Lack of adequate connectivity hampering IBSA cooperation: PM

November 14th, 2007 - 2:25 am ICT by admin  
Johannesburg, Oct 17 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today admitted that there is a lack of “adequate connectivity” between India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA), which continues to hamper its cooperation.

In his opening remarks at the Plenary Session of the 2nd IBSA Summit here, Singh said the group should “reflect on how to encourage air and maritime links, which may not be commercially viable to begin with.”

“If the IBSA movement is to catch the imagination of our people, we should move from a declaratory phase to one of time bound action,” he said.

“We all recognise the immense potential of IBSA. With the necessary political will and an outcome-based approach, I have no doubt that we will be able to realise this potential,” Singh added.

Expressing happiness over “fruitful discussions” taken place at the Academic Seminar, the Business Seminar and the newly instituted Women’s and Parliamentarians’ Forums, he expressed the hope that the current Summit would have “substantive and productive” discussions on strengthening the IBSA process.

Pointing out that out of the several Working Groups of the IBSA, only those on ICT and Trade and Investment have met thrice, he said that the three countries could agree that by the time of the next Summit all the groups should complete one cycle of meetings in each of the member countries.

“At the next Summit, we would then be in a position to take stock of the areas we should concentrate on and where cooperation is proving useful,” Singh added.

“I am particularly pleased that discussions have begun on the India-SACU-Mercosur FTA. This is a bold initiative to give an impetus to our trading ties and we will work sincerely to bring it to fruition,” he said.

With regard to global issues, he said that India, Brazil and South Africa were increasingly consulting each other on the margins of major international meetings, adding, “We should encourage this so that we can have common IBSA positions on important international issues.”

Recalling that last year the IBSA had agreed that assisting other developing countries should be one of the thrust areas of the cooperation, he said: “I propose that we work on one big flagship IBSA project using the Fund for Poverty and Hunger, which will convey our commitment in this area.”

All developing countries face the challenge of balancing the need for more rapid growth with the need to address the problem of social inequality, the Prime Minister said, adding that each of IBSA countries has attempted innovative solutions to bring about inclusive growth. (ANI)

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