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Five-day Visit of SAARC Secretary General to India

H.E. Mr. Md. Golam Sarwar, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), paid an official visit to India from 11-14 May 2024. He met several dignitaries of India’s government and spoke about cooperation issues within the SAARC countries. This was the first visit of the Secretary-General to any of the SAARC member countries.

Meeting with Jaideep Mazumdar

Shri Jaideep Majumdar, Secretary(East), Ministry of External Affairs, India, hosted the Secretary-General for a working lunch during the latter’s visit. Both the dignitaries spoke at length about regional cooperation within the SAARC countries. Shri Randhir Jaiswal, Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, India, noted on the social media platform X, “Secy (East) @JaideepMazumder received visiting SAARC Secretary General Md. Golam Sarwar, who is on his first visit to India after assuming office. They discussed status of regional cooperation in South Asia.”

Meeting with Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh

Mr. Sarwar also met with the Foreign Secretary and the Minister of State for External Affairs in India, Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh. During the meeting, Dr. Rajkumar reiterated India’s commitment towards regional cooperation for the prosperity and progress of South Asian people through SAARC. India also underscored the importance of SAARC as an essential regional association for cooperation in South Asia. India also noted how it has been bringing the people of South Asia together through several initiatives and efforts. Dr. Rajkumar pointed out on X, “Received Secretary General, SAARC,  H.E. Md. Golam Sarwar on his inaugural visit to India. Wished him the best for his tenure ahead.”

Address at South Asian University

Mr. Sarwar visited the South Asian University (SAU) on 14 May. The university is a specialised body of SAARC in New Delhi, India. He met with SAU officials, students from South Asian countries, and the President, Prof. K. K. Aggarwal, who apprised him of the history of the University, new courses introduced, and potential for future developments. In his address, Mr. Sarwar exclaimed that the SAU is one of the SAARC’s most successful flagship endeavours. He congratulated SAU for its remarkable achievements in a short period and appreciated its state-of-the-art infrastructure.

The SAU mentioned on its social media account that Mr. Sarwar “also expressed gratitude to the Government of India for all the support it has rendered to the South Asian University, and also for nominating a seasoned academic and visionary administrator to lead the University as the President. He also highlighted the role the institution is playing in imparting quality education and promoting cooperation among students from various parts of the region, while also suggesting to start more interdisciplinary courses which would be of common interest to the member countries of SAARC.”

SAARC was established on 8 December 1985. It comprises eight member states- India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Secretariat of SAARC was set up in Kathmandu on 17 January 1987. The welfare of South Asian people is one of the primary objectives of SAARC. Acceleration of economic growth, cultural development, and social progress in the region; providing all individuals with the opportunity to realise their full potential and live in dignity; and promoting and strengthening collective self-reliance among the South Asian countries are a few more critical objectives of SAARC.