India on Friday mooted the idea of a university for the Indian Ocean region.

The proposal was suggested by External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid at the 12th meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC) here on Friday.

“I just flagged the issue. It is a big ticket item. There is a growing need for it. The sense I have is that the idea was well received,” the Minister said at a press conference at the conclusion of the IORARC meeting.

US as partner

Meanwhile, IOR-ARC admitted the US as the 6th dialogue partner and Comoros as the 20th member of the regional grouping.

Commenting on the decision to admit the US, Khurshid said the induction will add “value to the deliberations” and said that the decisions taken by the Grouping will be endorsed globally.

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting states that the Ministers directed the Working Group on Trade and Investment to explore the potential of co-operation in the ports and harbour infrastructure sector, including investment in and upgradation of shipping infrastructure and logistic chains in the region.

This would act as an economic multiplier, facilitating growth in individual rim economies, it adds.

The communique points out that “enhanced connectivity can have a catalytic effect on economic integration by drastically reducing the costs of doing business, and we must find ways of enhancing regional connectivity to realise the full potential of economic cooperation in our region.”

The working group was also directed to take initiatives on customs harmonisation and trade policy among the IOR nations.

ashwini.phadnis@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 2, 2012)
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