Compare and Contrast the Role of ECO and SAARC in Regional Connectivity and Stability

Compare and Contrast the Role of ECO and SAARC in Regional Connectivity and Stability

PMS Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Papers | Compare and Contrast the Role of ECO and SAARC in Regional Connectivity and Stability

The following question of PMS Pakistan Affairs 2022 is solved by Nishat Afshan under the supervision of Miss Nirmal Hasni. She learnt how to attempt 20 marks question and essay writing from Sir Syed Kazim Ali, Pakistan’s best CSS and PMS English essay and precis teacher with the highest success rate of his students. This solved past paper question is attempted on the pattern taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory and optional subjects for years, and uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Question Breakdown

The examiner seeks the enunciation of the role of ECO and SAARC for regional connectivity and stability in the context of contrast and comparison.



2-ECO and SAARC for the regional stability at a glance

3-Comparative analysis of the role of ECO and SAARC for regional peace and integrity

4- Contrast angle of the role of ECO and SAARC for regional connectivity and prosperity



Answer to the Question


The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are regional organizations aimed at promoting cooperation, connectivity, and stability within their respective regions. While both organizations share similar goals, they operate in different geographical contexts and have distinct approaches to regional integration.ECO seeks to enhance economic cooperation, trade, and connectivity among its member countries. Its scope extends beyond South Asia, encompassing countries in the broader region. On the other hand, SAARC aims to promote economic integration, enhance social development, and strengthen cultural ties among member countries. Its initiatives include the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and various programs in sectors such as agriculture, health, and education.ECO and SAARC play crucial roles in promoting regional connectivity and stability in their respective regions. While ECO focuses on Central and West Asia and emphasizes physical infrastructure development and economic cooperation, SAARC concentrates on South Asia and aims to enhance economic integration and social development. Both organizations face unique challenges, but their efforts contribute to fostering regional cooperation, connectivity, and stability, albeit with varying degrees of success. Understanding their similarities and differences provides valuable insights into regional dynamics and the complexities of regional integration processes.

ECO and SAARC for the regional stability at a glance:

The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) aims to enhance regional stability through economic cooperation and connectivity among its member countries in Central and West Asia. ECO promotes trade facilitation and economic integration among member countries. By reducing trade barriers, promoting investments, and enhancing economic cooperation, ECO fosters economic stability and growth in the region. It emphasizes the development of physical infrastructure, including transport corridors, energy networks, and telecommunications. Improved infrastructure enhances connectivity, promotes trade, and contributes to regional stability by facilitating economic activities and reducing barriers to movement. Meanwhile, ECO encourages collaboration in the energy sector, including the development of energy resources and the establishment of energy corridors. Through various programs and initiatives, ECO fosters understanding, cooperation, and social cohesion, contributing to regional stability.

On the other end, The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) focuses on promoting regional stability among its member countries in South Asia. It aims to enhance economic cooperation and integration among member countries. Initiatives such as the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) promote intra-regional trade and economic growth, fostering stability by reducing economic disparities and enhancing cooperation. Itfocuses on social development initiatives such as healthcare, education, and poverty alleviation. By addressing social challenges and promoting inclusive growth, SAARC contributes to social stability and well-being in the region. These initiatives foster mutual understanding, cooperation, and harmony, promoting stability and peace in the region.SAARC provides a platform for member countries to address regional conflicts and disputes through dialogue and negotiation for regional stability.

Comparative analysis of the role of ECO and SAARC for regional peace and integrity:

Both ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization) and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) play crucial roles in fostering regional peace and integrity in their respective regions.

 While both organizations have distinct objectives and areas of focus, they share common points that contribute to regional stability and cooperation:

  • Economic Integration and Stability:

Both ECO and SAARC emphasize economic integration among member countries. They promote trade, investment, and cooperation in various sectors, which leads to economic growth and stability. This shared goal enhances mutual understanding and trust among member nations, contributing to regional peace.

