Explained: What is SAARC Summit, why is it important for India?

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The 18th South Asian Association for Regional Corporation (SAARC) Summit began today in Kathmandu, Nepal. Head of States arrived here to attend the Summit including Narendra Modi.

SAARC is an organisation that aims at promoting economics, self reliance among the South Asian countries and also to develop the socio-cultural background in the region.

Also read: 18th Saarc Summit begins in Kathmandu today

SAARC Summit: All you need to know


  • The idea of regional cooperation among the South Asian countries first came about in the year 1980 and SAARC was first established on Dec 8, 1985 after the Head of States of Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan,Nepal approved of the Charter.
  • Afghanistan joined the SAARC at the 14th SAARC Summit which was held in Delhi in 2007.
  • Countries like China, Japan, Republic of Korea, USA, Iran, Mauritius, Australia, Myanmar and the European Union joined the SAARC as observers.


  • SAARC aims at promoting regional growth in the South Asian countries and also to promote the socio-cultural background in the countries.
  • It aims to work collectively on issues like telecommunication, technology, trade, tourism, climate change and more.
  • Member countries work closely to fecilitate cooperation among themselves at international forums specially on matters that are of common interests.


  • SAARC Summits are to be held annually however there have been times when the SAARC has not held a Summit in a year.
  • The last SAARC Summit was held in Maldives in 2011.
  • The 18th and current SAARC Summit is being held in Kathmandu, Nepal.

SAARC Secretariat

  • SAARC Secreatariat is based in Kathmandu and monitors the activities and its implementation in the organisation. It also acts as a channel between SAARC and its member states.

18th SAARC Summit

  • The on-going SAARC Summit will see four heads of the State who will be attending the Summit for the first time.
  • India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshreing Tobgay and President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom will be attending the SAARC Summit for the first time.
  • This year the SAARC Summit is fixed on 'Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity.'

Why 18th SAARC Summit is important for India

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be attending the SAARC Summit for the first time, is likely to talk tough on terrorism in the presence of Pak PM Nawaz Sharif. Earlier there were reports that Modi and Sharif may meet on the sidelines of the Summit.
  • Meanwhile, Modi's presence at the Summit itself is a boost to the bilateral ties between SAARC members and India including that of Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 
  • Narendra Modi and Sushil Koirala on Tuesday signed ten important pacts, which would further boost the bilateral ties between India and Nepal.

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