Laos backs India’s UN ambition, agrees to expand trade

August 27th, 2008 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) India and Laos Wednesday decided to further expand their ties in diverse areas raging from trade to technical training as the Southeast Asian country reiterated its support for New Delhi’s place in an expanded UN Security Council. President of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) Choummaly Sayasone, who is on a five-day visit to India, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed with him an entire range of bilateral and regional issues.

The Lao leader reiterated his country’s support for a permanent seat for India in an expanded UN Security Council, official sources said.

Manmohan Singh appreciated Laos’ crucial role in promoting India’s inclusion in the 16-nation East Asia summit.

The two leaders discussed intensification of bilateral trade and the progress in negotiations on a free trade area (FTA) agreement between India and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The FTA is likely to be signed between the two sides soon.

India is a dialogue partner at the ASEAN.

Laos, a Buddhist-majority country, is a member of the ASEAN and plays an important role in India’s Look East policy that revolves around expanded economic engagement with East Asian countries.

“I do hope that this visit continues strongly and significantly to enhance the bilateral cooperation and relations between our two countries,” Sayasone said after being accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

He will also go to Agra, Kolkata and Gaya, a town in Bihar where Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.

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