Energy, Transport, Science & Technology

Energy Transport Science And Technology




Energy Ministers -> Working Group -> Expert Groups (04)

The process of regional cooperation in the energy sector began in January 2000 with the establishment of a Technical Committee on Energy.  The Council of Ministers while recognizing the importance of focused attention for this vital area, approved creation of a specialized Working Group on Energy in January 2004. The Working Group has met eight times since its establishment. The Energy Ministers have held five meetings since 2005 in Islamabad (01 October 2005), New Delhi (07 March 2007), Colombo (29 January 2009), Dhaka (15 September 2011) and New Delhi (17 October 2014).


Expert Groups

The Energy Ministers Meeting held in Colombo in January 2009, decided formation of Expert Groups for different commodities and services.  As a follow-up, the Working Group on Energy constituted Expert Groups on (i) Oil and Gas (ii) Electricity (iii) Renewable Energy and (iv) Technology/Knowledge Sharing (including energy efficiency, coal, etc.). 


  • Expert Group on Oil and Gas (Lead Country Bangladesh & Sri Lanka)

The Expert Group on Oil and Gas has met once (Dhaka, 25-26 July 2011) and finalized its Terms of Reference (ToR) and Work Plan. 


  • Expert Group on Electricity (Lead Country India)

The Expert Group on Electricity has met on three occasions: Goa, India on 23 December 2009, Udaipur, India on 18-19 January 2011 and New Delhi, India on 19 December 2013. The Expert Group was mandated to prepare/finalize the SAARC Inter-Governmental Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation (Electricity).  Other matters pertaining to Electricity are also covered by the Expert Group.


  • Expert Group on Renewable Energy (Lead Country Pakistan)

The Expert Group on Renewable Energy has met on four occasions in Islamabad on 24 August 2011, 11-12 June 2014, 26-27 November 2015 and 12-13 November 2017 and has finalized its Terms of Reference and Work Plan.   


  • Expert Group on Technology/knowledge sharing (including energy efficiency, coal etc.) (Lead Country India)

The Expert Group on Technology, Knowledge Sharing (including energy efficiency, coal etc.) met once (New Delhi, 29-30 May 2012) and finalized its Terms of Reference and Work Plan. 

The Fifth Meeting of SAARC Energy Ministers (16-17 October 2014) noted that all the Expert Groups have already finalized their ToRs and Work Plans and urged the lead Member States to continue convening Expert Group meetings regularly, preferably on an annual basis.


SAARC Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation (Electricity)

The SAARC Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation (Electricity) was signed during the Eighteenth SAARC Summit (Kathmandu, 26-27 November 2014). The Leaders welcomed the signing of the SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity). Governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka have ratified the Agreement.




Transport Ministers -> Inter-Governmental Group -> Technical Committee


At the Twelfth SAARC Summit (Islamabad, 4-6 January 2004), the Heads of States/ Heads of Governments emphasized that for accelerated and balanced economic growth it is essential to strengthen transportation, transit and communication links across the region.

Subsequently, SAARC Regional Multimodal Transport Study (SRMTS) was conducted with the financial and technical assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in order to enhance transport connectivity among the Member States of SAARC to promote intra-regional trade and travel.  SRMTS consisted of two Phases.  Phase-I was conducted by the National Consultants of each Member State. Regional Consultants conducted Phase-II. 

The Report of the SRMTS was considered by the Thirty-second Session of the Standing Committee (Dhaka, 31 July – 1 August 2006) which emphasized the need to consider and prioritize the important recommendations therein.  The Standing Committee also agreed to establish an Inter-Governmental Group on Transport at the level of Secretaries, supported by Experts in the relevant sectors.  The First Meeting of the Inter-Governmental Group on Transport (Islamabad, 28 December 2006), inter-alia, prioritized the recommendations contained in the SRMTS.  These prioritizations are under two categories - (i) to be implemented within 1-5 years, (ii) to be implemented within 6-10 years.

The Thirty-third Session of the Standing Committee (New Delhi, 31 March – 1 April 2007), inter-alia, directed that the Inter-Governmental Group on Transport should identify and develop sub-regional and regional projects based on the important recommendations contained in the Report of the SRMTS for approval of higher SAARC bodies and that the Inter-Governmental Group on Transport may develop the draft regional agreements required for implementing the recommendations of the SRMTS.  Further, the Standing Committee decided that the SRMTS should be extended to include Afghanistan.

The recommendations contained in SRMTS have been examined by the IGG on Transport. The IGG has come up with certain prioritized recommendations for implementation with the approval of SAARC Transport Ministers.

The SAARC Transport Ministers have met Thrice (New Delhi, 31 August 2007; Colombo, 25 July 2009; New Delhi, 23 November 2010) and the Inter-Governmental Group on Transport has held six meetings, so far (Islamabad, 28 December 2006; New Delhi, 30 August 2007; Colombo, 24 July 2009; New Delhi, 22 November 2010; New Delhi 30 September 2014; Kathmandu, 19 November 2019). The Technical Committee on Transport have met three times so far. All three meetings were held in New Delhi 17-18 January 2005, 29 August 2007 and 17 November 2008.


SAARC Cargo and Passenger Ferry Service

Asian Development Bank has submitted Feasibility Study Report for SAARC Cargo and Passenger Ferry Service. A Meeting of Expert to deliberate on Feasibility Study Report was held in Colombo on 01-02 December 2016. The meeting was attended by the representatives from India, Sri Lanka, Asian Development Bank, SAARC Development Fund and the Private Sector by invitation. The Meeting decided to evaluate the Ferry & Cargo Service between Sri Lanka and India initially. Maldives, Bangladesh and Pakistan may join at the later stage. 





Science & Technology Ministers -> Technical Committee

The First Meeting of the Ministers of Science and Technology (New Delhi, 16 September 2008) adopted the Action Plan on Science and Technology, and a number of short-term activities have been undertaken as a follow-up to the Action Plan. These activities were aimed to promote cooperation as envisaged in the Action Plan on Science & Technology titled “Themes for Cooperation”.

The Second Meeting of the Ministers of Science and Technology was held at Colombo on 24 November 2009. The Meeting approved the recommendations of the Senior Officials’ Meeting on the proposed SAARC Initiative for Industrial Research and Development. The Meeting also discussed the proposal on the possibility of creating a SAARC mechanism on Intellectual Property Rights.

The Technical Committee Meeting on Science & Technology is a regular mechanism in this important area of cooperation. The Fifth Meeting of the Committee was held at New Delhi on 2-3 August 2010.



SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme is in operation since 1992, and currently, there are 24 categories of entitled persons (Group A = 19, Group B = 5).  The ‘SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme’ has been categorized by the Council of Ministers (New Delhi, 7-8 December 2007as follows:

  1.  SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme:Which covers Dignitaries, Government Officials, participants of SAARC meetings and officials of the Secretariat and its Regional Centres.
  2. Liberalization of Visa Scheme:  This Category covers businessmen, sportsmen, journalists and heads of institutions/organizations etc.