Reflecting on the principles and values of regional cooperation, promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in South Asia is of utmost importance, President Mohamed Muizzu has stated in his message on the occasion of the 39th Charter Day of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

In his message, which was addressed to the Secretary-General, the Secretariat, and all institutions affiliated with the regional body, as well as the people of the South Asian region, Muizzu highlighted the instrumental role of SAARC in navigating regional challenges and propelling shared objectives. He urged for a reinvigorated commitment to the principles enshrined in the Charter and advocated for enhanced cooperation to foster a more interconnected and resilient South Asia, the President’s Office said in a statement.

SAARC, established on 8 December 1985, represents a landmark commitment to regional integration and economic development. The founding nations, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, envisaged a cooperative framework to catalyse regional growth. The annual celebration of SAARC Charter Day on 8 December serves as a testament to this shared vision.

As a founding member of SAARC, the Maldives has been at the forefront of shaping the organisation’s trajectory. It led the proposal for the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), demonstrating its unwavering commitment to regional economic cooperation. The Maldives also championed the formulation of a social charter and initiated informal political consultations within SAARC forums. It has consistently advocated for environmental action within the SAARC framework.

Muizzu’s message underscored the continued relevance of SAARC in the contemporary geopolitical landscape and emphasised the need for a renewed commitment to its founding principles as the region grapples with the multifaceted challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.