India for regional approach to meltdown at ASEAN meet

April 10th, 2009 - 1:12 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Ahead of the ASEAN and an East Asia summit, India Thursday underlined the need for developing regional synergies to deal with the global financial crisis of “unprecedented dimensions”.
Commerce Minister Kamal Nath will represent India at the its summit meeting with 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be held at Pattaya in Thailand Saturday.

He will also represent India at the fourth 16-nation East Asia summit comprising 10 ASEAN nations, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, to held in Thailand Sunday.

Kamal Nath will be standing in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the latter is unable to go due to his engagements related to electoral campaigning ahead of the 15th Lok Sabha elections.

Evolving a collective regional approach to mitigating global meltdown will top the agenda at both the summits.

The seventh India-ASEAN summit is “being held at a crucial time in global affairs.

“There is a financial crisis of unprecedented dimensions, which is calling into question the economic processes unleashed by globalisation,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

“In the context of the current global economic slowdown, developing regional synergies is imperative for dealing with the recessionary trends,” the ministry said.

India, a dialogue partner with the ASEAN, will focus on further boosting its economic and commercial engagement with Southeast Asian countries. However, a landmark Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement, which is said to be in its final stage, is not likely to be signed at the summit, official sources said.

Differences relating to duty cuts and market protection for certain items, particularly relating to agriculture, still remain to be resolved.

The decision on signing the FTA is likely to be taken by the new government which is formed after the April-May elections.

The ASEAN countries, which have badly suffered due to a decline in their exports to slowing economies of the US and Japan, are mulling to set up a fund of foreign exchange, estimated to be around $120 billion, to fight the global downturn.

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