SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL CO-OPERATION

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is ansarc-logo economic and geopolitical organization of eight countries that are primarily located in South Asia. The SAARC Secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The SAARC policies aim to promote welfare economics, collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia, and to accelerate Social-Cultural Development in the region.

The SAARC has developed external relations by establishing permanent diplomatic relations with the EU, the UN (as an observer), and other multilateral entities. The official meetings of the leaders of each nation are held annually whilst the foreign ministers meet twice annually. The 18th SAARC Summit is scheduled to be held in Kathmandu in November 2014.

SAARC Countries:- India / Nepal / Bhutan / Maldives / Sri Lanka / Bangladesh /Afghanistan / Pakistan

India:- Officially the Republic of India (Bharat Ganarjya), is a country in india-logoSouth Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia. Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four world religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism—originated here, whereas Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived in the 1st millennium CE and also helped shape the region's diverse culture. Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company from the early 18th century and administered directly by the United Kingdom from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi. India is a federal constitutional republic governed under a parliamentary system consisting of 29 states and 7 union territories. India is a pluralistic, multilingual, and a multi-ethnic society. It is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

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Nepal officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign nation located in South Asia. With an area ofnepal-logo 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi) and a population of approximately 27 million. Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Specifically, the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim border Nepal, while across the Himalayas lies the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Nepal is separated from Bangladesh by the narrow Indian Siliguri Corridor. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest metropolis. The mountainous north of Nepal has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali. It contains more than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m) above sea level. The southern Terai region is fertile and humid. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha, is located in this region. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world's great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centers from as early as the 3rd century BC.

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Bhutan : officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in South bhutan-logoAsia located at the eastern end of the Himalayas. It is bordered to the north by China and to the south, east and west by India. To the west, it is separated from Nepal by the Indian state of Sikkim, while further south it is separated from Bangladesh by the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal. Bhutan's capital and largest city is Thimphu. Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms until the early 17th century, when the lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, fleeing religious persecution in Tibet, unified the area and cultivated a distinct Bhutanese identity. Later, in the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire and retained strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. Bhutan is the only country to have officially adopted gross national happiness instead of the gross domestic product as the main development indicator. In 2006, based on a global survey, Business Week rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world.

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Maldives, officially the Republic of the Maldives and also referred to asmaldeev-logo the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean–Arabian Sea area, consisting of a double chain of twenty-six atolls, oriented north-south, that lie between Minicoy Island (the southernmost part of Lakshadweep, India) and the Chagos Archipelago. The chains stand in the Laccadive Sea, and the capital, Malé is about 600 kilometres (370 mi) south-west of India and 750 kilometres (470 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka. Maldives has been an independent polity for the majority of its history, except for three periods in which it was ruled by outside forces. In the mid-16th century, for fifteen years, the Maldives was dominated by the Portuguese Empire. In the mid-17th century, the Dutch Empire (Malabar) dominated Maldives for four months. Finally, in the late 19th century, on the brink of war, the Maldives became a British protectorate from 1887 until 1965. The Dutch referred to the islands as the "Maldivische Eilanden", while the British anglicized the local name for the islands first to the "Maldive Islands" and later to the "Maldives". The islands gained independence from the British Empire in 1965, and in 1968 became a republic ruled by a president and an authoritarian government. The Maldives archipelago is located on top of the Chagos - Maldives - Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean. Maldives also form a terrestrial ecoregion together with the Chagos and the Lakshadweep. The Maldives atolls encompass a territory spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 sq mi), making the country one of the world's most geographically dispersed. Its population of 328,536 (2012) inhabits 192 of its 1,192 islands.[12] In 2006, Maldives' capital and largest city Malé, located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll, had a population of 103,693. Malé is one of the Maldives' administrative divisions and, traditionally, it was the "King's Island" where the ancient Maldives royal dynasties were enthroned.. The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. With an average ground level elevation of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is the planet's lowest country.[15] It is also the country with the lowest natural highest point in the world, at 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in). Forecasts predicting future inundation of the Maldives due to rising sea levels are of great concern to its people.

