The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an international organization comprised of the eight countries in South Asia. This work aims examine the institutional structure, objectives and effectiveness of the SAARC in its role as South Asia’s leading regional institution.
Drawing on original research it offers a fresh and accessible account of SAARC, arguing that South Asia forms a unique regional security complex that enables certain forms of regional cooperation and bars cooperation on other issue areas.
The text provides a comprehensive introduction to the SAARC, describing the historical developments that lead to its formation and examining key issues such as:
- The inner workings of Regional Centres and, their success in implementing the decisions reached at SAARC summits.
- How SAARC has sought to address critical new security challenges, such as health pandemics, terrorism, energy security
- South Asia’s economic cooperation and the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA)
- Challenges that expansion pose to the organization, particularly China’s suggestion to expand beyond the traditional borders of South Asia
The work aims to evaluate what scope there is for formal institutions like SAARC to provide a permanent regional security architecture within which South Asian countries can effectively address important issues, and will be of great interest to all students and scholars of Asian security studies and institutions in general and students and scholars of international relations in South Asia in particular.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. The Formation of SAARC 3. The Structure and Objectives of SAARC 4. Structure and Functions of SAARC Regional Centres 5. South Asia’s Economic Cooperation and the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) 6. SAARC and New Security Challenges in South Asia 7. SAARC and its Observer States 8. Conclusion
Lawrence Sáez is Senior Lecturer in Comparative and International Politics in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) where he is also Director of the Center of South Asian Studies.