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India will be a key player in Asian integration: Kuroda

Written by: Staff

Manila, Mar 26: Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda is confident that the Asian Common market would be a reality in the forseable future where India would be a key player and visualises the country playing a central role in Asian integration.

''The first ever South East Asian Summit held recently in Kuala Lampur was a landmark event, where India participated. It set the pace for closer integration of Asia,'' Mr Kuroda told a delegation of visiting journalists from India.

The Summit, held along side the ASEAN meet, was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It discussed the architecture of Asian integration, including the evolution of the Asian Common market on the lines of the European Union and NAFTA.

The Indian government had expressed its desire to be part of the Asian Common market as and when it is formed.

Several steps have been apace to bring India into the fold of the Asian economies, including working out of a Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN.

Mr Kuroda lauded India's interest in coming closer to Asian countries and was hopeful that it would be a key player in such events of the future.

Mr Kuroda, who is also Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the ADB, said it took nearly three decades for the European Union to emerge and the establishment of the common market was only an evolutionary process.

In fact, the ADB Chief even foresaw a common currency for Asia, but only in the distant future. "Though I am in favour of such a move, it at best is a long run possibility".

Kuroda felt that at the moment it would be better to focus on a few immediate steps. These include improving connectivity in the Region, encouraging financial co-operation, establishing Free Trade Agreements, and working together to avert serious natural disasters and epidemics.


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