Fully functional SAARC needed-RW in India!!

By Yohan Perera

Former Prime Minister and Leader of UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe has stressed the need for a fully functional South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the concept of one vast global productivity and connectivity network – from East Africa to the shores of the Pacific Region of the Americas.

Mr Wickremesinghe expressed these ideas during the forum Huddle organized by the Hindu Newspaper in Bangalore on Sunday.

“Let us be bold in conceptualising one vast global productivity and connectivity network from East Africa to the shores of the Pacific Region of the Americas. We have the possibility of becoming the 4th global trading bloc and increasing our voice and weight in the global fora. We must not miss it,” Mr Wickremesinghe said.

“We must reflect on how economic integration in the Asia and Pacific has acted as a disincentive for conflict,” he said. “The outstanding issues are still retained within the present architectures available.

For example, our region should follow a similar approach. Only regional integration both economic and security leading to a linkage with the existing Asia Pacific network will enable us to create rapid economic growth to escape the middle-income trap and lead us to prosperity.

“This will also make us the first economically integrated region in the Indian Ocean. Hence we will be able to take leadership in promoting trade integration in the Indian Ocean and ensure the security of the Sea Lines of Communications,” Mr Wickremesinghe said.

“Only regional integration both economic and security leading to a linkage with the existing Asia Pacific network will enable us to create rapid economic growth to escape the middle-income trap and lead us to prosperity,” he added. Then he stressed the need for a fully functional SAARC.

“Successful regional integration – both economic and security, is dependent on SAARC becoming fully functional at the highest levels,” he said.

This will also make us the first economically integrated region in the Indian Ocean. Hence we will be able to take leadership in promoting trade integration in the Indian Ocean and ensure the security of the Sea Lines of Communications

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