NSA Menon stresses on South Asian integration

New Delhi: Observing that South Asia was one of the fastest growing sub-regions, India today said political differences should not be allowed to stop the processes of regional integration.

"We should not allow political differences to stop the processes of South Asian integration," National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said inaugurating the third Asian Relations Conference.

He noted that South Asia has more than its fair share of insurgency, radicalism, terrorism and extremism. "But none of these issues has prevented South Asia from emerging as one of the fastest growing sub-regions of the world in the past decade and out-performing most other sub-regions," he said.

Menon said it was an open question whether the region has institutions to address the real issues of political instability and security challenges it faced. He urged scholars attending the conference to discuss cooperation in security frameworks and architecture for the South Asian region to address issues like terrorism, maritime security and cyber security.

"The great advance we have made in the past decade is the common realisation throughout the region that we need a peaceful environment to concentrate in what really matters — seeking to provide security and prosperity to our citizens," Menon said.

He pointed out that regional nations have realised that the cost of not doing business with each other have risen sharply. Over 30 scholars and experts are participating in the two-day conference, organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Association of Asian Scholars.