US pitches for enhanced trade links in South Asia
India Has To Do More To Integrate Economically With Its Neighbours: Hillary
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Chennai, July 20: Pitching for enhanced trade links between South Asian countries, the United States Wednesday said promoting inter-state trade would bring stability to the region.
''Promoting trade links in violence-hit South Asia, will bring prosperity and peace not only to India, but also to countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan," visiting US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said here today. She said India has to do more to integrate economically with neighbours.
Clinton said she was "encouraged" by India and Pakistan's decision to restart their peace talks.
Addressing an audience of students, opinion-makers and other citizens of South India at the Anna Centenary Library here, Hillary exhorted India to be more assertive and play the role of a leader in Asia to shape the future of the Asia Pacific.
She said the opening of India's market to the world would not only produce a more prosperous India and a more prosperous South Asia, but it would also spill over to Central Asia and beyond into the Asia-Pacific region.
''This is the time to seize the emerging opportunities of the 21st century and India should pro-actively play the leadership role to shape the future of the Asia-Pacific," she added. "India's leadership has the potential to positively shape the future of the Asia-Pacific and we encourage you not just to look East, but continue to engage and act East as well," she said, against the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness in Asia.
Asking India to don the role of an ally of US in regional forums like ASEAN and the upcoming East Asia Summit, Hillary, who touched upon a wide range of issues in her nearly 35-minute address, wanted India to promote trade in South Asia which was marred by violence.
Clinton, who is the first American top diplomat to visit Chennai during an India trip, also asserted that the bondage outweighed differences in Indo-US ties and that the bilateral relationship would be a defining partnership of the 21st century.
"We have a common commitment to combating terrorism and achieving economic prosperity," she said.
Noting that the role she was asking India to play is ambitious, Clinton said, "Yes, it is an ambitious agenda, but we can afford to be ambitious."
"We are betting on India's future. That the opening of India's markets to world will produce a more prosperous India and South Asia. We are betting that India's vibrant pluralistic society will inspire others to follow a similar path of tolerance. We are making this bet not out of blind faith but because we have watched your progress with great admiration," she added.
Clinton said the future of Asia would be shaped by decisions of the Indian government and 1.3 billion people of the country.
Clinton also had a word of praise for India's Election Commission which is widely viewed as the "global gold standard" for holding polls.
Against the backdrop of New Delhi's stance on human rights abuses in Asia, Clinton said "As India takes on a larger role throughout the Asia-Pacific, it is also taking on new responsibilities including the duty to speak out against violations of universal human rights."
Clinton stressed that cordial relations between India, China and the US were important.
"This will not always be easy," she said. But she added that "if we want to address, manage or solve some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century, India, China and the United States will have to coordinate our efforts."
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 21 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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