  • Cultural Exchange:

ECO and SAARC both encourage cultural exchange and people-to-people contact among member states. By facilitating cultural events, exchanges, and tourism, they promote a sense of shared heritage and understanding. This cultural cohesion reduces misunderstandings and fosters a climate of peace and harmony. The promotion of friendly competitions and shared experiences build social cohesion and strengthen regional ties. ECO and SAARC celebrate joint cultural events and festivals, highlighting the diversity and richness of their respective heritages. This cultural celebration fosters mutual appreciation and understanding, nurturing a harmonious regional environment.

  • Conflict Resolution:

Both organizations recognize the importance of conflict resolution mechanisms. Through dialogue, mediation, and diplomatic efforts, they address disputes and conflicts among member countries. By providing platforms for peaceful negotiations, they contribute to maintaining regional integrity.

  • Poverty Alleviation:

ECO and SAARC are committed to poverty alleviation and socio-economic development. By collaborating on poverty reduction strategies and development projects, they uplift the lives of millions, reducing the potential for conflicts arising from economic disparities.

  • Disaster Management:

Both organizations prioritize disaster management and cooperation during natural calamities. Through the strategic pooling of resources and coordinating relief efforts, they provide support to member nations in times of crisis, strengthening regional solidarity.

  • Environmental Protection:

ECO and SAARC share a commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development. By addressing environmental challenges collectively, they ensure the preservation of natural resources and contribute to a stable and secure region.

  • Counter-terrorism Measures:

ECO and SAARC cooperate to combat terrorism and transnational crime. By sharing intelligence and coordinating security efforts, they contribute to regional peace and integrity by preventing threats to stability.

  • Infrastructure Development:

Both organizations focus on infrastructure development, including transportation, energy, and communication networks. Enhanced connectivity leads to better economic prospects and cooperation, positively impacting regional unity.

  • Education and Skill Development:

ECO and SAARC emphasize education and skill development initiatives. By investing in human capital, they equip their populations with the tools to participate in regional cooperation actively.

  • Respect for Sovereignty:

Both organizations uphold the principle of respecting each member state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This foundational principle fosters a climate of trust and mutual respect among nations, contributing to regional peace and stability.

  • Regional Trade Agreements:

Both organizations facilitate regional trade agreements and preferential trade arrangements among member countries. By promoting intra-regional trade, they reduce dependence on external markets and create a more stable economic environment within the region. ECO and SAARC both work to enhance cross-border connectivity through the development of transportation corridors, trade routes, and infrastructure projects. This increased connectivity fosters economic interdependence and strengthens regional bonds, reducing the likelihood of conflicts.

  • Women’s Empowerment:

ECO and SAARC recognize the importance of women’s empowerment in promoting peace and social cohesion. They work towards gender equality and women’s participation in decision-making processes, leading to more inclusive and peaceful societies.

  • Youth Engagement:

Both organizations actively engage with youth through various programs and initiatives. By empowering the youth with education, skills, and opportunities, they create a more optimistic future, fostering peace and stability. ECO and SAARC encourage academic and research collaboration among member countries. The member countries share knowledge and expertise, thus promoting innovation and progress, and contributing to regional stability and growth.

  • Health Collaboration:

ECO and SAARC collaborate on health-related issues, such as disease prevention, control, and healthcare infrastructure development. By addressing health challenges together, they strengthen regional resilience and cooperation.

  • Water Resource Management:

ECO and SAARC both recognize the importance of responsible water resource management. By addressing shared water-related issues, they promote equitable distribution and minimize potential conflicts over water resources.

  • Energy Cooperation:

Both organizations focus on energy cooperation and the development of regional energy projects. By sharing energy resources and technologies, they ensure energy security and cooperation among member countries.

  • Support for Refugees and Displaced Persons:

 Both organizations provide support and assistance to refugees and displaced persons within their regions. Addressing humanitarian crises together, they alleviate suffering and contribute to regional peace and stability.

  • Interfaith Dialogue:

ECO and SAARC promote interfaith dialogue and understanding among member nations. This scenario orchestrates religious tolerance and respect, they build bridges between communities and reduce the potential for religious-based conflicts.

