Manila: India today said it views the 16-member forum of the East Asia Summit (EAS) as an opportunity to create a regional architecture for cooperation and deeper integration in the Asia Pacific region.
“We also expect that the East Asia Summit would help us to work towards the vision articulated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of an Asian economic community, that would stretch from the Himalayas to the Pacific, linked by efficient road, rail, air and shipping services,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told foreign ministers of the EAS countries here.
Such a community would constitute an “arc of advantage” across which there would be large scale movement of people, capital, ideas and creativity, he said. India is one of the founding members of the exclusive EAS which includes the ASEAN countries, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and China.
The minister also hoped that the renewed interest in Asia’s Buddhist heritage would rekindle ancient links between East and South Asia and will help the countries to come closer together.
”We welcome the interest of our EAS partners in the revival of the Nalanda University and are willing to work with them towards this endeavour. I am happy to report that the Nalanda Mentor Group formed under the chairmanship of well-known economist and Nobel Laureate Dr Amartya Sen and comprising many distinguished scholars, has begun its work,“ Mukherjee said.
India has also proposed to hold a meeting of the EAS countries on Disaster Management in November 2007. Mukherjee said India also looked forward to the participation its EAS partners at the Asian conference on Avian Influenza likely to be organised in New Delhi this year.