‘India committed to resolve economic challenges in Asia’

By Sarwar Kashani, IANS,

Astana : India Thursday assured other Asian countries that it “remains fully committed and actively engaged” in resolving human issues in the region like rising food and energy costs aggravated by the global financial crisis.

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“Rising food costs, persistent high energy prices, natural disasters and climate change are the pressing challenges we face today,” Ashok Sajjanhar, Indian ambassador to Kazakhstan, observed in the 7th Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) meeting in this capital city.

In his 10-minute address to the participants from 30 other Asian countries, including China and Russia, Sajjanhar said these problems have been “further exacerbated by the global economic slowdown coupled with the financial crisis”.

He said the global recession would sharply contract the demand for exports of many developing countries, adversely affecting their growth prospects.

“The developing countries will suffer for no fault of theirs. They did not cause the contagion. Many are not equipped to face the consequences. We need a global effort, particularly in countries with developed capital markets, to review financial oversight and regulatory mechanisms,” he said, amid a warm welcome for the ideas from Kazakhstan Foreign Minister M. Tazhin, who was chairing the meeting.

“India is committed to cooperation in the framework of the ACD as buttressing our strong bilateral links with Asian countries. Thus, India has been advocating the need to utilize economic complementarities in the ACD with increased people- to-people interaction for a more vibrant community,” he said.

Highlighting India’s vibrancy in economic integration and cooperation at the sub-regional, regional and global levels, he said: “We believe that regional cooperation complements the bilateral efforts and constitutes building blocks in the era of globalisation.

“India has been active in various regional and inter-regional integration and cooperation groupings like Asean and Saarc. We have also been actively pursuing regional Free Trade Agreements, apart from bilateral arrangements,” he said.

He said India would be hosting the fourth ACD Tourism Business Forum in 2009 and a meeting of think tanks to discuss and evolve the phased track-2 involvement in the ACD process.