Krishna for cooperation among developing countries to deal with financial crisis

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New Delhi, Jan 21 (ANI): External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Thursday said it is imperative to encourage greater cooperation among developing countries to deal with the global financial crisis.

Speaking at the 'Regional Security and Cooperation Dialogue', Krishna said, India has been pursuing closer relations with South East Asia and the Pacific region as envisioned in our 'Look East Policy'.

"It is our belief that expanding our dialogue and cooperation would greatly contribute to our common endeavour for inclusive socio- economic development of our peoples," he added.

Krishna said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had announced several initiatives at the 7th India-ASEAN Summit, including the establishment of an India-ASEAN Round Table comprising think tanks, policy makers, scholars, media and business representatives that would provide policy inputs to the governments of India and the ASEAN countries on future areas of cooperation."

"Intensification of negotiations on an open skies policy; further simplification of the visa regime to encourage business and tourist travel; more youth exchange programmes; enhanced cooperation in the agriculture sector to meet the challenges of food security; cooperation in the application of space technologies; holding an ASEAN trade and industrial exhibition in India," were the other initiatives announced said Krishna.

"As announced by Prime Minister, we are ready to allocate upto US $ 50 million to support these initiatives. We would continue to explore ways to further enhance our cooperation and benefit from our complementarities," he added.

Krishna further said, "The India-ASEAN partnership saw a remarkable transformation from a sectoral dialogue partnership to a Summit-level interaction within a decade, with the first Summit level interaction in 2002."

"We would be privileged to be able to host the India - ASEAN Summit in 2012 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of our Summit level dialogue with ASEAN," he observed.

Krishna said, "We have diversified and strengthened our relations with the ASEAN countries and stepped up our bilateral relations to the strategic level with some countries of the region. India and ASEAN have also been engaged in developing a broader regional architecture in the Asia- Pacific region."

"The ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit provide useful opportunities for productive interaction. We see ASEAN as a key element of an Asian economic community architecture that would help bring peace and prosperity to our region," he added.

Giving his thoughts on the India-ASEAN cooperation, Krishna said, " It includes cooperation in sectors such as Trade and Investment, Science and Technology, Human Resource Development, Health and Pharmaceuticals, Space Sciences, Agriculture, Information and Communication Technology, Transport and Infrastructure, Tourism, Culture, and Small and Medium enterprises etc."

Krishna further said, "The India - ASEAN Trade - in - Goods Agreement under a Free Trade Agreement, which came into force on 1 January 2010, has opened new possibilities for the expansion of our trade with the region."

"In addition to the India-ASEAN FTA, with several countries of the region, bilateral FTAs and Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) have been concluded or are being negotiated. With several ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, our bilateral trade turnover has crossed US$ 10 billion each," added Krishna.

Krishna said, "People -to- people contacts and cultural and academic exchanges between India and the countries of the region have continued to grow. The revival of the Nalanda University as an international institution of excellence has emerged as an important initiative that underlines our ancient linkages."

"We strongly believe in sharing our developmental experiences with our fellow developing countries. We have been happy to participate in development cooperation programmes with ASEAN countries, and in the "Initiative for ASEAN Integration' Programme," said Krishna.

"The ASEAN - India S and T Fund, which has been operationalised, would promote joint collaborative research projects in Science and technology. The proposed India - ASEAN Green Fund, with a corpus of US$ 5 million, would promote adaptation and mitigation technologies in the area of climate change," he added.

Krishna further said, "Energy Security is an issue of great importance for the development, progress and well-being of our people. We look forward to continued engagement with ASEAN countries and our partners in the East Asia Summit on this issue."

"The Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) is serving as an important platform for sharing of policy-related research and other experiences. The Government of India has always been supportive of the efforts made by ERIA," he added.

Krishna later thanked the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry for organising the event and hoped the Delhi Dialogue would see fruitful interaction that would contribute to the strengthening of India's relationship with South East Asia. (ANI)

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