Partnership with ASEAN essential component of India's "Look East" policy: PM
New Delhi, Nov 17 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, today said that partnership with ASEAN is an essential component of India's "Look East" policy.
In his statement issued while departing for Indonesia and Singapore, Dr. Singh said: "I am leaving today on a tour of South East Asia during which I will visit Indonesia and Singapore. I will attend the 9th India-ASEAN Summit and the 6th East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia."
"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."
He further said: "I attach great importance to my first bilateral visit to Singapore as Prime Minister. Singapore is a key partner for us in the region."
" 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," he added.
Asserting that Singapore is our largest trading partner in ASEAN, and the second largest investor in India, Dr. Singh said: " 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.
"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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