Manmohan Singh arrives in Bali for ASEAN and East Asia Summits
Bali (Indonesia), Nov.17 (ANI): Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh arrived here on Thursday to attend the ninth ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit.
Earlier, in his departure statement, which was issued in New Delhi, Dr. Singh said India's partnership with ASEAN is an essential component of the country's "Look East" policy.
He further said: "The level of our engagement with the ASEAN as a group and with individual ASEAN Member States has gone up qualitatively in the last few years. This is reflected in the areas of trade and investment, capacity-building, connectivity, people-to-people and institutional linkages."
"We have agreed upon an ambitious India-ASEAN Plan of Action for 2010-2015. I will review the implementation of the Plan of Action with the ASEAN Leaders," he added.
Stating that next year New Delhi will host the India-ASEAN Summit for the first time to commemorate 20 years of the country's dialogue partnership with ASEAN, Dr. Singh said: "I will have the opportunity to share our ideas for the Commemorative Summit with ASEAN leaders in Bali."
"The East Asia Summit is the principal forum to devise an open and inclusive architecture of regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. This year's Summit will see the formal entry into the East Asia Summit process of the United States and Russia. As a founding member, India is part of several initiatives taken by the East Asia Summit to create an economic community in the region such as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA)," he added.
Asserting that political and security issues are becoming part of the East Asia Summit agenda, Dr. Singh said: "There are concerns among the countries of the region over issues relating to disaster management, maritime security, terrorism and other non-traditional threats to security. I look forward to an open, frank and productive discussion on all these issues."
On the margins of the India-ASEAN and East Asia Summits, Dr. Singh said: "I will have the opportunity to meet other world leaders, including the President of Indonesia who is hosting the Summit, the President of the USA, Premier of the State Council of China and the Prime Minister of Cambodia."
During his visit to Bali, Dr. Singh is also expected to pitch for securing Free Trade Agreements in services with the 10 ASEAN members on the sidelines of the two-day summit in Bali.
Prime Minister Singh is likely to impress upon the 10-nation grouping to conclude the India-ASEAN Free Trade agreement in services, as the one on goods has already been signed in January 2010.
He also expected to meet with U.S.President Barack Obama on Friday, and according to informed sources, the two leaders are likely to discuss the next steps in the inking of the nuclear cooperation liability law, besides assessing bilateral, regional and multilateral developments of mutual interest to the two countries.
Briefing reporters here on Tuesday, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Sanjay Singh, said: "We have been having regularly India-ASEAN discussions on taking the India-ASEAN trade in goods and enhancing it to investments and services also. This is in progress and we hope that we should be able to reach a successful conclusion".
India's increased interest in strengthening economic ties with ASEAN was also reflected in Prime Minister's departure statement in which he termed the partnership with ASEAN as an essential component of India's "Look East" policy.
Singh further said: "The level of our engagement with the ASEAN as a group and with individual ASEAN member states has gone up qualitatively in the last few years. This is reflected in the areas of trade and investment, capacity-building, connectivity, people-to-people and institutional linkages".
"We have agreed upon an ambitious India-ASEAN Plan of Action for 2010-2015. I will review the implementation of the Plan of Action with the ASEAN Leaders," the Prime Minister added.
India is aiming to achieve a target of about 70 billion dollars by 2012.
The Prime Minister will also be undertaking his first bilateral visit to Singapore as head of government.
Describing Singapore as one of India's key partners in the region, Dr. Singh said: "India's "Look East" policy started with our engagement with Singapore, and that country has been among the strongest advocates of greater cooperation between South East Asia and India."
"Singapore is our largest trading partner in ASEAN, and the second largest investor in India. It was the first country with which we signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement in 2005. Currently, we are in the process of a second review of this agreement to make it work better for both of us," Singh said in his departure statement.
"There is a large and vibrant Indian community in Singapore, including several Indian companies and students. I look forward to holding wide-ranging discussions with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other distinguished leaders of Singapore on deepening our economic, trade, cultural and people-to-people relations. I particularly look forward to unveiling a Marker and Bust of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in Singapore," he added. (ANI)
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