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Sri Lanka:-Sinhala:  officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Srisrilanka-logo Lanka, is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia. Known until 1972 as Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest. Sri Lanka has a documented history that spans over 3,000 years, but there are theories to suggest that Sri Lanka had pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka is a diverse country, home to many religions, ethnicities and languages. It is the land of the Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, Moors, Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginal Vedda. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the P?li Canon, dates back to the Fourth Buddhist Council in 29 BCE. The country's recent history has been marred by a thirty-year civil war which decisively ended when Sri Lankan military defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009. Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a presidential system. The capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the largest city, Colombo. An important producer of tea, coffee, gemstones, coconuts, rubber, and the native cinnamon, Sri Lanka is known as "the Pearl of the Indian Ocean" because of its natural beauty, its shape and location, and "the nation of smiling people" The island contains tropical forests and diverse landscapes with a high amount of biodiversity. The country has had a long history of international engagement, as a founding member of SAARC, a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement. It is also the only country in South Asia that is currently rated 'high' on the Human Development Index.

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Bangladesh "The bangladesh-logo2 land of Bengal"), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a country in South Asia. It is bordered by India to its west, north and east; Burma to its southeast and separated from Nepal and Bhutan by the Chicken’s Neck corridor. To its south, it faces the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh is the world's eighth-most populous country, with over 160 million people, and among the most densely populated countries. It forms part of the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal, along with the neighboring Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura. The present-day borders of Bangladesh took shape during the Partition of Bengal and British India in 1947, when the region used to be known as East Pakistan, as a part of the newly formed state of Pakistan. It was separated from West Pakistan by 1,400 km of Indian territory. Due to political exclusion, ethnic and linguistic discrimination and economic neglect by the politically dominant western wing, nationalism, popular agitation and civil disobedience led to the Bangladesh Liberation War and independence in 1971. After independence, the new state endured poverty, famine, political turmoil and military coups. The restoration of democracy in 1991 has been followed by relative calm and economic progress. In 2014, the Bangladeshi general election was boycotted by major opposition parties, resulting in a parliament and government dominated by the Awami League and its smaller coalition partners. Bangladesh is a unitary parliamentary republic with an elected parliament called the Jatiyo Sangshad. Bengalis form the country's largest ethnic group, along with indigenous peoples in northern and southeastern districts. Geographically, the country is dominated by the fertile Bengal delta, the world's largest delta. The four largest and constitutionally recognized religions in the country are Islam (89%), Hinduism (8%), Buddhism (1%) and Christianity (0.5%). Bangladesh is identified as a Next Eleven economy. It has achieved significant strides in human and social development since independence, including in progress in gender equity, universal primary education, food production, health and population control.[6][7][8] However, Bangladesh continues to face numerous political, economic, social and environmental challenges, including political instability, corruption, poverty, overpopulation and climate change. Bangladesh is a founding member of SAARC, the Developing 8 Countries and BIMSTEC. It contributes one of the largest peacekeeping forces to the United Nations. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement.

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Pakistan:- officially the Islamic Republic pakistan-logoof Pakistan, is a sovereign country in South Asia. With a population exceeding 180 million people, it is the sixth most populous country and with an area covering 796,095 km2 (307,374 sq mi), it is the 36th largest country in the world in terms of area. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest and China in the far northeast. It is separated from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's narrow Wakhan Corridor in the north, and also shares a marine border with Oman. The territory that now constitutes Pakistan was previously home to several ancient cultures, including the Mehrgarh of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilization, and was later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including Indo-Greeks, Muslims, Turco-Mongols, Afghans and Sikhs. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Indian Mauryan Empire, the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander of Macedonia, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Durrani Empire, the Sikh Empire and the British Empire. As a result of the Pakistan Movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the subcontinent's struggle for independence, Pakistan was created in 1947 as an independent nation for Muslims from the regions in the east and west of Subcontinent where there was a Muslim majority. Initially a dominion, Pakistan adopted a new constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. A civil war in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh.

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Afghanistan:-Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,afganistan-logo is a landlocked country located in Central Asia and South Asia. It has a population of around 31 million people, making it the 42nd most populous country in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and China in the far northeast. It the 41st largest country in the world.

Tourism :- WARNING: Travelling in Afghanistan is extremely dangerous, and independent travel/sightseeing is emphatically discouraged due to the armed conflict between Government forces and Taliban insurgents. The current Afghan government has little control over large parts of the country. Taliban rebels have killed up to 18,400 people in 2013 from terrorist bombings, kidnappings, and gun warfare against the Afghan government. Although parts of Kabul and the north are calmer regarding Taliban activity, the country is a war zone. Threats are unpredictable and the situation can change very quickly. If you must go, see war zone safety.

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