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India will play its part in resurgence of South Asia: PM

Asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said India is ready to help in resurgence of South Asia which cannot be immune to the trend of greater integration.



New Delhi: 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."

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.=

PTI

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