The Express Tribune
Published Date: Dec 8, 2015
ISLAMABAD: Speakers have stressed the need to build sustainable transportation and logistics corridors for better connectivity and integration among South Asian countries.
They were speaking at a session a session at the 8th South Asia Economic Summit titled “Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Development in South Asia”, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute here on Monday.
Fellow, Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries, India, Dr Prabir De said that Pakistan’s strategic location was significant and urged the need for an innovative approach to save resources in South Asia and enhanced regional trade between SAARC countries while keeping in view environmental issues.
He also urged for the need of a regional green fund, capacity-building and training and promotion of the South Asia railway network.
Interstate Multi Modal Transport, Nepal, Managing-Director RB Rauniyar said that the connectivity within the region needed improvement. “The connectivity is so poor that there is no direct flight from Nepal to Islamabad and one has to go all the way to UAE first and take a connecting flight from there. If two capitals are not connected, one can only imagine the implications,” he said.
He also stressed the need to fully operationalise the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and further deepening regional economic integration while simplifying and harmonising transport, trade and customs to facilitate transportation of goods and services. He also said that there was a need to establish an efficient, integrated and harmonized transit transport system in South Asia.
Bahria University Prof Dr Nadia Tahir said that there was a need to sort out trade issues first prior to tackling with political issues. “In our region, we concentrate on political problems before sorting out trade issues, which impacts the trade negatively,” she said.
While talking about sustainability, she stressed the need to understand inter-generational harmony and equity.
Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sri Lanka president said that it was encouraging to know that all developing countries were on the rise.
He said that when “we talk about sustainable transport issues, we cannot ignore the means of transportation such as buss because they constitute 57 per cent of transport means.
He further urged the need to give incentives to build sustainable transportation links in the South Asian to improve regional trade.