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No danger to financial sector in Bimstec: PM

Source: PTI
November 13, 2008 15:23 IST
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Ahead of his departure for the G-20 meeting in Washington to discuss the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that financial institutions in the BIMSTEC region are safe.

"There is no danger to the health of the financial system in the BIMSTEC region (comprising India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand)," Singh said while addressing a press conference at the end of the BIMSTEC summit in New Delhi.

Referring to the banks in India, he said they were well regulated and adequately capitalised.

However, he added that because of the slowdown in the developed countries as a result of the financial turmoil, the growth rates in the developing nations might be affected.

Singh, who is leaving for Washington this evening along with Finance Minister P Chidambaram, said that the G-20 should do everything to ensure that the millenium development goals are not adversely affected.

BIMSTEC is a group of seven countries -- India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan.

To ensure food security, the prime minister said the leaders discussed two aspects -- how to increase agriculture production and productivity, which are fundamental to solve the problem of food scarcity.

He said the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation decided to concentrate on 13 sectors including trade and investment, transport and communication, energy, agriculture, tourism, public health, counter-terrorism, environment and natural disaster and people-to-people contact.

Referring to these identified areas of cooperation, the prime minister said all BIMSTEC nations would benefit from joint thinking, exchange of best practices and learning from each other's experiences in these areas.

"If cooperation in all these areas grow then all countries of the BIMSTEC region would benefit," he said.

Singh said the BIMSTEC Summit had 'nearly completed work' on four areas of cooperation on which formal agreements would be signed soon.

These were a convention on combating international terrorism, trans-national organised crime and illegal drug trafficking, Memoranda of Association on setting up of a BIMSTEC Engineering Centre and a weather and climate centre in India and a cultural observatory in Bhutan.
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