Twenty-five years ago, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation came into being when the leaders of
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka placed their signatures to a Charter that embodies
the enduring hopes and dreams of the people of South Asia. Since then, our Association has been strengthened with
Afghanistan joining the SAARC family at the 14th Summit.
When we reflect on our journey spanning twenty-five years, there is much that we as a Region can hail as our
achievements. We have put in place mechanisms and institutions necessary to carry out our work and thereby made
progress, to promote conditions for fruitful regional cooperation.
I believe that the partnership nurtured between our nations over the last two-and-a-half decades through the SAARC
process has given us the necessary confidence to chart our future course of action with renewed conviction.
Sri Lanka, for its part, will continue to remain committed to the strengthening of the SAARC process and I believe that the
twenty-fifth anniversary of our Association is a fitting occasion to rededicate ourselves towards achieving the noble task
of uplifting the living standards of the people of our region.
Prof. G.L. Peiris, MP
Minister of External Affairs