Portal:SAARC

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edit The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. In terms of population, its sphere of influence is the largest of any regional organization: almost 1.5 billion people, the combined population of its member states. In 1980, Bangladesh President Ziaur Rahman proposed the creation of a trade bloc consisting of South Asian countries. The Bangladeshi proposal was accepted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during a meeting held in Colombo in 1981. In August 1983, the leaders adopted the Declaration on South Asian Regional Cooperation during a summit which was held in New Delhi. The seven South Asian countries, which also included Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan, agreed on five areas of cooperation:

  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Meteorology
  • Health and Population Activities
  • Transport*
  • Human Resource Development

Afghanistan was added to the regional grouping at the behest of India on November 13, 2005, With the addition of Afghanistan, the total number of member states were raised to eight (8). The People's Republic of China, the European Union, the United States of America, South Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Australia, and Mauritius are observers to SAARC. (more)

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Indian tanks on the move during the 1965 Indo-Pak War

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, also known as the Second Kashmir War, was the culmination of a series of skirmishes that occurred between April 1965 and September 1965 between India and Pakistan. The war was the second fought between India and Pakistan over the region of Kashmir, the first having been fought in 1947. The war lasted five weeks, resulted in thousands of casualties on both sides and ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated ceasefire. It is generally accepted that the war began following the failure of Pakistan's "Operation Gibraltar" which was designed to infiltrate and invade Jammu and Kashmir.

Much of the war was fought by the countries' land forces in the region of Kashmir and along the International Border (IB) between India and Pakistan. The war also involved a limited participation from the countries' respective air forces. This war saw the largest amassing of troops in Kashmir, a number that was overshadowed only during the 2001-2002 military standoff between India and Pakistan. Many details of this war, like those of most Indo-Pakistani Wars, remain unclear and riddled with media biases. (more...)

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Gautama Buddha
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Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar in the Khumbu region of Nepal close to Mount Everest. The town is built on terraces in what resembles a giant Greek amphitheatre.
Photo credit: Kogo
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K2

  • ...that five mountains in Pakistan are more than 8,000 meters high, including K2 which is the second highest mountain in the world ?
  • ...that Nepal receives US$50 million a year through the Gurkha soldiers who serve in the Indian and British armies and are highly esteemed for their skill and bravery?
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Flag of Sri Lanka

Emblem of Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (Sinhalese: Sri Lanka Sinhala.jpg, Tamil: இலங்கை; known as Ceylon before 1972) is an island nation in South Asia, located about 31 kilometers (18½ mi) off the southern coast of India. Originally known as Heladiva, it is home to around twenty million people.

Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia and has been a centre of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times. Today, Sri Lanka is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, with a fifth of the population following faiths other than Buddhism - notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population (around 80%), with Tamils, who are mostly concentrated in the north and east of the island, forming the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include the Muslim Moors and Malays as well as Burghers.

Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, rubber and coconuts, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage make it a world famous tourist destination.

After over two thousand years of rule by local kingdoms, parts of Sri Lanka were colonized by Portugal and the Netherlands beginning in the 16th century, before the control of the entire country was ceded to the British Empire in 1815. During World War II Sri Lanka served as an important base for Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese Empire. A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century, with the aim of obtaining political independence, which was eventually granted by the British after peaceful negotiations in 1948. Since then Sri Lanka has struggled in maintaining a liberal democracy and stunted economic progress due to the ongoing conflict between the Sri Lankan government and a separatist militant group known as the Tamil Tigers in the northeastern parts of the country.

At a glance
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Roadway map of India

The National Highways of India provide a means of long-distance travel and movement of freight. Majority of the 227 national highways are two-laned (one in each direction), and constitute a total of about 58,000 km, of which 4,885 km are median-separated express highways. This roadway map of India provides extensive details of the national highways in India.

Map credit: Planemad

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Emperor Babur from a Mogul Miniature Painting

Zāhir ud-Dīn Mohammad, commonly known as Bābur (February 14, 1483 – December 26, 1530) (Chaghatay/Persian: ﻇﻬﻴﺮ ﺍﻟﺪﻳﻦ محمد بابر‎‎; also spelled Zahiruddin, Zahiriddin, Muhammad, Bobur, Baber, Babar, etc.), was a Muslim Emperor from Central Asia who founded the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur, and believed himself to be a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother. Following a series of set-backs he succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal Empire.

The Mughal Empire was an important imperial power in the Indian Subcontinent from the early sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. At the height of its power, around 1700, it controlled most of the subcontinent and parts of what is now Afghanistan. Its population at that time has been estimated as between 100 and 150 million, over a territory of over 3 million square km. Following 1720 it declined rapidly. Its decline has been variously explained as caused by wars of succession, agrarian crises fueling local revolts, the growth of religious intolerance and British colonialism. The last Emperor, whose rule was restricted to the city of Delhi, was imprisoned and exiled by the British after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. (more...)

Wikipedia in South Asian Languages

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عربى (Arabic) • অসমিয়া (Assamese) • भोजपुरी (Bhojpuri) • বাংলা (Bengali) • ইমার ঠার/বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী (Bishnupriya Manipuri) • މަހަލް (Dhivehi) • ગુજરાતી (Gujarati) • हिन्दी (Hindi) • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada) • کٲشُر (Kashmiri) • मैथिली (Maithili) • മലയാളം (Malayalam) • मराठी (Marathi) • नेपाली (Nepali) • ଓଡ଼ିଆ (Odia) • پښتو (Pashto) • فارسی (Persian) • ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Punjabi) • संस्कृत (Sanskrit) • سنڌي (Sindhi) • සිංහල (Sinhala) • தமிழ் (Tamil) • తెలుగు (Telugu) • پنجابی (Western Punjabi) • اردو (Urdu)

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Dhaka (previously Dacca; Bengali: ঢাকা Ḍhākā; [ɖʱaka]) is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka District. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, has a population of 11 million, making it the largest city in Bangladesh and one of the most populous in the world.

Under Mughal rule in the 17th century, the city was also known as Jahangir Nagar, and was both a provincial capital and a centre of the world-wide muslin trade. The modern city, however, was developed chiefly under British rule in the 19th century, and soon became the second-largest city in Bengal after Calcutta. With the partition of India in 1947, Dhaka became the administrative capital of East Pakistan, and later, in 1972, the capital of an independent Bangladesh. During the intervening period, the city witnessed widespread turmoil; this included many impositions of martial law, the declaration of Bangladesh's independence, military suppression, devastation during war, and natural calamities.

Modern Dhaka is the centre of political, cultural and economic life in Bangladesh. It has both the highest literacy rate and the most diverse economy amongst Bangladeshi cities. Although its urban infrastructure is the most developed in the country, it nonetheless faces challenges such as pollution, congestion, supply shortages, poverty and crime. In recent decades, Dhaka has seen modernisation of transport, communications and public works. The city is attracting considerable foreign investment and greater volumes of commerce and trade. It is also experiencing an increasing influx of people from across the nation. (more)

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