Portal:SAARC

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SAARC portal

South Asia or Southern Asia, is a term used to represent the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan SAARC countries and, for some authorities, adjoining countries to the west and east. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian Plate, which rises above sea level as Nepal and northern parts of India situated south of the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. South Asia is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean and on land (clockwise, from west) by West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

South Asia covers about 5.2 million km2 (2 million mi2), which is 11.71% of the Asian continent or 3.5% of the world's land surface area. The population of South Asia is about 1.891 billion or about one fourth of the world's population, making it both the most populous and the most densely populated geographical region in the world. Overall, it accounts for about 39.49% of Asia's population, over 24% of the world's population, and is home to a vast array of people.

In 2010, South Asia had the world's largest population of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. It also has the largest population of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as over 35 million Christians and 25 million Buddhists.


South Asia (excluding internal borders) (orthographic projection).svg
  Member states   Observer states
  Member states
  Observer states
Headquarters Kathmandu
Official languages English
Demonym South Asian
Member states
Leaders
Pakistan Amjad B. Hussain
Establishment 8 December 1985
Area
• Total
5,099,611 km2 (1,968,971 sq mi) (7th)
• Water (%)
6.8
Population
• 2015 estimate
1,713,870,000 (1st)
• Density
336.1/km2 (870.5/sq mi)
GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate
• Total
US$11.64 trillion (3rd)
GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate
• Total
US$ 3.31 trillion (5th)
Currency
Time zone UTC+4:30 to +6
Calling code
Internet TLD .asia
Website
www.saarc-sec.org

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2015.

SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union.


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Selected Article

The economy of India is a developing mixed economy. It is the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). The country ranks 139th in per capita GDP (nominal) with $2,134 and 122nd in per capita GDP (PPP) with $7,783 as of 2018. After the 1991 economic liberalisation, India achieved 6-7% average GDP growth annually. In FY 2015 and 2018 India's economy became the world's fastest growing major economy, surpassing China.

The long-term growth prospective of the Indian economy is positive due to its young population, corresponding low dependency ratio, healthy savings and investment rates, and increasing integration into the global economy. India topped the World Bank's growth outlook for the first time in fiscal year 2015–16, during which the economy grew 7.6%. Despite previous reforms, economic growth is still significantly slowed by bureaucracy, poor infrastructure, and inflexible labor laws (especially the inability to lay off workers in a business slowdown).

India has one of the fastest growing service sectors in the world with an annual growth rate above 9% since 2001, which contributed to 57% of GDP in 2012–13. India has become a major exporter of IT services, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services, and software services with $154 billion revenue in FY 2017. This is the fastest-growing part of the economy. The IT industry continues to be the largest private-sector employer in India. India is the third-largest start-up hub in the world with over 3,100 technology start-ups in 2014–15. The agricultural sector is the largest employer in India's economy but contributes to a declining share of its GDP (17% in 2013–14). India ranks second worldwide in farm output. The industry (manufacturing) sector has held a steady share of its economic contribution (26% of GDP in 2013–14). The Indian automobile industry is one of the largest in the world with an annual production of 21.48 million vehicles (mostly two and three-wheelers) in 2013–14. India had $600 billion worth of retail market in 2015 and one of world's fastest growing e-commerce markets. (More...)

Selected Quotation

Rabindranath Tagore

Selected image

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, was commissioned by the 17th century Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, as a mausoleum for his Persian wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Built over a period of 23 years, it is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture, featuring the finest materials from all over India and Asia. Its gleaming facade is clad in white marble from Rajasthan and inlaid with 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones.

Photo credit: Sandeep Dhirad

South Asia News

19 September 2018 – Panama Papers case
Islamabad High Court suspends the NAB accountability court sentences and orders the release of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar Awan. However, the convictions remain standing. (Al-Jazeera)
17 September 2018 – War in Afghanistan
The Taliban launches multiple attacks on security checkpoints in Afghanistan, killing at least 27 members of the security forces. Twenty-two Taliban members are also killed and 16 others are injured. (news.com.au)
16 September 2018 – British space programme
The first of a series of British satellites, known as NovaSAR, is launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India. The Surrey Satellite Technology satellite is designed to monitor suspicious shipping activity. (BBC)
12 September 2018 – War in Afghanistan
The death toll from yesterday's suicide attack on protesters in eastern Afghanistan rises to 68. (Al Jazeera)
9 September 2018 – War in Afghanistan
Dozens of people are killed in four separate attacks by the Taliban. An army base is destroyed in Baghlan Province. (The New York Times)
7 September 2018 – War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis makes an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, to attempt to discuss peace with the Taliban, which has declined such talks with the Afghan government. (UPI)

Selected Member Country



Flag of Sri Lanka

Emblem of Sri Lanka
Location on the world map

Sri Lanka (UK: /sri ˈlæŋkə, ʃr -/, US: /- ˈlɑːŋkə/ (About this sound listen); Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකා Śrī Laṃkā; Tamil: இலங்கை Ilaṅkai), officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. It is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.

Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years. It has a rich cultural heritage and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, date back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BC. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to the modern Maritime Silk Road.

Sri Lanka was known from the beginning of British colonial rule as Ceylon (/sɪˈlɒn/, US also /s-/). A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century to obtain political independence, which was granted in 1948; the country became a republic and adopted its current name in 1972. Sri Lanka's recent history has been marred by a 30-year civil war, which decisively ended when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009.

