India has also expressed hope that the international community will put in place holistic frameworks to help Landlocked Developing Countries to achieve their development objectives and sustain robust economic growth.

"As the global community charts a new path for development in the post-2015 period with the overarching objective of ending poverty and giving a life of dignity to all, the new development agenda for the Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) would need to address their concerns in a holistic manner," General (Retd) Vijay Kumar Singh, India's Minister of State for External Affairs said.

Addressing the 2nd UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries in Vienna yesterday, Singh said it was imperative that LLDCs are able to generate and sustain robust economic growth and structurally transform their economies to be able to overcome the negative effects of their geographic constraints.

"The new development agenda must also ensure enhanced availability of international financial and technological support to LLDCs in the spirit of a strengthened global partnership for their development," he said.

Singh said India was deeply sensitive to the unique challenges faced by the landlocked developing countries on account of their geography but stressed that these challenges can be overcome.

"India enjoys close and historical ties with its landlocked neighbours and attaches the highest priority to further enhancing our friendly and good neighbourly relations, including through the strengthening of trade relations and cooperation on transit issues," he said.

Noting that the new Indian government has put a renewed emphasis on building the linkages between the countries in its immediate neighbourhood, Singh highlighted India's historic cultural and economic ties with the LLDCs in its region including Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan.

"India has a longstanding tradition of being a reliable partner in south-south cooperation sharing our limited means and expertise in a spirit of solidarity," he said.

While this is not a substitute for the development assistance such as the Official development assistance (ODA) by the developed countries, we remain committed to continue our development partnership through trade measures, concessional loans and grants, training and scholarships and other forms of joint ventures, he said.

Singh, however, added that the LLDCs as a group continue to face daunting developmental challenges due to constraints imposed by their geographical location.

"Despite high growth rates, the share of LLDCs in global trade remains modest and restricted to a few product. Landlocked developing countries remain fragile and vulnerable to external shocks, not only because of their high transport and transit costs, but also due to their lack of economic diversification, limited productive capacities and low export competitiveness," he said.

He said that an effective solution to the problems faced by LLDCs must also address the constraints and challenges faced by the transit developing countries that neighbour landlocked developing countries in a holistic and integrated manner.

"It is important therefore for the international community, development partners and the international organisations to give equal emphasis to supporting the efforts of the transit developing countries," he said.

"India believes that for an equitable, balanced and sustainable global growth, it is a must that the fruits of development and progress be shared with others," Singh added as he highlighted the financial contribution of 100,000 dollars by Government of India for the organisation of the
conference in Vienna.

India has been in discussion with the Governments of Iran and Afghanistan for collaboration on a project to develop Iran's Chahbahar Port which will greatly improve Afghanistan's access to the sea, and provide a significant boost to the economic reconstruction effort in the western parts of the country, he said.

Singh assured India's assistance and continued cooperation with the LLDCs to help them in achieving their development objectives.

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