PM Ashraf for optimum use of resources for prosperity in Asia
17 October, 2012
KUWAIT CITY: Stressing the need for working closely for the prosperity of people of Asia, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday called for optimally harnessing enormous opportunities in the continent in all areas of common interest for the collective good of Asian fraternity.
Addressing the first Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) summit, the PM also announced that Pakistan would host an ACD Energy Forum in Islamabad in December. He said Asia is a large continent with enormous opportunities. "However, for these opportunities to be optimally harnessed for the collective good of the Asian fraternity, cooperation amongst the Asian countries in all possible areas of common interest is imperative," he said while addressing the summit.
It is not possible in today's world to thrive in isolation or suffer in seclusion. The world is so closely knit that the fall-out of prosperity or adversity is imminent, he added. Raja said the Asia Cooperation Dialogue had the distinction of being the only forum of its nature that provided a platform to discuss, in an informal setting, a host of issues that confronted everyone.
Stressing the need for sharing experiences and best practices in divers areas, Raja said the 21st century belonged to Asia as its role in the global economic order had changed rapidly. By 2050, Asia is expected to account for more than half of the global economy. But for Asia's phenomenal economic growth during the past decade, the world would have been different today, he added.
The PM said the Asian countries needed to coordinate their policies and strategies closely in order to offset the impact of financial and other crises in the future. Stressing the importance of energy security for industrialisation, he said, "We need sufficient energy resources to run our factories and businesses. This would not be possible without energy security."
He said water is becoming a scarce commodity, and added, "Our water resources need to be prudently used and preserved for the future."
Raja said all countries were mandated to fulfil their commitments under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The presence of so many complex and interrelated challenges made it an uphill task. In these circumstances, it is vital that Asia rises to the occasion and synergises its abilities, he added.
As a member of regional organisations, including ECO and SAARC, as well as an observer in the SCO, Pakistan is contributing actively to the regional integration. It is poised to play an important role, he said. Raja said his government's priority is to turn Pakistan into a hub of trade and energy connectivity.
"In this connection, we are in the process of developing rail and road connections with the People's Republic of China and other neighbours," he added. He said Pakistan is actively pursuing, in collaboration with other regional countries, the materialisation of projects such as TAPI, CASA-1000 and IP Gas Pipeline.
Meanwhile, Thailand and Pakistan agreed to hold a joint ministerial commission meeting in Islamabad in January to enhance cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
This was agreed by both sides during a meeting between Prime Minister Raja and his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra on the sidelines of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) summit. Shinawatra said the private sector in Thailand looked forward to availing the opportunities for investments in infrastructure, energy, agriculture and other areas in Pakistan. Raja said there should be greater exchange of delegations between the two countries and more people-to-people contacts should be facilitated to further strengthen ties.