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New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) As the West reels under financial crisis, Kuwait and other Gulf nations have urged India to play an active and important role in transforming the Asian continent into an Asian Union.
Mohd Abdullah Abul Hasan, advisor to Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed Al Sabah, met Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Friday and held wide-ranging discussions on the developments in the Middle East as well as promoting cooperation between Asian nations.
Hasan described his talks with Khurshid as positive and said that India, an emerging economy and the largest democracy in the world, could take a lead in integrating the Asian region.
He said that Kuwait and other Arab nations are eager to transform the Asian continent into a union, to make the region better able to negotiate with the rest of the world, and contribute to peace and prosperity.
"Our purpose is to integrate various regional fora like SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), GCC (Gulf ooperation Council) and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) to usher in an era of peace in the region," Hasan said.
"India's response was very positive, and it has assured us that it will take steps in this direction," Hasan said, adding that this would be the right time for Asia to consolidate and enhance cooperation in various fields, especially trade and investment.
Kuwait recently held the first Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) summit, which was attended by over 17 heads of state and government, including presidents of Afghanistan, Iran, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and the prime minister of Pakistan.
Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed had represented India at the two-day summit, at which Kuwait announced a 300-million dollar fund for socio-economic development of Asian nations.
Scores of Arab investors and financial companies who have incurred huge losses by investing in Western nations are now struggling to recoup, and shifting attention to Asia in view of the high growth rate in many Asian nations like India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.