  • Non-Interference Policy:

Both organizations adhere to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries. This policy promotes trust and mutual respect among nations, contributing to regional peace and integrity.

  • Joint Security Exercises:

ECO and SAARC conduct joint security exercises and training programs to enhance regional security capabilities. By working together on security matters, they cultivate trust and solidarity among member states.

  • Advocacy for Nuclear Non-Proliferation:

Both organizations advocate for nuclear non-proliferation in their regions. By promoting disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, they contribute to regional peace and stability.

Contrast angle of the role of ECO and SAARC for regional connectivity and prosperity:

Contrasting the role of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in regional connectivity and prosperity highlights their differences in approach, scope, and effectiveness.

Here is an elaboration on the contrasting angles of their roles:

Contrast AnglesECOSAARC
Geographical ScopeECO covers a larger geographical area, including Central and West Asia. This broader scope allows for the inclusion of diverse economies, cultures, and political systems. However, it can pose challenges in achieving cohesive cooperation and coordination among member countries due to varying interests and priorities.  SAARC focuses exclusively on South Asia, where member countries share historical, cultural, and geographical proximity. This narrower focus enables SAARC to have a more concentrated approach towards addressing regional challenges and fostering connectivity and prosperity within the South Asian region.  
Economic Cooperation and IntegrationECO places significant emphasis on economic cooperation and integration. It promotes trade facilitation, infrastructure development, and energy connectivity to enhance economic ties and connectivity among member countries. ECO’s initiatives aim to reduce trade barriers, enhance investment opportunities, and promote cross-border economic activities across a diverse region.  SAARC also emphasizes economic cooperation and integration through initiatives such as the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA). However, progress in economic integration has been slower compared to ECO. Bilateral disputes, political tensions, and differing levels of development among member countries have hindered deeper economic cooperation within the South Asian region.  
Infrastructure DevelopmentECO gives considerable importance to physical infrastructure development, including transport networks, energy corridors, and telecommunications. By enhancing infrastructure, ECO aims to improve connectivity, facilitate trade, and promote economic growth across a wide geographical region.  While SAARC recognizes the importance of infrastructure development, its focus on this aspect has been relatively limited. Efforts to enhance regional connectivity through infrastructure projects have faced challenges due to political tensions, resource constraints, and differing national priorities among member countries.  
Cultural Exchange and Social CollaborationECO acknowledges the significance of cultural exchange and social collaboration among member countries. However, its initiatives in this area have been relatively modest compared to its emphasis on economic cooperation. Efforts to foster understanding, cooperation, and social cohesion through cultural exchange have not been as extensive as in other areas.  SAARC places significant emphasis on cultural exchange, people-to-people contact, and the preservation of cultural heritage within the South Asian region. It actively promotes initiatives to strengthen cultural ties, enhance social development, and foster regional understanding and harmony.  
Effectiveness and ProgressECO faces challenges in achieving substantial progress due to diverse political systems, resource constraints, security concerns, and differing levels of economic development among member countries. Achieving consensus and implementing initiatives can be slow, impacting the overall effectiveness of the organization.  SAARC has encountered obstacles in achieving deeper integration and resolving regional disputes due to political tensions, bilateral conflicts, and divergent national interests. These challenges have affected the effectiveness of the organization in realizing its goals of regional connectivity and prosperity.  
Trade and Market AccessECO aims to enhance trade and market access among member countries through initiatives such as the ECO Trade Agreement. It focuses on reducing trade barriers, harmonizing customs procedures, and promoting regional trade, aiming to create a more conducive environment for cross-border business and economic activities.  SAARC also emphasizes trade facilitation and market access through initiatives like SAFTA. However, progress in reducing trade barriers and fully implementing SAFTA has been slow, limiting the extent of regional economic integration and hindering the realization of its potential for enhanced connectivity and prosperity.  
Energy CooperationECO places significant emphasis on energy cooperation among member countries. It aims to promote collaboration in the energy sector, including the development of energy resources, energy corridors, and cross-border energy trade. This cooperation contributes to energy security, promotes infrastructure development, and supports economic growth and connectivity.  While energy cooperation is a part of SAARC’s agenda, progress in this area has been limited. Disagreements over issues such as energy pricing, sharing of resources, and cross-border energy trade have hindered deeper cooperation in the energy sector, which could contribute to regional connectivity and prosperity.  
Connectivity ProjectsECO has undertaken several connectivity projects, such as the Economic Cooperation Organization Railway and the ECO Highway Network. These projects aim to enhance transportation links, facilitate cross-border movement of goods and people, and promote regional integration and economic development.  SAARC has also identified connectivity as a priority, with initiatives such as the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement and the SAARC Regional Multimodal Transport Study. However, progress in implementing these connectivity projects has been limited due to political tensions, security concerns, and inadequate infrastructure development.  
Role of External ActorsECO engages with external actors, including international financial institutions, development partners, and neighbouring regions, to enhance regional cooperation and connectivity. External partnerships can provide additional resources, expertise, and support for ECO’s initiatives and projects.  SAARC has limited engagement with external actors compared to ECO. The organization primarily focuses on cooperation among member countries in South Asia, with fewer external partnerships and collaborations
Inclusive DevelopmentECO aims to promote inclusive development and reduce economic disparities among member countries. It recognizes the importance of addressing socio-economic imbalances and enhancing cooperation in sectors such as agriculture, industry, and services to foster balanced and sustainable development.  SAARC also recognizes the need for inclusive development, particularly addressing issues of poverty, education, healthcare, and social welfare. Efforts are made to ensure that the benefits of regional connectivity and prosperity reach all segments of society within member countries.  


