Diplomats in the SAARC region pinned all their hopes in the SAARC Summit of November 2014 in Kathmandu for unlocking their economic potential, anticipating that its political leadership would have resolved the region’s trade related divergent issues to make sure that the trade flows within the expected levels to bring about prosperity in all SAARC nations.
The aforesaid conclusion was arrived at the Round Table on ‘SAARC: Towards a New Beginning’ under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in which diplomats of SAARC region such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka including scholars from ICRIER and bankers from Yes Bank participated.
Deputy High Commissioner, High Commission of Pakistan, Mr. Mansoor Ahmad Khan while participating in the deliberations felt that India and Pakistan enjoy typical relationship in which mistrust prevail the most, despite several rounds of confidence building measures held in the recent past at the political and bureaucratic levels.
“Despite cultural and ethnic similarities between the two countries, nothing much has moved ever since SAARC has came into being over two and half decade ago. The November SAARC Summit slated to be held in Kathmandu will provides an opportunity to remove the mistrust drastically and restore the trade to its potential”, said Mr. Khan.
Minister Counsellor, High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Ms. Manorie Mallikaratchy expressed similar sentiments, exuding confidence that the forthcoming SAARC Summit will unlock the trade potential of SAARC nations which stayed unexplored despite so many deliberations among the leaders of the region.
She said that though India and Sri Lanka signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) way back in 2000, it has benefited the former and the latter lost out of it on account of various trade barriers that India imposed against Sri Lanka from time to time after the FTA was concluded.
Counsellor Commercial, Bangladesh High Commission, Dr. Nahid Rashid also hoped that the SAARC Summit this time will succeed in bringing about reconciliation among the political leadership of the region to resolve their mutual differences for higher trade.
Economic Counsellor, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mr. Sayed Mujtaba Ahmadi alluded to the space cooperation among the SAARC nations as indicated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Senior President & Country Head-Public and Social Policies Management, Yes Bank, Mr. Tushar Pandey and Professor ICRIER, Dr. Nisha Taneja also highlighted the potential of the SAARC region in their presentation.
The SAARC Round Table which also recommended that SAARC nationalities should strive for tourist visas and also called for simplification in the current visa regime was presided over by the former President of PHD Chamber Mrs. Sushma Berlia in which one of its past presidents Mr. Ravi Wig was also present. The Executive Director of the PHD Chamber Mr. Saurabh Sanyal proposed a vote of thanks after the discussions were concluded.