India will contribute to South Asia’s resurgence: Manmohan


New Delhi: A day before he leaves for the 16th SAARC summit in Bhutan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday called for collective efforts to spur regional integration and stressed that India will play its part in South Asia’s resurgence.

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“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,” Manmohan Singh said in a statement hours before he leaves for the Bhutanese capital Thimphu Wednesday morning to participate in the 16th summit of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

This is the first time Bhutan is hosting a summit of SAARC, which also marks the silver jubilee anniversary of the regional grouping that account for nearly one-fourth of humanity.

Manmohan Singh stressed that the summit will 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.”

Saying that the winds of change are blowing across the world, the prime minister underlined that “South Asia cannot be immune to the trend of greater integration, both at the regional and global levels.”

Alluding to the focus of the 16th SAARC summit on climate change, Manmohan Singh said he will be discussing “regional cooperation and strategies for tackling the effects of global warming in our 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 said.

The April-29 summit is expected to culminate in a joint declaration entitled “Towards a Green and Happy South Asia” and will see the signing of two pacts on environment and trade in services. A separate Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change will also be issued at the end of the summit.

At the summit, India will focus on improving regional connectivity through the development of new trade, transport and telecommunication links.