Singh for peace, friendship treaty

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday that he wanted to leave a legacy of friendly ties among South Asian countries, whereby his grandchildren could travel to Lahore for a sumptuous lunch and plan to have their dinner in Kabul.

Singh for peace, friendship treaty

Speaking to Indian business captains at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Dr Singh reiterated his recent quest to have a treaty of friendship with Pakistan en route to a vibrant economic partnership.

"I earnestly hope that the relations between our two countries become so friendly, and that we generate such an atmosphere of trust between each other, that the two nations would be able to agree on a treaty of peace, security and friendship," Dr Singh told the business meeting.

"In the increasingly globalised and integrated world we live in, political borders are no longer economic and social barriers. I dream of a day when, while retaining our respective national identities, one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul.

"That is how my forefathers lived. That is how I want our grandchildren to live."

Dr Singh urged Indian businessmen to be prepared for a more fast-track economic integration in South Asia. "As the region's largest economy, we must be more open to our neighbours. I must compliment FICCI for the initiative it had taken nearly a decade ago to strengthen business-to-business relations between India and Pakistan," he said.

A FICCI delegation had gone to Pakistan in 1995 to promote closer economic relations. "Thanks to FICCI's efforts, the India-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries was set up. I hope Indian and Pakistani business leaders will strengthen the hands of the political leadership in promoting peace, security and friendship in our region," the prime minister said.

He reiterated his belief that the destiny of the people of South Asia was interlinked. "It is not just our past that links us, but our future too. India cannot be a prosperous, dynamic economy and a stable polity if our neighbourhood as a whole is also not economically prosperous and politically stable," he said.

Likewise, India's neighbours could not prosper if India does not do well, he added. "There are enormous opportunities for promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in South Asia. To exploit these opportunities, the nations of South Asia have to work sincerely to control the scourge of terrorism and extremism.

"On its own, India is not doing too badly. Apart from the higher rate of investment, which is now at an all-time peak of 31 per cent of GDP, what has sustained the above 8 per cent annual rate of growth of the economy is the altered state of expectations," Dr Singh remarked.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16