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India stresses regional efforts to combat global meltdown

Publication Date : 07-11-2012


India yesterday suggested finance ministers and central bank governors of Saarc countries should meet at the earliest and jointly decide how to tackle the global financial crisis.

The global financial downturn is casting its shadow on the South Asian region, said Indian Human Resources Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju.

He spoke while inaugurating an international conference on "Prospects for stability and growth in South Asia" at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi.

He also urged the countries of the region to “institutionalise regional efforts for cooperation at various levels”.

"South Asian countries need to focus on the region's rich human and natural resources and its demographic dividend in its vast youth population and use them for strengthening the foundations of democracy and ensuring transparent governance and inclusive development."

The minister said India is emerging as “an economic power house” in South Asia and “all countries in the region have an opportunity to link up with Indian economy and improve their own prospects of growth”.

Highlighting how countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan have benefited from deepening their economic cooperation with India, he hoped the “the trust deficit” which comes in the way of cooperation would yield to “a climate of change and the positive side of growing together with India would be appreciated”.

He said the present intra-Saarc trade is only 4 per cent of the region's global trade and "there is enormous potential of intra-regional trade and investment that we must not leave untapped”.

“Think South Asia should be the motto for all of us to connect with one another and build bridges across artificial divides that inhibit the process of regional integration."

He also released two publications edited by IDSA scholars: "Cooperative Security Frame work for South Asia" and "India's neighbourhood: The Armies of South Asia".


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