Saturday, 19 November 2011

India urges ASEAN for FTA’s early conclusion

India urges ASEAN for FTA’s early conclusion in services & investments-India has urged the ASEAN countries for the early conclusion of Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investment sectors.

Addressing the 9th ASEAN-India Summit in Bali, Indonesia, the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh emphasized that this would create a positive atmosphere for the implementation of the India-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

There is already India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement for Trade in Goods with all ASEAN member States. However negotiations are in process with ASEAN for agreement in Services and Investment sectors.

Dr. Singh said that India’s partnership with ASEAN is one of the corner-stones of its foreign policy and the foundation of its ‘Look East’ Policy.

On the trade and economic front, he said that investments from both sides are steadily growing.

India’s trade with ASEAN has increased by 30% last year and has crossed the 50 billion US dollars mark. With such a rate of growth, India should be able to achieve trade target of 70 billion US dollars by 2012.

He said that ASEAN-India cooperation is contributing to the processes of integration and transformation of the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr. Singh pushed for early signing of tourism cooperation between ASEAN and India.

Stating that greater physical connectivity between India and ASEAN was strategically important, he sought early decision on India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway project and its extension to Laos and Cambodia and also development of a new highway linking Vietnam.

Prime Minister welcomed the growing cooperation with ASEAN on maritime security, counter-terrorism, training, exercises and disaster management.

He said, the ASEAN-India cooperation in the fields of science and technology, space and information technology is growing and several projects are under implementation under the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Fund.

He informed that a meeting of Heads of Space Agencies of India and ASEAN has been convened in India in early 2012.

Dr. Singh also extended invitation to ASEAN countries to participate actively in the Nalanda University project.

Elaborating on the activities proposed for the 10th ASEAN-India Summit to be held in India next year, he said that India will organize India-ASEAN Business Fair, ASEAN-India Car Rally and expedition of Training Ship “Sudarshini” to ASEAN countries.

Prime Minister also held bilateral meeting with Dr. H Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia this morning.

AIR Correspondent covering Prime Minister's visit, reports that they discussed wide range issues of mutual interest and developments in the South East Asian region.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh also held bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Australia, Ms. Julia Gillard on the sidelines of ASEAN and related Summits.Media agencies

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