Manmohan leaves for Singapore to attend a crucial ASEAN summit today

November 20th, 2007 - 12:22 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Nov 20 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday left for Singapore to attend the 6th India-ASEAN Summit and the 3rd East Asia Summit, where he will also be meeting with his Chinese and Japanese counterparts, Wen Jiabao and Yasuo Fukuda respectively.
With the Left Front allowing the UPA government to start formal negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for India-specific safeguards that would start the process of operationalising the Indo-US nuclear deal, Singh’s meetings with Jiabao and Fukuda on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit have gained significance, since both the countries are members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
The NSG needs to amend its charter to allow India to take part in the global nuclear trade.
Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, told media persons that India will be talking to IAEA very soon. However, he refused to disclose any stipulated timeframe for the talks.
Another issue, which is likely to dominate at the summit, is the ongoing turmoil in Myanmar, where the military junta launched a crackdown on pro-democracy supporters.
As the United States mounts pressure on the ASEAN leaders to take a tough stance on Myanmar’s military junta, Singh is expected to follow a cautious approach.
India has so far given a muted response, and has been pressing for dialogue with Myanmar, a member of the ASEAN group, rather than imposing sanctions against it.
In a significant development, UN envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari’s scheduled meeting with the ASEAN leaders has been reportedly cancelled, due to the strong opposition lodged by Myanmar.
Gambari had been invited to brief Southeast Asian leaders and their counterparts from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea about his two recent visits to Myanmar, where he held several rounds of discussion with the military junta and the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
This is the first time when top leaders of the ASEAN countries are meeting after the crackdown on pro-democracy supporters in Mynamar that left scores of people and monks dead.
Singh will also review the progress made on the capacity building projects, which were decided during the last summit in Cebu. Singh will also be pushing for Free Trade Agreement on goods with ASEAN members that are presently being negotiated. (ANI)

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