INDIA IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA AND THE SAARC

regional cooperation is needed for securing trade related benefits and for utilizing collective resources for mutual benefits. This objective is realized by establishing organisations by the countries having geographical affinity. Such organisation are based on a formal agreement signed by the concerned nations. The member countries utilize each others resources to solve common problems. To attain this two regional organization that work for the socio-economic integration of south-Asian region are such as ASEAN ( associations of south Asian nations ) and SAARC ( south association of regional cooperation ). SARRC is a major regional initiative undertaken by the South- Asian countries to evolve cooperation.

India have very close relations with south east Asians countries from very beginning. South – East Asia is composed of 10 nations, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In the past , India’s engagement with the South East Asian was built on the shared experience of colonialism and culture ties. But at present it is linked to trade, investment and production. South Asian association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established by seven South Asian Countries, Namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri lanka in December 1985 in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Afghanistan was included as the eighth member of SAARC. The concept of SAARC originally mooted by the former Bangladesh President Zia-ur-Rahman, with the aim of establishing economic and cultural cooperation among the people of south Asia. Its permanent secretariat at Kathmandu in Nepal was established in 1985.

The Charter of SAARC has laid down a number of objectives to promote the welfare of the people in South East Asian countries and to improve the quality of life. It accelerates the economic growth, social progress and cultural development. It promotes the mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of each other’s problems. It works to develop the mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural and technical and scientific field. It also works for the cross border terrorism and smuggling.

India is largest and the most populous among the SARRC countries, it also occupies 72 percent of the South Asia and about 77 percent of the population. It is also the most advanced among SAARC nations. All the members states of SAARC are of strategies importance to India and share cultural and ethnic legacies. India has focused on strengthening its relations with these countries through economic cooperation. This includes grants of unilateral tariff concessions to Bangladesh, collaborative projects including implementation of infrastructures of development projects in Myanmar, cooperation in health, education and tourism sectors in Maldives and close economic integration with sri lanka. India has made substantial construction effort , which includes a wide range of humanitarian, financial and projects assistance.

To conclude India have played major role in forging closer links among then SAARC countries and promoting regional peace, economic growth, social progress and cultural development of the area.

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