Mr. Mani Prasad Bhattarai (Division Chief)
SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION (SAARC)
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established on 8 December 1985 by seven countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as its original members. After the inclusion of Afghanistan at the 13th summit held at Dhaka in 2006, there are now eight members.
The principles of SAARC are as follows:
- Cooperation within the framework of the Association shall be based on respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states and mutual benefit.
- Such cooperation shall not be a substitute for bilateral and multilateral cooperation but shall complement them.
- Such cooperation shall not be inconsistent with bilateral and multilateral obligations.
BAY OF BENGAL INITIATIVE FOR MULTI-SECTORAL TECHNICAL AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION (BIMSTEC)
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was established as an interregional grouping in June 1997 with the Bangkok Declaration to promote free trade within the region, increase cross-border investment and tourism and to promote technical cooperation. It comprises seven countries of South Asia and South East Asia. They are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. BIMSTEC, thus, can be seen as a unique link between ASEAN and SAARC.
Initially, the economic bloc was formed with four Member States with the acronym 'BIST-EC' (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). Following the inclusion of Myanmar on 22 December 1997 it was renamed as BIMSTEC. After Nepal and Bhutan joined the organization in 2004, the full name of the grouping was changed to 'Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation' while the acronym remained the same.
ASIA COOPERATION DIALOGUE (ACD)
Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) is a continent-wide forum established in June 2002 with the special initiation of Thailand. It aims to constitute the missing link in Asia by incorporating every Asian country and building an Asian Community without duplicating other international organizations or creating a bloc against others. The key principle is to consolidate Asian strengths and fortify Asia's competitiveness by maximizing the diversity and rich resources evident in the continent.
Since its inception, the ACD has rapidly developed in two dimensions, namely; dialogue and projects.
Dialogue:ACD Ministers meet annually at the Ministerial Meeting to discuss development, issues of regional cooperation and ways to enhance and solidify Asian unity.
SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (SCO)
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization established on 15 June 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to strengthen mutual confidence and good neighborly relations and to promote effective cooperation in politics, trade and economy, science and technology, energy, among others. It also aims at making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region and moving towards the establishment of a new, democratic, just and rational political and economic international order.
It was originally formed as a confidence-building forum to demilitarize borders, but the organization's goals and agenda have since broadened to include increased military and counter terrorism cooperation, intelligence sharing and regional economic initiatives.