Prime Minister Narendra Modi today reminded SAARC members of the brave security personnel who laid down their lives protecting others during the Mumbai terror attacks on this day in 2008, and reaffirmed India`s resolve to combat terrorism, even as he called for greater integration of South Asia.
"We remember the horrific terror attacks in Mumbai on this day in 2008 and pay homage to the innocent men and women who lost their lives. We salute the brave security personnel who laid down their lives to protect several lives on that fateful day. They are our true heroes. Today is a day to reaffirm our commitment to work together to combat the menace of terror and uproot it from the face of humankind," the prime minister said.
He said the barriers of boundaries inhibit progress while partnerships add speed to economic development. Because, he said, in the life of an individual or a nation, a good neighbourhood is a universal aspiration.
He said there is a more urgent need for collective efforts in South Asia than anywhere else as we all face the same challenges, irrespective of size, in the path of development.
''But, I have great belief in our boundless potential; and, confidence - that comes from the many inspiring stories of innovation and initiative in each of our countries. There is much to learn from each other; even more - to do together,'' he said.
Modi called upon SAARC members to end cynicism and scepticism as the region is throbbing with the optimism of its youth.
While each SAARC member has taken own initiatives, as a group SAARC has failed to move with the necessary speed.
This, he said, cannot be explained away as part of the region's inherited development gap, which should actually have spurred members to do more.
We should not ''get stuck behind the walls of our differences and remain hesitant to move out of the shadows of the past as it won`t resolve our differences, but will certainly deprive us of opportunities,'' he said.
He said doing business in the region will ensure that our facilities at the border will speed up, not slow down, trade.