I am very optimistic
30 April, 2010 – There is desire to move forward and a special chemistry that is now going to enable better cooperation among SAARC member countries, according to the SAARC chairman, Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley.
At a press conference yesterday evening after the Summit he told journalists that member states agreeing on the unimplemented plans of action was in itself a demonstration of the desire. “In practice there were difficulties. But the kind of spirit that has been generated at this summit and the resultant declaration demonstrates that we have found ways to remove the hindrances,” said the prime minister. “I am very optimistic,”
He said that one of the reasons why many of the programmes could not be implemented was because of lack of resources coupled with lack of will. “But now with the establishment of SAARC development fund (SDF) we’ll be able to mobilise the kind of resources that we need and with the commitments that you have heard from certain countries members and outside, I think we will have a good amount of resource available for various kinds of programmes.”
Lyonchhoen said that several programmes are for the under-privileged- for maternal and childcare, women empowerment, poverty alleviation, environment.
On interaction among the people of south Asia, he said the need to enhance connectivity in the SAARC region is a common feeling, and as a result now, the chair has been mandated to arrange for an intergovernmental meeting to recommend ways and means to promote multimodal travel in South Asia. “Beyond that, the fact that a summit of south Asian journalists was held is a manifestation of the reality that there is collaboration, cooperation, interaction among the community of journalists,” he said adding that there were interactions at various level -business community, industrialists and traders.
There was considerable amount of interactions among writers and publishers while a youth forum is also being established. “We are going to establish a SAARC forum, where journalists, scientists, farmers and politicians will be able to come together and make recommendations on what the future of SAARC should be so that we can together craft a vision for south Asia,” said the Lyonchhoen.
Lyonchhoen also indicated the establishment of new embassies in Bhutan in the future. “We cannot establish as many missions as we would like because Bhutan is a small corner in the world and not many think that there are opportunities and reasons why they should spend money is establishing mission here,” he said. “How many SAARC countries will have or want to establish embassy is something we will begin to hear in the very near future.”
On the visa regime journalists ask at every SAARC gathering, Lyonchhoen said the visa and movement has been the attention of the association and continues to be so. He said that while there is the desire to promote easy travel among the people of our countries, a host of compelling reason has impeded it.
“With growing trust and understanding, with reduction of cross border crime including terrorism, hopefully SAARC countries will be able to overcome all constraints and reasons that have made it difficult to liberalise visas,” he said.