Addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Yekaterinburg (Russia), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said that India is seeking an external environment conducive to its sustained high economic growth which is necessary to meet its developmental objectives.
"We wish to see peace, prosperity and stability in the region that the SCO represents. We have a lot to gain and learn from each other. It is in this spirit that we approach our engagement with the SCO and its different organs and bodies," Singh said.
"We seek an external environment that is conducive to meeting the aspirations of our people," he said, marking the first address by an Indian Prime Minister at the six-nation grouping in which India is an Observer.
He pointed out that the growth of the Indian economy at an average rate of 8 per cent over the last five years has enabled the country to generate higher investible resources to cater to the needs of our rural economy, the social sector and infrastructure.
"It has also opened up opportunities to intensify our interaction with the outside world in the areas of trade and investment, science and technology, and in the revival of the global economy," Singh said.
Talking about the global financial crisis, he said the economic gains that have been made in the past are today threatened by it.
"We should convert this crisis into an opportunity for much greater economic cooperation between the members of the SCO and India. Between us, we have a vast market, a large industrial base, a talented human resource base and above all, the political will," he said.
The prime minister said the SCO member countries and observers should work together to reform the institutions of global governance, including financial institutions, to bring them in tune with the present and emerging economic realities.
"We can no longer delay giving concrete shape to the concept of sustainable development. The development world needs access to financial resources and environment friendly technologies, especially in energy, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture," the prime minister said.
"We need technology innovations for reduction of energy use by industry and other sectors. We need massive action for afforestation, drought proofing and flood protection. We need action to protect the glaciers that feed our river systems," he said.
Speaking about India's desire to forge closer ties with the SCO countries, he said there is a lot to be gained through strengthening connectivity between the member nations and India.
"We would like to cooperate in finding innovative means to strengthen people-to-people contacts, exchanges of business persons and scholars and trade, investment and technology flows. We would welcome closer cooperation in the fields of energy and food security, and infrastructure development," he said.