India committed to enhancing South Asia's prosperity: Krishna

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Thimphu, Feb 8 (ANI): External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Tuesday said India remains fully committed to enhancing the prosperity of South Asia through implementation of various social development projects.

Addressing the 33rd session of the SAARC Council of Ministers here, Krishna said: "I am pleased that projects funded by the Government of India in tele-medicine, tele-education, rain water harvesting, seed testing laboratories and solar rural electrification are being implemented in some SAARC member states.

Expressing his gratitude to his colleagues around the table for fully supporting these projects, Krishna said: "We look forward to implementing these projects in all member states who would like us to do so."

"I hope that all member states will take urgent steps to ensure that the objectives of that Statement are implemented in full," he added.

Taking necessary steps for tapping the vast potential in the tourism sector with due regard to its impact on society, culture and environment, Krishna said promoting intra-regional tourism through collective efforts will also contribute towards our shared vision of building a common South Asian identity.

He further said that as SAARC completes 25 years of its existence, the need of the hour is to identify ways and means for the Association to become a more dynamic component of the larger Asian resurgence, characterized by increasing inter-linkages and growing inter-dependence.

" We are, of course, fully committed to the SAARC processes. There has been progress in various fields in SAARC but I am sure my colleagues will agree that we face a continuing challenge to implement our agreed decisions. We need to move faster in executing the plans of action," he added.

Demonstrating commitment to make SAARC a people-driven process, Krishna said: " India organized a series of cultural events since we last met here in Thimphu. I am pleased to say that the participation of people from all over the region in these programmes of folklore, heritage and music made them a great success."

"I am also glad that our proposal to create a South Asia Forum for the exchange of ideas on the future development of South Asia has been endorsed by all members," he said.

"We now look forward to the early nomination of members to the Steering Committee of the Forum and to hosting the first meeting of the Forum in India before the 17th SAARC Summit in the Maldives," he added.

Emphasising the progress achieved to establish the South Asian University in New Delhi, Krishna said: "We look forward to greater participation of students and faculty from all across the region as we work together to make this University a world class institution that can contribute in a significant manner to the larger objectives of our association."

He further said: "I am glad that the new CEO of the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) is taking a keen interest in the follow up to ongoing projects under the social window of the Fund."

"We look forward to more projects being developed by different Member States for the benefit of people at the grassroots level in our region. India will provide all necessary help to the SDF in furthering this institution for regional development," he added. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

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