Pokhara, March 17: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said that South Asia is emerging as a potential global economic powerhouse and insisted it remained mandatory for it to capitalize on its economic progress.
After inaugurating the 37th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Council of Ministers’ meet in the scenic lake city of Pokhara today, PM asserted that the region has strength and potentials to develop a sustainable and accomplished economy, and become a global powerhouse.
The PM admitted that SAARC cannot remain as a ‘bystander’ when the world moved ‘through unprecedented waves of globalization’, and stressed it was crucial that ‘we strengthen regional collaboration’ while intensifying interactions with other international and regional organizations at the same time.
He said the region could fortify a common ‘South Asian identity’ by standing on the ‘citadel of successful South Asia’ – a successful SAARC.
The PM reminded that the whole world was closely and constantly watching the region’s strength and potentials, its performance and aspirations. He insisted on moving forward with clear vision and strong resolve to exalt the dignity of South Asia.
The PM further stressed on promoting better economic prospects for the people of the region and enable South Asia to lead the forefront of global affairs.
PM Oli underlined a common enemy of the region as ‘poverty’ which he pointed out was draining the region’s potentials, ridiculing our collective efforts and testing our abilities and intentions.
“The enemy called poverty, the enemy called backwardness,” PM stressed, and called for conquering it. “At any cost we cannot afford this enemy to win. We see no reason for South Asia to be at the downside of development landscape,” he said.
PM Oli echoed widespread sentiment that SAARC must lend precedence while carving out its agendas to tackle privation and backwardness.
“SAARC must be established as the region where women are safe, where children are secure, and where they will live with dignity, with freedom from fear,” the PM argued.
On the occasion, PM Oli said connectivity remained a key enabler for robust regional cooperation.
“Connectivity of infrastructures as well as of ideas; connectivity in terms of information and telecommunication technology as well as of knowledge; connectivity in terms of energy as well as of literature and culture; connectivity of markets as well as of minds can indeed unleash the potential of South Asian cooperation,” PM Oli said.
He elaborated further adding that it can promote meaningful cooperation in trade and investment, in tourism, in finance, and in energy with amplifying effects.
The PM stated that the dream of South Asian cannot survive without the lifeline of connectivity.
“The edifice of dynamic South Asia cannot thrive without the foundation of connectivity,” PM said, adding further, “The architecture of South Asian cooperation cannot stand upright without the pedestal of connectivity.”
The PM also spoke of the importance of vitalizing the engine of economic prosperity and lamented that it was unfortunate to note the countries traded little within the region.
The PM called for faster progress in SAFTA and SATIS and added that in absence of such doable core instruments, the vision of South Asia Economic Union will merely remain a distant dream.
Stating that South Asia’s future cannot be a success story unless we invest in youth resources, PM Oli called for cooperation to stimulate the creation of jobs for our youths.
The PM expressed his understanding that the ministerial meeting will primarily focus on review, of the implementation of the decision contained in the Kathmandu Declaration 2014 while working out agendas for consideration at the forthcoming 19th SAARC Summit taking place in Pakistan in November this year.
He expressed hope that the ministerial meeting will take substantive decisions to advance the SAARC process forward in line with the spirit of the 18th SAARC Summit bearing the slogan ‘Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity’. PM extends gratitude for post-quake assistance
The PM also took the opportunity to extend sincere appreciation to all the SAARC member states for support and assistance to Nepal in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of April 25.
“The support provided was indeed a manifestation of South Asian solidarity and functional cooperation,” PM said.
“The moment demonstrated once again that we, the South Asians are always united and care about each other when in difficulty and distress,” he added.
The PM said Nepal was now engaged in the vital task of reconstruction of the damaged structures so as to build better and develop our long-term resilience.
Nepal ushers into new era in its political history
PM Oli said Nepal entered a new era in its political and constitutional history with the promulgation of the democratic and inclusive constitution through the Constituent Assembly elected by the people of Nepal.
He added that the new constitution embraced the system of inclusive governance, value of democratic pluralism, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
The promulgation of the constitution together with its first amendment thereafter has brought the protracted peace process and political transition to a logical conclusion, PM said.
“Nepal would like to express sincere appreciation to all SAARC fellow member states for their continued support to, and solidarity with, the people of Nepal in realizing this vital national objective,” he added.
The PM said that with the new constitution and a political change, the country was set on achieving accelerated socio-economic transformation.
He insisted that a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous Nepal will be in the interest of the region.
Furthermore, PM Oli reiterated Nepal’s full commitment to the ideals, principles and objectives of the SAARC for the continued progress, prosperity and well being of the people of the region. RSS