PM advocates common position at IBSA Summit

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Johannesburg, Oct 17: Advocating common position among India, Brazil and South Africa on important international issues, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the IBSA Movement should move from a declaratory phase to one of time bound action to catch the imagination of the people of the three countries.

In his remarks at the opening plenary session of the Second India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Summit, Dr Singh called for focussing the time and resources of the three countries to ensure productive outcomes in agreed priority areas of trilateral cooperation.

''We can agree today that by the time of the next Summit all the Working Groups, including those on ICT and Trade and Investment, should complete one cycle of meetings in each of our countries.'' Welcoming the discussions on India-SACHU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement (FTA), he said ''this is a bold initiative to give an impetus to our trading ties and we will work sincerely to bring it to fruition.''

Referring to the decision of the first IBSA meeting at Brasilia in 2006, identifying assistance to other developing countries as one of the thrust areas of IBSA cooperation, Dr Singh proposed that the three countries work on one big flagship IBSA project using the Fund for Poverty and Hunger, which would convey the Forum's commitment in this area.

While stressing the need for enhanced cooperation among the IBSA countries, Dr Singh called for addressing the lack of adequate air connectivity among the three countries. ''This hampers our cooperation,'' he said, adding ''we should reflect on how to encourage air and maritime links, which may not commercially viable to begin with.''

UNI

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