The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and geopolitical organisation of eight countries that are primarily located in South Asia. The SAARC Secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The combined economy of SAARC is 3rd largest in the world in the terms of GDP(PPP) after US & China and 8th largest in the terms of GDP(Nominal).
The idea of regional political and economical cooperation in South Asia was first raised in 1980 and the first summit was held in Dhaka on 8 December 1985, when the organisation was established by the governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Since then the organisation has expanded by accepting one new full member, Afghanistan, and several observer members.
The SAARC policies aim to promote welfare economics, collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia, and to accelerate socio-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.