Both Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have distinct roles in promoting regional connectivity and stability. ECO focuses on Central and West Asia, emphasizing physical infrastructure development, trade, and economic cooperation to enhance regional connectivity. SAARC, on the other hand, concentrates on South Asia, working towards reducing trade barriers, promoting economic integration, and fostering cultural ties among member countries. While both organizations aim to enhance regional connectivity and stability, they face challenges that impact their effectiveness. ECO encounters political differences, resource constraints, and security concerns, while SAARC experiences strained relations between member countries and limited implementation of agreements. Understanding the similarities and differences between ECO and SAARC provides valuable insights into regional dynamics and the complexities of regional integration. Strengthening cooperation mechanisms, addressing internal challenges, and promoting dialogue among member countries are crucial steps for both ECO and SAARC to enhance their roles in regional connectivity and stability.


The root of the matter is that the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) play distinct yet important roles in promoting regional connectivity and stability in their respective regions. While ECO focuses on Central and West Asia, SAARC concentrates on South Asia. Both organizations aim to enhance economic cooperation, trade, and social development among member countries.ECO places a strong emphasis on physical infrastructure development, transport corridors, and energy connectivity to facilitate trade and economic integration. Its broader geographical scope allows for collaboration among countries in Central and West Asia, contributing to increased regional connectivity and stability. On the other hand, SAARC focuses on reducing trade barriers, promoting economic cooperation, and strengthening cultural ties within South Asia. While each organization has its unique approach and geographical focus, they share the common goal of fostering regional connectivity and stability. By reciprocating the potential of both organizations and addressing regional issues collectively, they can contribute to the economic growth, stability, and prosperity of their respective regions.

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PMS 2022 Solved Pakistan Affairs

1-Compare and contrast the role of ECO and SAARC for the regional connectivity and stability.
2-We need “Friends not Masters”. Critically evaluate Pakistan’s likely relations with United States of America after its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
3-The Ulema of Nadwah attempted to make a synthesis of modernism of Aligarh and conservatism of Deoband in their syllabus. Discuss.
4-The location of Pakistan has given the strategic strength to the State. What are its physical features and narrate its advantages and disadvantages?
5-Separation of East-Pakistan, though a tragic part of History of Pakistan, was not the negation of Two-Nation theory.” Discuss.
6-Discuss the obstacles in the way of good governance in Pakistan. In your view what steps can be taken to achieve the goal of good governance?
7-Write short notes on any TWO of the following:
a. Constitutional Amendment
b. Kashmir Dispute
c. Pakistan’s Role in the United Nations

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