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News: The 36th SAARC Charter Day is being observed on 8th December.This day marks the signing of the SAARC Charter in 1985 by the leaders of SAARC Countries at the First SAARC Summit held in Dhaka (Bangladesh).
- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation(SAARC): It is a regional intergovernmental organization of states in South Asia. It was established in 1985.
- Aim: To promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life, and to accelerate economic growth, among other things.
- Members: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- Secretariat: Kathmandu, Nepal.
Challenges Faced by SAARC:
- As per the World Bank report, with intra-regional trade at less than 5% of total trade, South Asia is the least integrated region in the world.
- The South Asia Free Trade Agreement(SAFTA) that came into force in 2006 is yet to be implemented in spirit.
- Pakistan’s non-cooperation has stalled some major initiatives under SAARC such as Motor Vehicle agreement among others.