The current constitution stipulates the political system as a republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system. It has had a long history of international engagement, as a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Along with the Maldives, Sri Lanka is one of only two South Asian countries rated "high" on the Human Development Index (HDI), with its HDI rating and per capita income the highest among South Asian nations. Sri Lankan constitution accords Buddhism the "foremost place", although it does not identify it as a state religion. Buddhism is given special privileges in the Sri Lankan constitution.

The island is home to many cultures, languages and ethnicities. The majority of the population is from the Sinhalese ethnicity, while a large minority of Tamils have also played an influential role in the island's history. Moors, Burghers, Malays, Chinese, and the aboriginal Vedda are also established groups on the island. More about Sri Lanka

At a glance

Did you know

Somapura Mahavihara

  • ...that Ram Shastri, a celebrated 18th-century judge in the Maratha Empire, created judicial history in India by sentencing the incumbent Peshwa (de facto ruler) to death on a charge of murder?
  • ...that Maldives is the flattest country in the world, i.e. they have the lowest high-point (only 2.4 meter high) of any country in the world.

Selected Biography

Nazrul in Chittagong, 1926

Kazi Nazrul Islam (Bengali: কাজী নজরুল ইসলাম, pronounced [kazi nozrul islam]; 24 May 1899 – 29 August 1976) was a Bengali poet, writer, musician, and revolutionary from the Indian subcontinent. He is the national poet of Bangladesh. Popularly known as Nazrul, he produced a large body of poetry and music with themes that included religious devotion and spiritual rebellion against fascism and oppression. Nazrul's activism for political and social justice earned him the title of "Rebel Poet" (Bengali: বিদ্রোহী কবি; Bidrohi Kobi). His compositions form the avant-garde genre of Nazrul Sangeet (Music of Nazrul). Nazrul and his works are equally commemorated and celebrated in Bangladesh and India, particularly in India's Bengali-speaking states such as West Bengal, parts of Assam, and Tripura.

Born in a Bengali Muslim Kazi family, Nazrul Islam received religious education and as a young man worked as a muezzin at a local mosque. He learned about poetry, drama, and literature while working with the rural theatrical group Letor Dal. He joined the British Indian Army in 1917. After serving in the British Indian Army in the Middle East (Mesopotamian campaign) during World War I, Nazrul established himself as a journalist in Calcutta. He criticised the British Raj and called for revolution through his poetic works, such as "Bidrohi" ("বিদ্রোহী", 'The Rebel') and "Bhangar Gaan" ("ভাঙার গান", 'The Song of Destruction'), as well as in his publication Dhumketu ('The Comet'). His nationalist activism in Indian independence movement led to his frequent imprisonment by the colonial British authorities. While in prison, Nazrul wrote the "Rajbandir Jabanbandi" ("রাজবন্দীর জবানবন্দী", 'Deposition of a Political Prisoner'). His writings greatly inspired Bengalis of East Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

Nazrul's writings explored themes such as love, freedom, humanity, and revolution. He opposed all forms of bigotry and fundamentalism, including religious, caste-based and gender-based. Nazrul wrote short stories, novels, and essays but is best known for his songs and poems. He created the first Bengali language ghazals. He is also known to have experimented with Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit words in his works to produce rhythmic effects.

Nazrul wrote and composed music for nearly 4,000 songs (many recorded on HMV and gramophone records), collectively known as Nazrul Geeti. In 1942 at the age of 43, he began to suffer from an unknown disease, losing his voice and memory. A medical team in Vienna diagnosed the disease as Morbus Pick, a rare incurable neurodegenerative disease. It caused Nazrul's health to decline steadily and forced him to live in isolation in India. He was also admitted in Ranchi (Jharkhand) psychiatric hospital for many years. At the invitation of the Government of Bangladesh, Nazrul and his family moved to Dhaka in 1972. He died four years later on 29 August 1976 in Bangladesh. (More...)

Wikipedia in South Asian Languages

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)

Selected Destination

The Walled City of Lahore (Urdu: اندرون شہر‎, "Inner City"), also known as Old City, forms the historic core of Lahore, Pakistan. The city was established around 1000 CE in the western half of the Walled City, which was fortified by a mud wall during the medieval era.

The Walled City rose in prominence after being selected as the Mughal capital, which resulted in construction of the Lahore Fort - now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the city's new reinforced walls. The Walled City was bestowed with numerous monuments during the Mughal era, with some of Lahore's most iconic structures being located in the Walled City, such as the lavishly decorated Wazir Khan Mosque, the massive Badshahi Mosque, and the Shahi Hammam. Under Sikh rule, the city was again selected as capital, and the Walled City again rose in prominence with numerous religious buildings built in the Walled City at the time, including the Samadhi of Ranjit Singh, and the Gurdwara Janam Asthan Guru Ram Das.

The Walled City today remains the cultural heart of Lahore, and is home to many of its tourist attractions. In 2012, the Pilot Urban Conservation and Infrastructure Improvement Project—the Shahi Guzargah Project was launched in order to restores a section of Shahi Guzargah ("Royal Passage") between the Wazir Khan Mosque and Delhi Gate under the management of the Walled City of Lahore Authority. The first phase of the project was completed in 2015 with support from the governments of Norway and the United States of America. (More...)

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