India and other countries in Asia can achieve energy security only with regional cooperation as opposed to competition to satisfy the growing demand given the backdrop of constraints, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has said.
“Energy security is an issue of great importance for the development, progress and well-being of our peoples,” Krishna said, inaugurating the Delhi Dialogue-II conference on regional security and cooperation.
“A regional approach on energy matters can accommodate competing demands and constraints while shifting the focus from competition to cooperation based on mutual interests,” the external affairs minister added.
“In the wake of the recent global financial and economic crisis, which was not of our making, it is imperative to develop greater cooperation among developing countries, so that we have an effective voice in the international financial architecture.”
The event was organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in association with the external affairs ministry and a host of think tanks from the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Krishna said cooperation between India and ASEAN was varied and functional, and included sectors such as trade, investment, science, technology, health, pharmaceuticals, space, agriculture, IT, communications, infrastructure, tourism and culture.
“The India-ASEAN Trade-in-Goods Agreement under a Free Trade Agreement, which came into force on Jan 1, has opened new possibilities for the expansion of trade with the region. We hope agreements on trade-in-services and investment will be concluded soon.”
He said bilateral trade between India and several members of ASEAN, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, had crossed $10 billion each.
“India since the early 1990s has been closely pursuing closer relations with South East Asia and the Pacific regions as envisioned in our ‘Look East Policy’. It is our belief expanding our dialogue and cooperation would greatly contribute to our common endeavour for inclusive socio-economic development of our peoples.”