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18th SAARC Summit
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The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and geopolitical organisation of eight countries that are primarily located in South Asia. The SAARC Secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The combined economy of SAARC is 3rd largest in the world in the terms of GDP (PPP) after the United States and China and 8th largest in the terms of GDP (Nominal).
The idea of regional political and economical cooperation in South Asia was first raised in 1980 and the first summit was held in Dhaka on 8 December 1985, when the organisation was established by the governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Since then the organisation has expanded by accepting one new full member, Afghanistan, and several observer members.
The SAARC policies aim to promote welfare economics, collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia, and to accelerate socio-cultural development in the region. The SAARC has developed external relations by establishing diplomatic relations with the EU, the UN (as an observer), and other multilateral entities. The official summit of member nations is held biennially while the foreign ministers meet twice annually. 
Arjun Bahadur Thapa of Nepal is current Secretary General of the SAARC.
The 17th SAARC Summit was held in Addu City in Maldives in 2011.
The central theme of the 18th SAARC Summit is 'Connectivity For Shared Prosperity'.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa proposed Connectivity as the central agenda of SAARC in a meeting with SAARC Secretary-General Arjun Bahadur Thapa in Colombo, Sri Lanka.


States with observer status include Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea and the United States. 




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Last modified: November 25, 2014.

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