'For sustained growth, tap global community'

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New Delhi, Sep 23: Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari today suggested small countries take advantage of the 'positive dimension' of the global agenda to achieve sustainable development, which includes evolving strategies aiming at reducing import dependence and pressing on export expansion.

"The global agenda, mercifully, is not all preventive and has many positive dimensions. These relate to sustainable development which, in the context of small countries, necessarily involves multi-pronged strategies that include international assistance in terms of human and material resources," Mr Ansari said while inaugurating the '27th Small Countries Conference' here.

Mr Ansari stressed that such strategies must focus on economic resilience that calls for capacity building, economic diversification and expanding the trade basket to reduce dependence on imported goods and increase the range of exported goods and services.

The Small Countries Conference is part of the 53rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, which would be formally inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday.

The inauguration of the Small Countries Conference was also addressed by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Secretary General of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association(CPA) William F Shija, Minister for Communications and Information Technology A Raja and Mr Haresh K Budhrani, MP and Speaker of the Parliament of Gibraltar.

The events were being hosted by the Indian Parliament at Vigyan Bhawan.

The small countries grouping in the Commonwealth comprises nations having a population of less than 4,00,000. The Conference, aimed to discuss the the special needs and problems of the small member-countries, is held annually immediately preceding the Plenary Conference of the CPA.

Mr Ansari said the Commonwealth, with its huge membership has within its fold resources that ought to be harnessed to cater to the requirements of small countries."India, I am happy to say, has always responded positively to these", he said.

He said the majority of the Commonwealth are developing countries 49 of the 53 members is overwhelming. Around 60 per cent of the membership of the Commonwealth represents small states.

Mr Ansari said the Commonwealth community has always been alive to the special needs of the small-member countries.

On the occasion, Mr Ansari released a commemorative stamp also.


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