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India for more aid to landlocked nations

india Updated: Nov 09, 2006 11:52 IST
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India considers it imperative for the international community and donor countries to commit additional financial resources and technical assistance for developing efficient transit transport systems in landlocked and transit developing countries.

This was so as building of roads, railways and ports as well as maintaining physical infrastructure involves high costs, Indian delegate Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said on Wednesday during a UN General Assembly committee debate.

Noting that the Almaty Programme of Action provides a framework for developing efficient transit transport systems in landlocked and transit developing countries, he hoped its proposed mid-term review in 2008 would provide an impetus to the implementation of its goals and commitments.

While transit developing countries face many challenges, they take on additional costs of providing transit transport facilities to landlocked countries even when areas in their own countries remain as remote from the sea as those of landlocked countries, Mufti said.

The transit developing countries undertake this in a spirit of cooperation and friendship. India enjoys close and historical links with both its landlocked neighbours, Bhutan and Nepal.

India accords the highest priority to enhancing its friendly and good-neighbourly relations with them, including through the strengthening of trade relations and cooperation on transit transport issues, he said.

The result is evident. The largest share of foreign investment in one of its landlocked neighbours is from India; and, as per a report of the UNCTAD Secretariat, the transport costs for one of the landlocked neighbours is about one third the average for landlocked countries and half of that for developing countries, the Indian delegate said.

The Brussels Programme of Action provides the framework for addressing the multifarious challenges confronting least developed countries (LDCs), Sayeed noted.

Reports considered in the preparatory process for the mid-term review of the Brussels Programme of Action, while recognising that many LDCs have achieved relatively high rates of economic growth, stressed the need for developing productive capacities in the LDCs for sustained economic growth, he said.

It is no coincidence that the mid-term review recognised that the situation in the LDCs required continued attention of their development partners in the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action.

The development partners thus need to move vigorously in supporting the efforts of LDCs and other developing countries in achieving higher growth rates, improving service delivery and reducing poverty with more and better aid, debt relief and improved market access, the Indian delegate said.

India, on its part, has demonstrated its commitment to help LDCs, which are in a particularly difficult position, in reducing their external debt burden by writing off the debt owed by seven Highly Indebted Poor Countries [HIPCs] who had reached their 'decision points', he said.

"India has been a strong votary of South-South cooperation. We have constantly tried to increase mutually beneficial economic cooperation with all LDCs in general, and with those in our extended neighbourhood, in particular," Mufti said.