Shimla, June 03: India is ready to open up its
markets without insisting on reciprocity and favoured
dismantling of barriers restricting movement of people, goods
and investments within South Asian countries, External Affairs
Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said.
"As the largest country in the region, India is ready
to accept asymmetrical responsibilities, including opening up
markets to South Asian neighbours without insisting on
reciprocity," Mukherjee said in his keynote address during the
concluding session of the South Asia Free Media Association
(SAFMA) meet here.
Noting that global economy is indicating a shift in
its centre of gravity from countries of Europe and North
America to Asia for the first time in the past 350 years, he
also asked South Asian countries to dismantle barriers
restricting movement of people, goods and investments.
"Today the countries of South Asia are on the
threshold of a historical moment. Collectively we stand a good
chance of transforming the economic conditions of our people
and in the development of human civilisation in the 21st
century," he said.
It was with this perspective that India has extended
its hand of friendship and cooperation to all neighbours and
proactively addresses whatever differences there may be, he
said, adding it was with this perspective that India
participated in the 14th SAARC summit.
India was aware that as the present chair of SAARC the
nation has an important responsibility, he said.
During the summit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
announced duty free access to India's markets to the Least
Developed Countries (LDCs) in SAARC from this year itself,
Mukherjee said, adding India is committed to reducing the
sensitive lists for the LDCs.