Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The first UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) Centre for South-South [developing countries] Industrial Cooperation (UCSSIC) was launched in New Delhi on Thursday by Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath at a function presided over by the Director General of UNIDO, Kandeh Yumkella.

"India has as much to learn as to teach, as much as to receive as to give. We see the centre as a project which is global in its reach and scope,'' Mr. Kamal Nath said in his keynote address. "The role of South-South cooperation in linking development, the expansion of trade, and poverty reduction is not a new subject. However, it faces new challenges and has a greater potential today,'' Mr. Yumkella observed.

He said recent initiatives heralded a `new' UNIDO with focus on linkages between industrial development and trade, especially through value-addition and technological innovations.

The UNIDO DG and Mr. Kamal Nath emphasised the need to ensure that the benefits of industrial growth were evenly spread.

Some of the new major players in global industry and trade are developing countries a group known simply as the South.

In the last 25 years, the share of the South in world manufacturing and exports has doubled and South-South trade is rapidly increasing. In March last year, a UNIDO team discussed the proposal with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confirmed India's commitment to this project, leading to the formal launch of the centre.