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Kuroda says India will be a key player in Asian integration

Written by: Staff

Manila, Mar 26 (UNI) 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.

Mr 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.

He also stressed the need for developing bond markets in the Region. Mr Kuroda said the Asian economies had benefical complementarities which need to be exploited. ''If India has Information Technology, China has the manufacturing sector. Japan has capital goods and Korea electronics. Clearly the dependence among these economies is growing,'' he said.

Mr Kuroda was bullish on the India growth story and about its ability to sustain an annual growth rate of nine to ten per cent per annum. Besides, he felt that the high growth rate being experienced by India would have a beneficial impact on the Region.

Mr Kuroda, who has served as Special Adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, however, felt that globalisation could hurt the weak and adequate care needed to be taken to protect the vulnerable sections of society and certain economic sectors and players.

He said that in the short term due to intense competition certain sectors, individuals and companies might be adversely affected.

''However, I am optimistic that in the long run almost all stake holders will gain from the increased trade that globalisation brings,'' Mr Kuroda said.

In the medium to long run, the economy would adjust itself to globalisation.

Mr Kuroda, formerly a Professor at the Graduate School of Economics at Hitotsubaschi University in Tokyo, said governments need to intervene to provide assistance to these sectors, regions or corporates hit by the process of globalisation.

He said during his recent trip to Beijing, Chinese economist had expressed concern about inequitable levels in the Asian tiger. The country's new five year plan hopes to set right these inequalities by focussing on rural areas.

Mr Kuroda said the main objective was high growth which was inclusive growth and felt that India stood to gain both from Asian integration and the process of globalisation.


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