On Nov 10, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh gave a call to the member nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to increase and strengthen trade with each other in order to beat the global economic crisis.Indian Prime Minister predicted that it may take a long recovery period for the world economy and backs the implementation of several initiatives to ensure complete normalization of intra-SAARC trade in order to bet the spillover effects of a squeeze on capital, investments and markets for exports.
To accelerate the economic integration Dr. Manmohan Singh acknowledged the special responsibility of India and suggested that the time period and integration speed should be at the acceptable rate for all nations. In regards to this, India have decided to reduce the Sensitive List for Least Developed Countries under the South Asian Free Trade Area Agreement from 480 tariff lines to 25 tariff lines. Dr. Singh also said that the Zero basic customs duty access would be given for all items removed with immediate effect at the SAARC summit.
Dr. Singh recognized that non-tariff barriers were an area of concern and promised India’s Commitment to dismantling them as “competition begins at home”. Moreover at the SAARC summit, Dr. Manmohan Singh said that “Our industries have to learn to compete if our economies are to have a future in this globalized world that we live in.”Indian PM pointed that “there are promising signs that SAARC nations is increasingly getting plugged into the growth dynamic of Asia. Despite all the difficulties and differences between nations, as members of SAARC we are maintaining a respectable growth rate in the last few years. It is encouraging trend that it has coincided with the SAARC integration which shows that we are on the right path”.
In SAARC summit, Dr. Manmohan Singh continued taking the cue from this summit’s theme “Building Bridges,” he suggested full implementation of a six-year old resolve to provide unrestricted access to airlines from the SAARC states, and hoped the regional Air Services agreement would be sealed next year.He suggested giving priority to a Regional Railway Agreement and a Motor Vehicle Agreement. India would be ready to initiate and facilitate the developments in regional telecommunications infrastructure too. He stated that “As SAARC nations, we have to learn to trust each other and to learn from other nations”. The security and stability and of our countries are closely interlinked. None of us can prosper in isolation to each other. We cannot afford to allow may problems to stand in the way of our ambitions and dreams”. Moreover, the two SAARC nations “Maldives and Afghanistan” urged SAARC members “India and Pakistan” to put behind the differences among them by two other SAARC members to create a healthy situation in the region.