.

In the contemporary international circumstances non-alignment or to put it more precisely its role and usefulness in general has become a highly controversial issue, certainly more so than earlier. Thus, the movement is passing through a critical period in its life. It finds itself today at the crossroad and seems to be finding it difficult to comprehend the path it has to rake. It is trying to find its identity, reorient its perception and endeavor to determine the role it has to play in the changed context of international relations. This has resulted in a heated debate about the validity and contemporary relevance of NAM and non-alignment as foreign policy behavior in this post cold war unipolar world