The primary purposes for which SASA was organized are:
- to promote scholarly study of and public interest in South Asian civilizations and affairs;
- to provide a public forum for the communication of research and scholarship on South Asia, by means of an annual conference;
- to promote scholarship and networking opportunities for scholars of South Asia between annual conferences through electronic and other media;
- to assist public and private cultural and educational agencies and institutions in the development and dissemination of programs and teaching materials on South Asia;
- by means of a newsletter, journal, or other such publications and programs as may be feasible for the association to undertake, to facilitate exchange of information among persons and accredited academic institutions interested in South Asian studies, to disseminate research results, and to further educate the general public about South Asian affairs;
- to build bridges of understanding linking the academic, entrepreneurial and diaspora communities.