Manmohan Singh urges ASEAN leaders to ensure co-operation in growth policies

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Hua Hin (Thailand), Oct 25 (ANI): Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday called the international community to learn lessons from the global economic crisis and ensure co-operation in growth policies.

Addressing the 7th India- ASEAN summit here, Dr. Singh said: "We must learn lessons from the global economic crisis. One of these is the need to ensure coordination in our growth policies. The other is to keep the real economy strong and sound."

"We agree with Japan that greater emphasis has to be laid on growth of domestic demand. And the third is to keep the flows of trade, technology and investment open, orderly and predictable," he added.

Drawing the attention of the east Asian leaders to the Kuala Lumpur declaration which called for an open, inclusive, transparent and outward looking forum in the region, Dr. Singh said India-ASEAN need to move forward in this direction, and exhibit the requisite political will.

He added that the economic integration among the East Asian countries could generate billions of dollars of additional output.

Calling for the need to establish a broader Asian Economic Community, Dr. Singh said: "The vision of Asian economic integration by coalescing the Free Trade Agreements among member Asian countries into an Asian Regional Trade Agreement is a pivotal step towards the integration of Asia into a common unit. This can lead to the creation of a broader Asian Economic Community."

He said that the countries should focus on generating stronger domestic demand in Asian economies through investment in infrastructure, creation by strengthening the social welfare net, skill development of workforce through environmentally sustainable and inclusive growth.

Welcoming the recommendations of the Phase II Report on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia, the Indian premier said the realization of roadmap for economic and financial integration, would be the right step forward.

The Phase II report on Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia recommend three pillars for financial integration-economic co-operation, facilitation and liberalization.

Dr. Singh said India would be happy to contribute 1 million US dollars over a period of ten years for enlarging the activities of Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), which generated a blueprint for financial and economic integration of the EAS region.

On setting up of Nalanda International University in Bihar as mark of East Asian co operation Dr. Singh said: "We are greatly encouraged that the Summit will adopt a Statement on the establishment of the Nalanda University in the State of Bihar in India. This has been the product of many months of hard work put in by the Nalanda Mentor Group, and will be a shining example of cooperative action in the field of education."

Describing the issues related to global climate change, as a major challenge being faced by the world Singh said this will affect severely to the developing and fast growing economies in Asia and called for a sustainable growth plan for the region.

"The EAS process should come up with a workable model of sustainable development. Financing and technology transfers are its key elements. The challenge before us is to find a global mechanism which, while safeguarding the incentives for innovation and development of environment friendly technologies in the private sector, also simultaneously ensures the availability of such technology to developing countries at an affordable cost," he said.

Expressing concern over the act of terrorism being faced by the countries in the region Dr. Singh called for a concerted and cooperative action in the coming period to end the menace.

"Many of our countries face the spectre of terrorism. There are growing threats from non-traditional sources, such as piracy, transnational groups and extremist ideologies. This will increasingly require a concerted and cooperative response in the coming period."

Dr. Singh also urged the East Asian leaders to pay a greater attention to issues of social exclusion, and regional imbalances in development and also for the fight against pandemics and collaboration in disaster management.

Dr. Singh expressed confidence that ASEAN will emerge as an oasis of peace, stability and prosperity in a fast changing world. (ANI)

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