To boost trade and infrastructure developments in the South Asian region, India under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is considering setting up a South Asian Development Bank. The commerce department is in talks with the finance ministry to obtain support for this move. This initiative will play a crucial role in facilitating trade within the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region. However, it will be finalised once it receives the approval from the finance ministry and countries associated with SAARC such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal. These are signatories to the South Asian Free Trade Area (Safta) agreement. According to this agreement, developing countries including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had to lower their customs duties down to 20 per cent in the first phase of the two-year period ending in 2007 and to zero by 2016 in phases. But now, a high-level panel headed by the Prime Minister has asked the commerce department to conclude the next round of negotiations on Safta at the earliest.