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Vice President Inaugurates International Relations Conference

New Delhi, December 14: The Vice President of India M. Hamid Ansari has said that new technologies are blurring the political, geographical and socio-cultural boundaries that have kept the world divided over millennia. Today we are increasingly interlinked, have enhanced competition, and are beneficiaries of the globalized market place. Addressing on ‘Global Regionalism and Regional Inertia in South Asia` at the inauguration of the International Relations Conference on ‘India and Development Partnerships in Asia and Africa: Towards a New Paradigm” at Symbiosis International University [SIU], Pune, Maharashtra today, he has said that the traditional North-South divide is being altered by the growth and development in the emerging economies of the South. The continuing economic and financial problems of the industrialized countries have led to a narrowing of the economic gap between developed and developing countries. As a result, the balance of economic power is slowly but surely shifting from Europe and North America to Asia and Latin America. Africa’s growth performance has also improved hugely since the start of the 21st century.
He opined that we still have a long way to go before the targets set in the global development agenda are attained by the developing world. We also need to develop an international consensus on the post-2015 development agenda and its realization. The decline in the Official Development Assistance of the developed countries has propelled the developing world to seek new and innovative sources of funds for their development agenda.

The Vice President said that in this regard, the emergence of regional economic integration in different regions of the world, with integrated markets for goods, services, investments and technology, is proving to be an effective vehicle for seeking prosperity. Regional cooperation, of course, had an earlier beginning and preceded globalization. Western Europe in the post-World War II period witnessed the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community and the EURATOM leading to the European Economic Community and eventually to the European Union.  The EU has lived up to the expectations of its founding fathers and has transformed itself from being a purely economic grouping to a union of sovereign states enjoying an unprecedented degree of political and economic integration.

He said that most regions of the world are endowed with their own physical, economic and political geography which poses challenges to economic development. In some, political borders are not aligned with economic and natural resources. National economies and populations, on the other hand, are generally small and have poor connective infrastructure. Regional integration and cooperation offers the means to overcome these obstacles and to be competitive in the global marketplace. Empirical evidence suggests that it also leads to dispute settlement mechanisms, to greater people-to-people contacts and to better political relations between the involved countries. Examples of this are to be seen in ASEAN, the African Union, GCC and some of the Latin American regional groupings.

The Vice President said that India’s experience of bilateral development partnerships in South Asia, with countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal is sufficiently indicative of our capacity to undertake regional cooperation. In any such endeavour, the immediate or shorter term commercial, foreign policy and strategic interests must be balanced with our longer term objective of becoming a regional and global actor of relevance and significance in a fast changing world. It follows that an attitude of neglect or immobility to our immediate neighbourhood will not enhance our capacity and may deny us options. Global observers have also noted our policy approach of developing cooperation with other regional organisations in and around Asia and have contrasted it with our studied neglect of SAARC.

Posted by Imphal Dispatch on 22:34. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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