Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma on Friday termed as “path breaking” the meeting of trade ministers of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOC-ARC) that has marked a beginning towards bringing in shared development and prosperity for the member-countries.
A key feature of this conference was the high participation of the small and medium enterprises from most member-states.
The draft communique released at the end of the conference has identified ‘Open Regionalism’ as a concept to be developed, which would be based on trade as the integral factor in promoting economic cooperation and development.
“The region is home to the sea lanes that keep the global trade flowing and is home to two-thirds of the global oil reserves and one-third of the gas reserves. We have emphasised cooperation in maritime security, technology and institution building to facilitate trade,” Sharma said.
Sharma added that member-states of the IOC-ARC are also a part of other regional groupings such as SAARC, ASEAN, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the South Asian Customs Union (SACU) and India is already in talks that are in different stages of progress with these countries towards easing barriers to trade, and would work towards stimulating growth and development in line with their WTO obligations.