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Manmohan Singh to embark on 3-day visit to Cambodia

New Delhi, Sun, 18 Nov 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Nov.18 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, will be leaving on a three-day visit to Cambodian capital Phnom Penh from Sunday (November 18) to attend the 10th ASEAN-India Summit and the 7th East Asia Summit.

He will be accompanied by National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and his Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterjee, besides other officials and Indian media.

India's Dialogue Partnership with the ASEAN countries is one of the cornerstones of its Look East Policy. It is a partnership founded on civilizational ties, an identity of perspective and objectives, capacity-building and connectivity.

According to Sanjay Singh, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, India sees this partnership as a step to further economic growth and prosperity, peace and stability in the region.

From a Sectoral Dialogue Partnership in 1992 and full Dialogue Partnership in 1996, India's partnership with ASEAN was elevated to annual Summits in 2002 and Cambodia hosted the first ASEAN-India Summit in 2002.

During his visit to Phnom Penh, Dr. Singh would meet his ASEAN counterparts in the afternoon of Nov 19 for the 10th ASEAN-India Summit.

The leaders will take cognizance of the intensification of relations since their last meeting in Bali in November 2011. They are expected to discuss the Commemorative Summit which has the theme 'ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace and Shared Prosperity', and which India will host in New Delhi on December 20-21, 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of this relationship and the 10th anniversary of ASEAN-India Summit-level partnership. The Leaders will also receive the Report of the ASEAN-India Eminent Persons Group.

ASEAN-India trade in 2011-12 reached USD 79.3 billion, crossing the target of USD 70 billion by 2012 set in 2009.

Both have a Free Trade Agreement in Goods, which was signed in 2009 and which became fully operational in August 2011. Negotiations are underway on the FTA on Services and Investments.

This intensive sectoral cooperation between ASEAN and India had been identified under the Plan of Action for ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity for 2010-15.

In the politico-security field, India has been participating in the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ADMM+ and the Extended ASEAN Maritime Forum meetings and our ongoing agenda includes cooperation to combat non-traditional threats such as anti-piracy cooperation, combatting terrorism and drug trafficking.

Connectivity with ASEAN, in all its three dimensions, geographical, institutional and people-to-people is a matter of priority. The Trilateral Highway under construction between India, Myanmar and Thailand would connect Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand.

Two flagship events in this commemorative year are the ASEAN-India Car Rally 2012 which will be flagged-off from Yogyakarata on November 26 and an Expedition by INS Sudarshini, a sail training ship of the Indian Navy, which set sail for the ASEAN countries on September 15, 2012 from Kochi on a six month long expedition.

The Prime Minister will also participate in the Seventh East Asia Summit scheduled on November 20.

Leaders would hold discussions in a plenary and a retreat. The five priority areas for regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS include energy, education, finance, natural disaster management and global health and pandemics. The issues of connectivity and regional economic integration were also included in the EAS agenda as priority areas at the 6th EAS. During the Retreat session, the Leaders will exchange views on regional and international issues.

During his visit to Cambodia, PM will also pay his last respects to His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk.

At the 7th EAS, Leaders are expected to consider adoption of the Phnom Penh Declaration on East Asia Summit Development Initiative. They would also consider a Declaration on Regional Response to Malaria Control and Addressing Resistance to Antimalarial Medicines. They would witness the launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

PM will also provide an update to the establishment of the Nalanda University. We have recently set up a Steering Committee to oversee the Global Design Competition.

The Prime Minister will also hold bilateral meetings with his some of his ASEAN and EAS counterparts. (ANI)

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