Saarc Envoys Endorse Indias Proposal Of Common Currency

Kathmandu, Dec 24: | Updated: Dec 25 2003, 05:30am hrs
Endorsing Indias proposal for a common currency for South Asian countries, Saarc member states on Wednesday stressed on the need to speed up the progress towards a free-trade regime in the region. a common currency is possible within the deadline of 2020 set by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), but progress has to be made in the Saarc Economic Agenda, said Pakistans ambassador to Nepal Zamir Akram at an interaction programme here.

The idea of a common currency was recently mooted by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Nepalese ambassador at large Bhesh Bahadur Thapa welcomed Indias proposal, saying Nepal applauds Mr Vajpayees move for injecting the proposal. Mr Thapa, however, noted that certain conditions need to be fulfilled before implementing the idea.

This is an interesting idea. Provided circumstances are favourable, it can be achieved, said Bangladesh ambassador to Nepal M Humayun Kabir. Sri Lankan envoy Grace A Asirwatham said, Its a fine idea. We shall make efforts towards that end. while backing the idea of moving towards safta from sapta during the forthcoming saarc summit, the ambassadors voiced the need for special treatment to the least developed countries in the region to protect their economic interests.

Acknowledging that the 12th Saarc Summit to be held in Islamabad from January four will take up various important issues including poverty alleviation and other social and economic issues, they admitted that Saarc is moving ahead slowly but steadily. They stressed that Saarc must not be left behind in the process of globalisation and liberalisation.

The envoys also pointed out that security interests of the non-nuclear states of the region must be safeguarded.

Saarc has been successful in bridging the gap betweengovernments of the member states as well as establishing people-to-people connectivity in the region, the envoys noted.

PTI