Addu (Maldives): Soon after a successful meet with his Pakistani counterpart, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday called for all South Asian nations to ”trust each other” and to ”put aside our differences”, so that they can ”challenge ourselves to do even better”.
Addressing the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit at Maldives’ southernmost atoll (Maldives is a country of 1,190 islands of which 200 are inhabited), Manmohan Singh also noted that the security and stability of the eight member-nations are closely interlinked and that none can prosper in isolation.
“SAARC provides us a unique platform to put aside our differences and work towards an higher calling. We have a long way to go. But I am confidence we can rise to our true potential through sustained efforts.
“We have to learn to trust each other and learn from each other,” he told the summit attended by the heads of states and governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, apart from Pakistan.
“The security and stability of our countries are closely interlinked and none of us can prosper in isolation. We cannot allow the many problems we face to stand in the way of our ambitions and dreams,” he said in his 15-minute address.
The prime minister also announced a series of measures to build capacities of the SAARC nations by increasing the scholarships in the South Asian University, functioning for the last two years in New Delhi, and offering new scholarships in forestry at the Indian Forestry Institute in Dehradun.
He also called for increasing people-to-people contact and for information flow about region to people of the member-states. India also offered to host a tour operators meet and to promote 100 archeological sites in each of the eight nations. “Let out people know more about each other,” he said.