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Eradicate terror from South Asia: PM

Manmohan Singh also called on SAARC to harness power of regionalism to meet the challenges of globalisation.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2005 17:37 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for renewed and comprehensive efforts to wipe out terrorism from the South Asian region as the menace continued to pose a major challenge despite the SAARC decision to unitedly fight it as far back in 1987.

"Today, let us renew our resolve to cooperate at all levels to comprehensively eradicate terrorism from our region," Dr Singh asked the SAARC leaders in his address at a banquet hosted by Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia last evening for the heads of states and governments attending the 13th summit.

If the seven members of SAARC truly believed in a shared common destiny, then they must work together to address their common challenges, he said.

Observing that "terrorism is one such challenge," he said although it was a global scourge, it affected the South Asian region significantly.

"Let us recall that as early as 1987, we concluded an agreement for suppression of terrorism. The Additional Protocol to the SAARC Convention on Suppression of Terrorism, signed at the 12th Summit, reaffirms our commitment to collectively fight this menance. Today, let us renew our resolve to cooperate at all levels to comprehensively eradicate terrorism from our region," Dr Singh said.

The Prime Minister also called on SAARC to harness the immense power of regionalism to meet the challenges of globalisation.

"It is true that globalisation has created a wealth of new opportunities. But it has also thrown up unprecedented challenges, which none of us can face standing alone.

"It is only by harnessing the immense power of regionalism that we can collectively meet these challenges while simultaneously fully utilising opportunities to our collective advantage," Dr Singh said.

If South Asia was to harness its undoubted latent potential, it must become a dynamic component of the larger Asian resurgence. While regional entities like ASEAN were forging ahead, and regional cooperation was becoming part of the political and economic landscape all around South Asia, the region continued to lag behind, he said.

"And yet we are uniquely poised, at the centre of this dynamic economic region. Therefore, we must take full advantage of the opportunities emerging around our region."

The Prime Minister said New Delhi was looking forward to welcoming SAARC leaders at the 14th summit to be held in India.

First Published: Nov 13, 2005 13:50 IST