New Delhi, Nov 5 : Vice President Hamid Ansari today said that our political commitment to closer ties with our neighbours in South-Asia is serious. India's security interests are better served if our neighbours evolve as viable states with moderate and stable political and social environments and vibrant economies.
Addressing at the International Seminar on 'Changing Political Context in India's Neighbourhood: Prospects of Regional Security and Cooperation' jointly organized by Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) here today, he said that we wished to see South Asia at peace with itself, leading to ever widening circles of security, peace and prosperity in the region.
"The experience elsewhere in the world shows that political constraints need not be permanent barriers to economic cooperation and the later could help create a climate of opinion to resolve conflicts," he added.
He expressed his concern that the Human Development Indices of most countries of South Asia are not flattering and it would be a miracle if the targets of the Millennium Development Goals were achieved.
"Yet, economic growth has continued as most of the South Asian Countries have liberalized and moved towards market economies. Regional Cooperation has made headway within the framework of SAARC which itself has expanded to include Afghanistan as well as nine observers," he said.
The Vice President also commended that the new initiatives on the operationlisation of the SAARC Food Bank, establishment of the SAARC Development Fund, setting up of the South Asian University, launching of negotiations to bring serves into SAFTA and signing of the Convention of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters are significant for regional integration.