President for enhanced relations with Laos, Cambodia

September 9th, 2010 - 11:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Thursday called for strategic and economic cooperation with Laos and Cambodia, as she started her visit to the two South East Asian countries.
Emphasizing that the two countries have had friendly relations in the past with India, the president expressed hope of enhanced ties.

“My visit will be an opportunity to continue discussions with the leaderships of these countries and to reaffirm our commitment to strengthen and consolidate our relations as well as enhance our economic engagement with these countries,” said an official release on the president’s statement on-board a special aircraft.

President Patil emphasised on strengthening economic ties, calling Laos and Cambodia growing economies, seeking socio-economic development.

“I will assure them that they can count on India as a willing development partner. Our efforts in this direction have been towards undertaking infrastructure projects and capacity building programmes in these countries. Our trade and investment linkages have grown over the years although they remain much below potential,” she said.

The president will also interact with business representatives in Laos and Cambodia to enhance economic ties.

The president’s visit will also see renewal of cultural exchange programme with Laos for another two years.

On enhancing strategic ties, President Patil expressed hoped for cooperation in fighting terrorism.

“I look forward to an exchange of views with Laos and Cambodia on how we can promote greater stability and security in the region. I believe India, Laos and Cambodia have much to gain by cooperating with each other in combating extremism and terrorism,” she said, adding that both Laos and Cambodia have given unconditional support to New Delhi for its candidature to UN security council.

She said that the visit will also reaffirm India’s ‘Look East’ policy and enhance the partnership in Asean countries.

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