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    Modi now wants a SAARC bank

    July 24, 2014

    The Narendra Modi government of India plans to call for a SAARC bank in the lines of BRICS bank to take forward its South Asia initiative that started with invitations to regional leaders to attend the prime minister's swearing in ceremony in May, a news report published by the Times of India said.

    The ToI report filed from New Delhi said: “India will propose a SAARC Development Bank at the regional grouping's ministerial council in Bhutan starting Thursday, officials said.

    "Commerce department has come out strongly in support of the South Asia Development Bank as it will go a long way in facilitating regional integration through financing of infrastructure for trade," a government official told ET. "The final call will, however, lie with the partner countries," the person added.

    If agreed by the partner countries, the bank would be the first for the eight-nation regional grouping that will provide countries with access to capital to finance infrastructure for trade facilitation and development.

    It will be on the lines of the $100-billion New Development Bank (NDB) announced by the BRICS grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa last week. While NDB, to be headquartered in Shanghai, will finance infrastructure and development projects across the developing world, the proposed South Asia Development Bank will focus on the eight SAARC nations — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

    Experts said the proposed bank could give a boost to economic development of South Asia.

    "The regional bank could be a turning point in the history of the South-east Asian regional economic development, as it will provide impetus to trade in goods, services and investment for development," said Ram Upendra Das, professor at Research and Information System for Developing Countries, a New Delhi-based autonomous think tank under the ministry of external affairs.

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