The Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government is planning to develop a five year plan towards regional integration amongst South Asian nations. This is in line with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to forge close ties with South Asian nations.
The government aims to conclude Safta in services with SAARC countries at the earliest. India’s exports to SAARC registered 14.71% growth in 2013-14 at $17.3 billion.
Besides working up on infrastructure development along the borders, it aims to identify specific value chains that run through different countries viz., the SAARC countries which include India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal.
The FTP statement released focuses on sectors such as textiles, leather, tourism, auto components, chemicals and health care, that are important to the region.
Besides intensifying efforts at infrastructure development, India will also promote multimodal connectivity, including inland waterways, towards the vision of a seamless South. In order to engage with the SAARC countries, the commerce department has laid down an eight-point strategy.