Prime minister Manmohan Singh has called for increased lending of long-term resources by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to boost investments in the much needed infrastructure sectors in India and the region, so as to sustain and improve growth momentum.
He said institutional funding becomes necessary as governments are short of resources and the private sector is not so forthcoming in sectors that require long-gestation investments.
''As investments in infrastructure are inherently long-term, and the private sector continues to be risk averse in many cases, a concerted global effort towards infrastructure financing and investment has to be high on the global agenda. This is where multilateral and regional development banks come in,'' the prime minister said while addressing the 46th annual meeting of ADB.
Addressing the opening session of the meeting, he also called on the multilateral agency to introduce innovative instruments that would cater to long-term infrastructure needs of the region.
The prime minister said the level of lending that ADB can sustain is, however, projected to come down. ''At this juncture, ADB should take the initiative to find innovative ways to channelise global savings into infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific. ADB's good rating and technical expertise can be leveraged to raise resources in domestic and international markets through appropriate instruments,'' Singh said.
He also suggested a pooling of investments across various countries in order to mitigate risks and a further reduction of risks through credit enhancement by the ADB.
Expanding infrastructure financing and investment through the intermediation of the ADB could help lower the cost of financing long-term infrastructure projects, he pointed out.
Regional cooperation and integration among countries in Asia and the Pacific can play a critical role in accelerating the process of economic growth, reducing poverty and economic disparities.
The importance of building cross-border infrastructure, of eliminating trade and investment barriers, and of cooperation, including regional transfers of technology on clean air and energy, energy efficiency, water resources management, control of communicable diseases, and management of natural disasters cannot be over-emphasised, he said.
''We believe that promoting regional cooperation is the key mandate of the agreement that created the ADB and a testament to the sagacity of the founding fathers of this great institution,'' Singh said.
India, he said, is a firm believer in the benefits of regional integration and is committed to promoting it.
We stand committed to deep engagement with the countries of East and Southeast Asia in almost all areas, especially in livelihood security, food security, healthcare, education, skill development and clean and renewable energy, he said.
Both India and the ADB have a strong commitment to a common agenda in making the growth processes more inclusive and sustainable, he added.