From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : South Asian University
Mains level : SAARC and its fading relevance
The Delhi-based South Asian University, established by all eight SAARC countries, has not had a president for over a year, while its executive council and governing board have not met for almost two and three years respectively.
Note the features of SAARC, ASEAN and East Asia Summit.
South Asian University
- South Asian University (SAU) is an International University sponsored by the eight Member States of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
- The eight countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- India, as the host and the largest country in the SAARC group, bore the entire capital cost for setting up the university, and also pays 50% of the operational costs.
- SAU attracts students predominantly from all the eight SAARC countries, although students from other continents also attend.
- There is a country quota system for admission of students. Every year SAU conducts admission test at multiple centres in all the eight countries.
- The degrees of the university is recognised by all the member nations of the SAARC according to an inter-governmental agreement signed by the foreign ministers of the eight-member states.
Institution on failure
- After a decade of existence, the university has yet to appoint a non-Indian president, despite rules stipulating a rotation among the member countries.
- At a time when the Union government is trying to encourage international education in India, an existing international institution is facing a crisis of leadership.
A matter of reluctance
- According to the agreement signed by all the SAARC countries, the first president should have been from India, and then rotated among the other countries in alphabetical order.
- So the next president should be from the Maldives.
- But the MEA has put an advertisement calling only for Indian applicants, but there has been no appointment after one year.