Colombo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called for regional integration and cooperation, adding that barriers of boundaries inhibit progress and international partnerships give it speed.
"Barriers of boundaries inhibit progress; international partnerships give it speed. That is why we see a rising tide of regional integration and cooperation across the world. Our path will be determined by our economic choices and the quality of governance. But, business enterprises will remain critical for our success. I often say that a nation's fortunes are linked to its neighbourhood," the Prime Minister said, while speaking at the Business Meeting hosted by the Ceylon Chambers of Commerce.
"There are many in India who would argue that India is too large to need her neighbours. There are many in our region who worry that India's economic size will hurt them. I disagree with both views. For one, we all need a stable and peaceful neighbourhood to concentrate on national development. I also believe that countries do better when the entire region moves together," he added.
The Prime Minister also said that regional cooperation between the SAARC nations would be mutually beneficial to all.
"Our region is rich in resources. We constitute a large market. We complement each other. Therefore, our cooperation can be of huge benefit to all of us. There are already powerful examples in South Asia that show us that difference in size is no constraint to beneficial partnerships, if we use our strengths and seize our opportunities," he said.
"Bhutan benefits from hydropower exports to India. Nepal has significant manufacturing exports to India - in part driven by Indian investors. Infrastructure, energy, supply chains, traditional handicrafts, modern manufacturing, tourism and services - there are no limits to our possibilities," he added.
Prime Minister also spoke about the government's new purpose and clarity in the policies.
"There is new purpose and clarity in our policies; a new vision for inclusive development; new standards in our governance; and, a new level of energy in our economy. Last quarter, India was the fastest growing global economy. We are confident that we can grow even faster. The progress of one-sixth of humanity is a major economic opportunity for the world," he said.
"The global confidence in India has been restored. The world's engagement with India is at a new level. But, the first claim on us should be that of India's neighbours. And, I will be happy if India is a catalyst for economic growth in our own region. That is why I speak of a neighbourhood where trade, investment, ideas and people move easily across the borders," he added.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi expressed his delight to be in Colombo and said that India is privileged to be Sri Lanka's development partner.
He also called for a long term solution to the fishermen issue, stating that it involves livelihood and humanitarian concerns on both sides.
Prime Minister Modi also thanked Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena for choosing India as the destination for his first trip abroad since taking office.