Citing the region's collaborative effort to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called for greater integration among South Asia and the Indian Ocean island countries to deal with their challenges. "If the 21st century is to be the Asian century, it can not be so without greater integration among the countries of South Asia and the Indian Ocean islands. The spirit of regional solidarity shown during the pandemic has proven that such integration is possible," he said at a workshop on "COVID-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward" with 10 neighboring countries, including those in the extended neighborhood. "Through our openness and determination, we have managed to achieve one of the lowest fatality rates in the world. Today, the hopes of our region and the world are focused on the rapid deployment of vaccines. In this too, we must maintain the same cooperative and collaborative spirit," he said.