India will strive to strengthen regional cooperation, says Krishna
Beijing: Asserting the need for connectivity between Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Thursday said India is ready to cooperate with regional countries in an endeavour to build bridges between Central and South Asia.
Addressing the SCO Heads of State Summit here, Krishna said: "The SCO needs to address the problem of connectivity through regional solutions to encourage trade and investment flows between our countries. India is ready to cooperate with regional countries to find viable solutions to this problem and contribute to the endeavour to build bridges between Central and South Asia. The International North South Transport Corridor, which we are re-energising, is one such effort in this direction."
He further said: "Members and observers of the SCO can prosper by mutual sharing of experiences and best practices. India is already engaged with the SCO member states in areas such as information technology, management, and entrepreneurship development."
"We will be happy to share with SCO countries our unique experience in specific areas of economic endeavour, such as banking, capital markets, micro-finance, small and medium enterprises," he added.
Emphasising that India admired the SCO and values its contribution over the past decade, to peace, stability and prosperity in the region, Krishna said: "As the SCO prepares for the next decade of its journey, we see a welcome process of introspection among members, on the challenges of the next decade and the role of the body in a fast-evolving world, strewn with multiple multilateral bodies, with intersecting agendas."
"India, on its part, has been participating constructively at all SCO meetings open to the Observers. By doing so, we have shown our strong willingness to be meaningfully associated with this grouping," he said.
"We believe the SCO can potentially play a much larger role in the future, both for the security and prosperity of our region. We also value the fact that most SCO member countries are our neighbours, or belong to our extended neighbourhood, with a strong historical and cultural legacy of centuries binding us together,` he added.
Stating that energy cooperation is another area of interest to us, Krishna said: "The proposed TAPI Project within our region is an example of cooperation that can bind us in energy linkages."
"As we have emphasized at various SCO fora, India would be happy to play a larger, wider and more constructive role in the SCO as a full member, as and when the organisation finalises the expansion modalities," he said.
"We welcome the general trajectory of the SCO towards expansion and redefinition of its role. We feel a wider and more representative SCO will be able to deal more effectively with the common challenges of security and development in our region," he added.
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