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India an important aspect in growth, stability, and development of Asia Pacific region

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Washington: India’s Ambassador to the US Arun Singh said on Tuesday that India is “a politico-economic opportunity” for the Asia Pacific, which could play a significant role in growth, development and stability of the region.

India’s participation in the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum could also help consolidate India’s quest to speed up growth and to integrate closer with its neighbouring Asia-Pacific economies, he said here on Tuesday.

“India represents a politico-economic opportunity for APEC,” Singh said, during a discussion at the Indian embassy, on “India and the APEC Opportunity” over a new report brought out by the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI).

The envoy noted that India was a G20 country and member of the East Asia Summit and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), “whose economic and political weight is bound to increase in the coming years”.

“We believe that India could play an important role within APEC for growth, development and stability of the region,” he said.

“In turn, membership of APEC would help India in integrating further with economies of the region, resulting in a win-win situation for all,” Singh said.

“It can also help India become familiar and more involved with the sweeping changes taking place in the region towards reducing transaction costs, improving connectivity and supply chain linkages, strengthening human capital development, and building sustainable and inclusive communities,” he said.

“Today Asia is witnessing a consolidation of competing mega-regional trade agreements,” Singh said, citing the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the RCEP, and APEC promoted Free Trade Area for the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).

“While India is part of RCEP, it is not involved in TPP or FTAAP. Yet, India has already become a ‘strategic partner’ of several APEC member countries and all, but four, APEC member countries already have or are pursuing trade agreements with India bilaterally or multilaterally, including China.”

“India joining the APEC forum can bring India’s economic integration with the region to a level-matching its strategic partnership with the APEC members and groups like ASEAN,” he said.

In its new report, “India’s Future in Asia: The APEC Opportunity”, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) highlights the significant benefits that would accrue to India, APEC members, and the region as a result of India joining the forum.

It also outlines the obstacles that stand in the way of Indian membership and the potential steps that India and APEC could take to address these impediments. (Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Facebook Introduces an Online Education Portal in Asia Pacific

The programme has been launched in Singapore first. "We also plan to bring this programme beyond Asia Pacific to Argentina and Mexico," said Facebook

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

In a bid to train one million people across eight countries in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020, Facebook has introduced an online education portal called “We Think Digital”.

The portal with interactive tutorials is aimed at helping people think critically and share thoughtfully online. The initiative would cover topics like privacy, safety, security, digital discourse and knowing digital footprint.

“We designed the programme in partnership with experts from across Asia Pacific,” Clair Deevy, Director of Community Affairs, Asia Pacific, said in a blog post late Monday.

Asia Pacific has a fast-growing Internet population, with more than 2.21 billion people now online and 203 million new people joining in the past year.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We Think Digital has been designed for new and existing internet users of all ages to develop the skills they need to safely enjoy digital technology, including critical thinking and empathy,” Deevy added.

The series of online tutorials has been developed in collaboration with journalists, academics and representatives from NGOs and civil society organisations across.

Also Read- School Students Protest Against Climate Policy of Their Governments

The programme has been launched in Singapore first. “We also plan to bring this programme beyond Asia Pacific to Argentina and Mexico,” said Facebook. (IANS)