Ajay Kaul, Jakarta, Apr 23 (PTI) Observing that breathtaking pace of change in the current times offered an "opportunity and a responsibility to act decisively", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said India and Pakistan had ventured on a journey towards peace and good neighbourly relations amid a "sincere" desire to resolve all issues in a "mutally- acceptable manner."
Addressing the Asian-African Summit here, he said "past rancours" can be transcended and new initiatives taken to "create new cooperative mechanisms and regional partnerships." "The breathtaking pace of change in our times gives us an opportunity and a responsibility to act decisively," Singh told the leaders of 106 countries.
"We can transcend past rancours and take initiatives to create new cooperative mechanisms and regional partnerships," he said adding that "in this spirit, in cooperation with Pakistan, we have embarked upon a journey towards peace and good neighbourly ties."
Referring to his interaction with Musharraf at the dinner hosted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono here yesterday, the Prime Minister said "I appreciate the positive sentiments expressed" by the Pakistan President which I fully reciprocate."
"We are sincere in our desire to resolve all issues in a mutually acceptable manner," Singh asserted, adding "this will surely bring benefit to our peoples and to our region.
Quoting former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, he said "when we march in step with history, success would be ours."
The Prime Minister told the conference being held to commemorate the 1955 Bandung Summit that absence of international consensus created insecurity rather than security in the world and global solutions were needed to meet the challenges posed by terrorism and HIV/AIDS.
He said new structures of mutual support, solidarity and cooperation should be created to ensure benefit of best practices and appropriate technologies available. "Along with opportunities, globalisation brings with it new challenges. The globalisation of disease and insecurity and the management of scarce natural resources are challenges that confront us," Singh said.
"The threat of pandemics such as avian flu, the challenges by HIV/AIDS and terrorism, all require global solutions," he said.
He noted that a cooperative and consensual international security eludes us and its consequence of insecurity, not common security.
Singh said the countries of Asia and Africa had their own "distinct perspectives on measures to combat international terrorism".
"We are well-equipped to initiate and sustain meaningful dialogues among civilisations, instead of subscribing to the theory of the so-called clash of civilisations," the Prime Minister said, adding "our voice must be heard in this regard."
Regretting that South-South linkages have weakened "when they are most required", he emphasised greater cohesion between nations of Asia and Africa in the transition from dependence to inter-dependence.
"India sees South-South Cooperation as an effective cooperative approach to the challenges of development. We are committed to this objective," he said.
Recalling that the 1955 Bandung Conference had inspired the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) with which Nehru was closely associated, Singh said that meet was a "defining event" in modern history.
"The world has changed dramatically these past decades. Colonialism and apartheid have been comprehensively defeated," he said, adding "we stand at a cusp of change".
He said barring the "brave Palestinian people", most peoples of the two continents have achieved freedom or statehood. Pointing out that a "new cooperative global structure" today was within reach, Singh said the proliferation of regional associations promises considerable benefits through mutual cooperation.
Rapid economic development and technological progress, he said, are generating unprecedented changes.
"Although mass poverty still afflicts millions of people in Africa and Asia, most countries experiencing growth in excess of five per cent are in these two continents," the prime Minister said.
"We live in a world of falling barriers to trade and rising living standards," he said.
Singh told the assembly of leaders of Asian and African countries that there was a need to respond in a manner worthy of Bandung spirit to meet the new challenges and constraints.
He said the New Asian African Strategic Partnership to be adopted at the Summit outlines guiding principles for joint action to achieve the goals in a changed global environment.
"It must awaken a global conscience that recognises the moral imperatives of social justice, poverty alleviation and core elements of our Millennium Development Goals," Singh said.
Noting that Bandung Conference remains a "source of inspiration", Singh appreciated convening of the Asian African Summit as it commemorates the "internationalism of visionary leaders" like Nehru.
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