India Will Play Its Part In Resurgence of South Asia: PM

New Delhi
India Will Play Its Part In Resurgence of South Asia: PM
Asking SAARC to see how it can play its rightful role in the changing world, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said India is ready to help in resurgence of South Asia which cannot be immune to the trend of greater integration.

"The winds of change are blowing across the world. South Asia cannot be immune to the trend of greater integration, both at the regional and global levels," he said in a statement on the eve of his departure to Bhutan to attend the eight-member SAARC Summit beginning there tomorrow.

He said the Summit would provide the countries of this region an opportunity to collectively reflect on "where we are, what more we can do together to meet the developmental aspirations of our people, and how South Asia can play its rightful role in the international arena."

"If we as South Asians work together, there is nothing that we will not be able to achieve. India will play its part in the resurgence of South Asia" he said

Observing that the theme of this year's Summit was "Climate Change", the Prime Minister said he looked forward to discussing regional cooperation and strategies for tackling the effects of global warming in the region.

"Ours is a particularly vulnerable region, which demands a coordinated and well thought out response cutting across sectors. We all stand to benefit by learning from each other’s experiences and strengths," he asserted.

India enjoyed close relations with Bhutan which were based on complete mutual trust and understanding, Singh said, adding he looked forward to holding bilateral discussions with his Bhutanese counterpart Jigmi Y. Thinley to build upon these solid foundations.

"I also look forward to my meetings with leaders of other SAARC countries," the Prime Minister said, without elaborating.

He said that the establishment of SAARC in 1985 was a visionary step for the South Asian region and during this period the region has witnessed major transformation, and the idea of regional economic cooperation has taken firm roots.

"We have established a robust institutional framework for cooperation in diverse areas such as food security, poverty alleviation, terrorism, communication links, trade and economic, and a range of social issues impacting lives of our people," he said.

The South Asian Free Trade Agreement, the SAARC Development Fund and the South Asian University were some concrete examples of regional projects that would enable greater economic inter-linkages and promote people to people contacts within the region, he added.
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