‘Politics ruins diversity, pluralism in South Asia’

November 2nd, 2008 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Nov 2 (IANS) Ministers of India and Bangladesh said that politics has harmed South Asia’s diversity and pluralism, but agreed that democracy alone was the common destiny of the region to guarantee its economic development. Visiting Indian minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh Saturday regretted that politics in the region had been the number one problem.

“Our ability to accommodate pluralism and diversity in a democratic manner will determine our future,” he told a session on ‘Global Economic Shift to Asia - Regional Synergies’, wondering why political conflicts were escalating despite modern education and globalisation.

Echoing his views, Hossain Zillur Rahman, Bangladesh’s commerce adviser (minister), said despite enjoying national homogeneity, Bangladesh too was plagued by political conflicts - something which, he claimed, the present interim government was trying to address by initiating reforms and holding dialogues with political parties.

Underlining the importance of a common political framework, he said democracy was a common destiny of the South Asian people for their economic advancement, the New Age newspaper said.

The international business gathering called for promoting Bangladesh as a brand in the world market, but underlined the urgent need for a functional democracy to build a prosperous country in next 15 years.

Local business leaders expressed hope that the next government elected after the December polls would take initiatives to solve problems such as poor infrastructures for facilitating a higher economic growth with equity.

Foreign dignitaries stressed that Bangladesh needed more economic integration initially with South Asia and gradually with the whole of Asia, which has taken the centre stage in the world economy and trade, for tapping potentials of trade and investment.

The discussion was part of 50 years of completion of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Its two-day business conference, themed on ‘The Next 15 Years: A Vision for Growth,’ brought global body leaders, including UNCTAD Secretary General Supachai Panichpakdi and WTO Deputy Director General Harsha V. Singh, along with regional government and business leaders, to share their thoughts on Asia’s future business and economic landscape.

Former Bangladesh foreign secretary Farooq Sobhan admitted that Bangladesh had not been promoted adequately in the international arena.

He pointed out that three agents of change - top political leadership, bureaucracy and the private sector - would have to play a crucial role in shaping the future of Bangladesh.

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