Narinjara news

7 February 2002

QUEST FOR A NEW GROWTH QUADRANGLE
"Conference in city to boost economic cooperation"

Speakers at the inaugural session of a two-day international conference on regional cooperation have underscored greater understanding among Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar on economic and trade issues.
A new ' growth quadrangle' comprising these nations can be developed to explore the untapped resources in the landlocked areas of Myanmar, Southwest China and the north western state of India, they observed.
If the historic silk-rout could be revived, it would bring a lot of economic opportunities to these areas neglected and undeveloped for long, they said.
The proposed ' growth quadrangle' would also provide more port facilities to the vest areas, which needs more outlets to boost economic activities, they said.
" A lot of discussion and exchange of views on cooperation among these nations have taken peace…. Now we need to turn the matter into reality," said Bangladesh Foreign Minister M Morshed khan while inaugurating the conference at the BRAC Centre yesterday morning.
He, however, underscored a change in the mindset about cooperation and emphasised development of a regional culture.
Expressing the firm commitment of Bangladesh to any regional and sub-regional cooperation , Morshed Khan said that cooperation could transcend the borders of four nations.
He hoped the conference would yield some objective and forward-looking results.
The inaugural session, presided over by CPD Chairman Prof. Rehman Sobhan, was also addressed by, among others, Asian Development Bank Bangladesh county director Toru Shibuichi, Home Minister of Assam state government Pradyut Bordoloi, President of Centre for Policy Research in India Prof. Charan D. Wadva, Vice-Governor of Yunnan province in China Shao Qiwei, Director General Nay Winn and CPD Executive Director Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya.
As these four nations are members of the world trade organization (WTO), the markets of these nation can be more open to each other, the leader of the Chinese delegation and vice-governor of Yunnan province, Shao Qiwei, said.
" We should actively explore methods and ways of conducting further cooperation in marking the regional economic activities more efficient," he suggested.
" Under the leadership of the Chinese central government and given the new historic opportunities, Yunnan is willing to make every effort to promote regional economic cooperation," he assured.
Pointing to the strategic importance of Yunnan, he said, " located on the southwest frontier of China, it is complementary to India, Myanmar and Bangladesh in resources and economic development."
Yunnan took the first initiative for regional economic cooperation among Bangladesh, China, India and  Myanmar, he recalled.
The home minister of Assam said the time has come to turn disadvantage facing the region into an economic boost.
Assam could be the bridge between the nations in south Asia and the economic booming states in China, if the historic silk-route was revived, he pointed out. 
He also felt the necessity of a ' course of action' for opening borders of the four nations to increase economic activities and reap the benefits of the regional  cooperation.
Prof. Charan D. Wadva called upon the nations for working together to face the new economic challenges in the 21st century.
" Both regional and sub-regional cooperation should ultimately bring benefits to the people of this areas," he said.
Nay Winn from Myanmar said the current global economic slowdown posed new challenges to the nations in particular and the world in general.
It is required of regional and neighbouring countries to fast-track the economic and trade cooperation to overcome the challenges, he said.
Prif. Rehman Sobhan said the conference would bring some positive results, giving an institutional shape of the initiative to a new economic forum taken a few years back.#
  
Source: the daily star from Bangladesh