SAARC Charter Day on December 8, this year, was marked as the 32nd Anniversary of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The SAARC Charter establishing the Association was signed on December 8 in 1985 by the SAARC Heads of State during their first ever Summit meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Since the establishment of the Association, the SAARC Secretariat, member states, regional centers and apex/recognized bodies have been commemorating December 8 as the SAARC Charter day and celebrate it with great enthusiasm by organizing events and programs.
Since its inception, SAARC has facilitated regional cooperation in various areas for the welfare of the people of South Asia. The Association has taken initiatives to reinforce a common South Asian identity, given the region’s close historical, cultural and geographical ties and the mutual aspiration and desire of all Member States to promote the social and economic welfare of people.
SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as an apex body of SAARC, has been proactively advocating stronger commercial and economic relations, for a prosperous and integrated South Asia. Since its inception, SAARC CCI has played an integral role in providing an institutional framework for promoting economic and regional cooperation in South Asia.
The SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, celebrated the SAARC Charter Day in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The SAARC CCI along with National Member Chamber of Commerce and Industry of SAARC Nations celebrated the Charter day with vigor and enthusiasm across the region. This year as well, SAARC CCI Vice Presidents celebrated Charter Day themed “Celebrating 32 years of Unleashing South Asia” with the cooperation of National Member Federations/chambers, Government officials, Media representatives and diplomatic Missions of SAARC countries. Our region wide celebrations and activities will go miles in raising awareness about SAARC and enhancing the image of South Asian countries within SAARC region and beyond.
In Afghanistan, SAARC Charter Day celebrations were organized in partnership with Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Qandahar on December 12, 2016. The eminent business persons attended this august gathering to appreciate the efforts and developments of SAARC as regional bloc.
SAARC Charter Day was also celebrated at Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry at Dhaka, Bangladesh on December 12, 2016. Mr. Mahbubul Alam, Vice President, SAARC CCI(Bangladesh) appreciated the efforts of Governments and people of all South Asian countries for contributions made to make SAARC move forward. The representatives from government sector, private sector, media representative and other walks of life attended the event.
The SAARC CCI Sub office in India at Mumbai also celebrated the Charter day in partnership with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry at FICCI office at Mumbai-India on December 15, 2016. Mr. Sanjeev Agarwal, Chairman, World Gold Council was Guest of Honor at the occasion and discussed the milestones of SAARC while Mr. Vinod Juneja, Vice President, SAARC CCI(India Chapter) assured the commitment of business community to support the socio economic development of the region and wellbeing of the people of South Asia.
In Nepal, the current Chair of SAARC and SAARC CCI the 32nd Charter Day was celebrated with Day with great fervor and zest on December 9, 2016 at Raddisson Hotel Nepal. Addressing the occasion the President of SAARC CCI Mr. Suraj Vaidya said that closer collaboration amongst businessmen is integral for regional integration and is a win-win situation for all stakeholders. At SAARC CCI, our aim is to facilitate businesses of South Asia and to encourage investors from SAARC region and beyond to invest in SAARC countries. We strongly feel that this exchange will address major challenges the region faces; job creation for the youth of South Asia, our region’s biggest asset; and poverty. SAARC CCI’s initiatives for social and economic integration of SAARC region will go miles in projecting a positive image for SAARC, within and outside the region, hence encouraging businesses to invest in the region.
SAARC Charter Day was celebrated in Pakistan by the Secretariat of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry on December 16, 2016 at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad. Mr. Ijazul Huq, Member National Assembly was the Guest of Honor addressed the audience with complete background of signing of agreement in 1983 and ensure the commitment on the behalf of Government of Pakistan. Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of Afghanistan, H. E Mr. Ahmed Saleem, High Commissioner of Maldives and Former Secretary General SAARC, H. E Ms. Ms. Sewa Lamsal Adhikari, Ambassador of Nepal, H.E Mr. Jayanth C. P. Lokketagodge, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka attended the forum. The leading media representations, government official, Foreign missions in Pakistan, Leading businessmen and office bearers of FPCCI were also invited to celebrate the SAARC Charter Day.
The Sub-Office SAARC CCI Sri Lanka celebrated the 32nd Charter Day of SAARC by organizing a plenary discussion on SAARC Charter Day on December 14, 2016 at Colombo in partnership with Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sri Lanka (FCCISL). Former Federal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Sri Lanka and Former Secretary General, SAARC were the Guests of Honour, while Mr. Ajith Wattehewa, Vice President, SAARC CCI(Sri Lanka Chapter), Mrs. Shaira Saleem, Vice Chairperson of SCWEC and Mr. Ajith Perrera, Secretary General, FCCISL were also present at the occasion.
The SAARC CCI Leadership commits to carry out its six points agenda for an integrated, progressive and prosperous South Asia. The areas of focus include attracting intra-regional investment, industrialization of South Asia via embodying SAARC Investment Parks, nourishing and nurturing the Small and Medium Enterprises and to mentor upcoming entrepreneurs across the region.
On this auspicious occasion, the Presidium and Members of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry extended warm felicitations to the people and Governments of the Member States and SAARC secretariat, Nepal, re endorsing SAARC CCI’s commitment to facilitate and address the challenging opportunities SAARC region faces.