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Press Release - India-Least Developed Countries...
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Press Release -India – Least Developed Countries Ministerial Conference February 18-19, 2011 New Delhi 

1. Government of India organized its first ever Ministerial Conference focusing on the 48 Least Developed countries termed by the United Nations as the "poorest" and the "most vulnerable to external shocks" among developed countries. The theme of the Conference was "Harnessing the Positive Contribution of South-South Cooperation for the Development of Least Developed Countries (LDCs)." Thirty five ministerial representatives and 45 Ambassadors (Permanent Representatives) to the United Nations of the LDCs and several observers including USA, EU and China participated in the Conference which concluded on February 19, 2011. Turkey was a special invitee in its capacity as the host of UN LDC-IV in Istanbul in May 2011.

2. The visitors began with a call on the Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh yesterday morning when India’s commitment to the cause of the LDCs was reiterated at the highest level. In his inaugural address, the External Affairs Minister Shri S.M. Krishna noted that in the last forty years the number of LDCs had increased from 25 to 48 which was unacceptable. He said that the socio-economic development of LDCs, without which there can be no equitable global growth and prosperity, should be taken up on a war footing. He noted that this required sincere and innovative approaches to development. In this regard the theme of the Conference - Harnessing the Positive Contribution of South-South Cooperation for the Development of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) – had seminal relevance. The Minister also cautioned that South-South cooperation should be seen as a supplement to North –South Cooperation and not as a substitute to it. He also announced new Indian initiatives for the LDCs in the Conference – (i) 5 additional scholarships per year to each LDC under the Indian Technical &Economic Cooperation Programme, (ii) USD 5 million for follow up activities consequent to the UN LDC-IV Conference in Istanbul and (iii) USD 500 million credit line earmarked for projects and programmes of the LDCs over the next five years. The External Affairs Minister hosted a Banquet dinner on February 18, 2011 at the Hyderabad house in honour of the visiting delegations.

3. The Conference was addressed by 45 heads of delegation. Four presentations were made by India on - (i) India’s ITEC program, (ii) Duty Free Quota Preference Scheme introduced by India in 2008 specifically addressed to the LDCs, (iii) The Indian credit line regime by EXIM Bank and (iv) Africa E-Connectivity programme by Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd.

4. Deliberations during the Conference resulted in the "Delhi Declaration". It was released by Foreign Secretary Smt Nirupama Rao on February 19 before the concluding ceremony. The Declaration noted that addressing extreme poverty, building productive capacity through structural transformation, spurring economic growth, enhancing participation in international trade and building resilience against vulnerabilities were key development challenges of the LDCs. It further called for strengthening of international support mechanisms in favour of LDCs for augmenting Official Development Assistance (ODA), South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation for a comprehensive implementation of the Istanbul Program of Action to be finalized in May 2011. The Declaration thanked Government of India for organizing what was termed an important conference in the run up to UN LDC-IV. The Conference was concluded by Hon’ble Minister of State (MOS) Shri E Ahmed. MOS thanked all the visiting delegations for their expressions of appreciation and gratitude to India for hosting the Ministerial Conference.

5. The India – LDC Ministerial Conference was the first of its kind organized by India on LDCs. It informed and highlighted to the participants the development cooperation instruments available to them from India some of which were in existence for several decades and some others which have a more recent origin. The Conference helped us in understanding the requirements of LDCs better and helped them in appreciating not only Indian multilateral initiatives in support of the cause of the LDCs but also our instruments of bilateral development cooperation available to them.

 
 
 


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