'Working for poor, India and Pakistan can create Asian century'

Thursday, 26 June 2008, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: India and Pakistan can script an Asian century if they scale up their economic ties and collaborate for uplifting millions of poor in their countries, says Salman Faruqui, deputy chairman of Pakistan's Planning Commission.

"If India and Pakistan can enhance trade and economic relations, it will spur the emergence of an Asian century," Faruqui, who is visiting India to learn from its developmental experience, told IANS in an exclusive interview here.

"We have a larger vision of regional economic integration. We hope that SAARC (the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) becomes a major force in the world," the India-born Faruqui said, while underlining the new mood of optimism among the four-month-old civilian leadership in Pakistan about improving ties with India.

"It is about time India and Pakistan made progress in every field so that we can jointly plan a better future for our people, especially the poor," Faruqui, a senior bureaucrat who enjoys the status of a federal minister in Pakistan's cabinet, stressed.

Born in the pre-partition India - his father was from Patiala, his mother was from Chennai and his wife belongs to Kolkata - the suave soft-spoken bureaucrat exuded confidence about a new partnership of pro-poor development between the two countries by shedding decades of distrust and learning from each other's experience.

"It is in our interest to pursue friendly relations. Many things we are doing are similar and many mistakes we have made are almost similar. We believe there is so much we have
Source: IANS
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