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New Delhi to host India-ASEAN summit in 2012
New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS):
Published on 21 Jan. 2010 11:42 PM IST
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New Delhi will host the India-ASEAN summit in 2012 to mark the 10th anniversary of its summit-level dialogue with the 10-nation bloc, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Thursday. Calling for greater cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, Krishna said India sees the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as “a key element of an Asian economic community architecture that would help bring peace and prosperity” to the region. “We have diversified and strengthened our relations with the ASEAN countries and stepped up our bilateral relations to the strategic level with some countries of the region,” Krishna said at the second edition of the Delhi Dialogue in which several experts and industrialists of India and ASEAN countries are participating. The theme of the dialogue is ‘India and South East Asia in the Changing Regional Economic Dynamics of Asia: Shared Interests and Concerns’. Buoyed by the coming into force of the India-ASEAN free trade area agreement in goods on Jan 1 this year, Krishna expressed the hope that “agreements on trade-in-services and investment would also be concluded as soon as possible”. Alluding to India’s burgeoning ties with ASEAN since the Indian government launched its Look East Policy in the 1990s, Krishna said New Delhi was ready to allocate up to $50 million to support a slew of initiatives to promote greater cooperation among the two sides. These initiatives, announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 7th India-ASEAN summit in Thailand, included the establishment of an India-ASEAN Round Table comprising think tanks, policy makers, scholars, media and business representatives; intensification of negotiations on an open skies policy; further simplification of the visa regime to encourage business and tourist travel; and more youth exchange programmes. Manmohan Singh had also proposed enhanced cooperation in the agriculture sector and space technologies. Krishna also underlined the need for greater synergy between India and ASEAN countries to get “an effective voice in the international financial architecture and a new global economic order”. The government’s announcement coincides with the five-day state visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammed Najib Tun Abdul Razak who landed here Tuesday.

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