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India to host workshop to discuss utilisation of full benefits of South Asia Satellite, says Swaraj

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New Delhi, Sep 28: India has stressed the need for peaceful coexistence and regional growth with all the stakeholders with India willing to share all kinds of advancement in the field of economic, scientific and technological progress to the SAARC countries at the Informal meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers in New York. However, it stressed peace and security essential for the development of the region.

India to host workshop to discuss utilisation of full benefits of South Asia Satellite, says Swaraj

External affairs minister of India Sushma Swaraj said, "An environment of peace and security is essential for the regional cooperation to progress and achieve economic development and prosperity of our people. The number of threats and incidents that endanger South Asia's are on the rise. Terrorism remains the single largest threat to peace and stability in our region, and indeed in the world. It is necessary that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support."

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Development is not possible without peace. Swaraj said, "India is willing to share fruits of its economic, scientific and technological progress with the South Asian community. We have taken various initiatives including asymmetrical responsibilities for enhancing regional cooperation under SAARC. The South Asia Satellite, a first of its kind initiative, was launched in May 2017. The project will touch the lives of the people even in remote areas of our region, through its wide ranging applications in health, education, disaster response, weather forecasting and communications."

She said, "We would be hosting a Workshop to discuss and finalize road map for its full utilisation for benefit of our people. The SAARC Disaster Management Centre in Gandhinagar is now in its second year of operation. A wide-ranging calendar of activities in area of disaster risk reduction and response prepared by the Centre is being implemented with the active participation of all Member States."

There are many other initiative where India wants participation of SAARC countries. The South Asian University held its Third convocation in June 2018. The University is providing high quality education to youth, and has already produced about 1000 scholars. India is fully committed to bear the capital cost for the new campus of SAU. Construction is in full swing.

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Indian foreign minister also talked about connectivity which is important for growth, "Improving connectivity in all forms remains vital for progress of our region and for increasing people-to-people contacts. We are working on extending India's National Knowledge Network to participating SAARC countries. I am happy to inform that the first leg of its extension to Sri Lanka was inaugurated in January 2018. Development of seamless physical connectivity is key for achieving regional growth, employment and prosperity."

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"Towards this objective, we collectively decided to finalize a SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement and SAARC Regional Railways Agreement, which, however, still remain pending. India also hosted several official and technical level SAARC meetings including Governing Board meeting of South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO), and meetings related to disaster management, agriculture, livestock and healthcare," she added.

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