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December 15th, 2009

BIMSTEC needs to tap myriad synergies to consolidate our cooperation: EAM

External Affairs Minister S.M Krishna

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna visited Myanmar on a three-day visit from December 10 to attend the multilateral 12th ministerial meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) held in the Myanmar capital Nay Pyi Taw. BIMSTEC comprises India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. At the Plenary on December 11, Minister Krishna said that BIMSTEC countries should tap their myriad synergies to consolidate cooperation.

Excerpts from his speech:

  • At the outset, I would like to express my gratitude to our host, the Foreign Minister of Myanmar, H.E. Mr. Nyan Win, for making excellent arrangements for the 12th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting and the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation.
  • The people of BIMSTEC countries are linked by the waters that flow down the Himalayas as well as the waters of the Bay of Bengal. There exists complementarities amidst diversities with regard to our potential of economic-commercial cooperation. We need to tap our myriad synergies to consolidate our cooperation.
  • The second Summit held in New Delhi last year was an important milestone and an opportunity to reflect about the achievements so far and the future path. Our leaders have given concrete ideas to build upon our cooperation. These will guide us in shaping the future of our grouping collectively.
  • BIMSTEC has made sure and steady progress. Thirteen areas of cooperation were identified where progress has been made. Climate change has been identified as the 14th area of cooperation.
  • The signing of the Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Trans-National Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking is a major achievement of this BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting. Mr. Chairman,
  • We are meeting in the backdrop of the global economic crisis. To make growth sustainable, much remains to be done. The steps which need to be taken to lift millions of people in the developing world, should be brought into focus in the global discourse.
  • Given that the challenges faced by BIMSTEC members in the area of agriculture are quite similar, we can put in efforts to execute common programmes to tackle these challenges.
  • We need to focus on various areas of connectivity among the member countries, particularly in the area of transport and communication linkages.
  • Intra-BIMSTEC trade is an area in which we should make efforts to move ahead. Our trade is still quite modest.
  • Enhancing people-to-people contacts should be our overarching priority.
  • BIMSTEC nations should create tourism packages by identifying one tourist destination from each country.
  • Under our Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme, we are offering 450 scholarships to BIMSTEC countries.
  • We need to make efforts to make BIMSTEC an effective platform for consolidation of our multifaceted cooperation.

(Courtesy: Ministry of External Affairs)

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Lord Mandelson starts visit to India

The Indian Institute of Science campus in Bengaluru

The Commonwealth has an opportunity to lead once more, this time in the fight against climate change, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II said as she opened the summit of the 53-nation group, ahead of the UN Copenhagen summit on climate change this month.

The Commonwealth can be proud of the fact that in each of the last six decades, it has shaped the international response to emerging global challenges, the Queen - titular head of the group - said at the opening ceremony on November 27.

The Queen said that the threat to the environment was not a new concern. "But it is now a global challenge which will continue to affect security and stability for years to come. Many of those affected are among the most vulnerable, and many of the people least able to withstand the adverse effects of climate change live in the Commonwealth."

She observed that a second area of opportunity for the Commonwealth was nurturing its young people. "As with environmental challenges, this area is not new.

But while the Commonwealth may rightly celebrate reaching its 60th anniversary, the future must show that it is relevant to and supportive of our young people who need to be convinced that the Commonwealth can help them realise their ambitions," she added.

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Mumbai to be a boomtown of post-recession world, says study

Confidence levels among senior business executives in Mumbai and Shanghai are so high that they are leaving their counterparts in New York and London far behind, with significant implications for the post-recession global economy.

With India having emerged relatively unscathed from the recession, more than 90 percent of senior business figures in Mumbai are more confident now than at the beginning of the year, according to a study published on December 14.

Ever more remarkably, 92 percent of Mumbai's business bosses are confident in the economic outlook for the next 12 months, says the study by the London-based international law firm Eversheds.

The findings of the research, conducted among 600 senior executives in London, Mumbai, New York, Shanghai and the United Arab Emirates, show that "the world order for financial centres is changing".

"This is potentially very significant. When you have 90 percent of respondents in Mumbai and Shanghai saying they are very confident about the future, and only 22 percent saying so in London, it feeds into the plans people will make," said Eversheds chairman Alan Jenkins.

"Indian business are confident and are looking to the future, making plans for both within India and globally. I don't get the same sense in London," he said, adding that there will be "considerable pressure" on London's place as the pre-eminent centre for global financial services in 10 years' time.

"There are real question marks about how financial services are going to grow in London." According to the Eversheds research, 87 percent of business leaders across the globe said that the recession had significantly changed the structure of the world economy and that established financial centres faced a growing challenge from the emerging economies of the East.

The Boom or Gloom' research reveals that the majority of business leaders are more confident than at the start of 2009. But when it comes to confidence in the economy over the next twelve months, there is a clear East-West divide.

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