LAHORE - SAARC Chamber President Suraj Vaidya on Tuesday, reiterating his pledge, said that concrete and result oriented steps should be taken for greater economic integration by fully exploiting all indigenous natural resources for the progress and prosperity of the people in the whole region of South Asia.

Suraj Vaidya, presiding over the high level SAARC Chamber 72nd Executive Committee and 22nd General Assembly meetings of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that in an increasingly developed world, the objectives of peace, freedom, social justice and economic prosperity are best achieved in the South Asian region by fostering mutual understanding, good neighbourly relations and meaningful cooperation among the member states which are bound by ties of history and culture," says a press statement issued here Tuesday.

On this occasion, SAARC Chamber Pakistan Chapter Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik underscored that unless strong commitment was shown by all nations in the region towards respecting and honoring sovereign equality, the progress of SAARC will keep getting hampered.

He said SAARC should adopt a global approach and should focus on a wide range of activities like poverty alleviation, improvement of the health sector, trade and commerce in the region.

“It is imperative that India and Pakistan being the biggest economies must solve their bilateral issues through dialogues,” he added. He said SAARC needs to expand its vision and be more inclusive and open to establish new linkages with interactions among private and informal sectors being important.

Iftikhar Malik also said that the first challenge at the face of South Asia is apprehending the volatile global order. Bringing to the fore a novel concept, technocracy, he said, can be argued to be a viable model in resolving the issues besetting the region as liberal democracy has proven to be a model that does not deliver efficient results. Asia could drift towards a technocracy – a model operated by technical experts and expert government servants which deliver quick results, he concluded.

He said that SAARC Chamber has been proactively advocating stronger commercial and economic relations, for a prosperous and integrated South Asia. Since its inception, SAARC CCI has played an integral role in providing an institutional framework for promoting economic and regional cooperation in South Asia.

He further stated that SAARC should adopt a global approach and should focus on a wide range of activities like poverty alleviation, improvement of the health sector, trade and commerce in the region.

He said South Asia comprises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 3.8% of the global economy. The respective governments are trying to give its people a much higher quality of life racked by high illiteracy, dismissal health care and sanitation.

He remarked that initiatives may be taken to utilize the potential of cooperation in the areas of tourism and energy of the region. He said that with a view to ensuring trade facilitation in the region the problems regarding SAARC VISA Sticker, removal of trade barriers including NTMs, acceptance of standard certificate, limitations of infrastructure in the land ports, etc should be removed.