The conflict between India and Pakistan has for long prevented integration between the South Asian countries, former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga said om New Delhi on Tuesday.Speaking at the inauguration of the three-day Raisina Dialogue, a global conclave on geo-politics and geo-economics, Kumaratunga said that while cooperation and economic integration proceeded very fast in the rest of the world, economic integration in South Asia was very slow, IANS reported. “The India-Pakistan conflict prevented regional integration,” she said. The former Sri Lankan president called for a paradigm shift from the old attitude of the South Asian countries towards each other.“Mutual understanding and cooperation will strengthen democracy in the region,” she said.“In the emerging regional environment, national security concerns should compel us to cooperate with each other.” Kumaratunga said that Sri Lanka could be a bridge for all South Asian nations as it has good relations with all of them.She also called for developing of soft power through tourism and people-to-people contact.With the theme of “Connecting Asia” this year, the flagship conference called Raisina Dialogue 2016, organised by the external affairs ministry and the Observer Research Foundation, is designed to explore and examine the prospects and opportunities for Asian integration as well as Asia’s integration with the larger world. “This generation has left behind the baggage of conflict,” Kumaratunga said.Calling for a pragmatic action plan for regional integration, she said South Asia stood to gain from such an integration as the region has the largest number of poor people. Over 450 participants from around 40 countries are participating in this year’s conference. (Colombo Gazette) Reducing regional trading costs, moving beyond the differences between India and Pakistan, more travel by people between the South Asian countries and large investments in infrastructure were among the steps she suggested for regional integration. However, she said things were likely to change now with the rise of the post-Partition generation.
Police are hunting a gang who carried out a terrifying robbery on an upmarket Chelsea jewellers, before escaping on mopeds. The raiders, who were armed with sledgehammers, burst into a branch of Boodles in Basil Street, Chelsea just after 10.30am on Wednesday.A video of the raid showed smoke pouring from the front of the store.It was feared that the gang may have used smoke bombs to disorientate staff, but there were suggestions it may have been part of the store security system. Forensic investigators outside Boodles after the raidCredit:Amer Ghazzal/Alamy Live News Police said they smashed a number of display cabinets before grabbing jewellery and making their escape on scooters.Boodles, which was founded in 1798, specialises in diamond jewellery and also stocks watches worth many thousands of pounds. The gang appeared to use a smoke bomb to disorientate staffCredit:TWITTER/@F0OD1SAMAZING Police said nobody had been hurt in the raid and there had been no arrests at this stage. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Police are investigating after the robbery of a jewellers in Chelsea.”Police were called at 10:37hrs on Wednesday, 16 August to reports of a robbery at a jewellers in Basil Street at junction with Sloane Street, SW1. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “A number of suspects had arrived on motor scooters, entered the store and then used hammers to smash their way through counter displays.”The robbers removed property from the displays and then made off on the bikes.” Forensic investigators analysing the scene following the robberyCredit:Amer Ghazzal / Alamy Live News