Manmohan arrives in Singapore to attend ASEAN summit (Lead: PM visit)

November 20th, 2007 - 4:25 pm ICT by admin  

By Naveen Kapoor
Singapore, Nov 20 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh arrived in Singapore this afternoon to attend the 6th India-ASEAN Summit and the 3rd East Asia Summit, where he is likely to urge leaders of the member nations to expand their cooperation with India.
On the eve of his departure to Singapore, Dr. Singh had said that India’s ‘Look East’ policy is now blossoming and showing results on the ground.
In a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr. Singh had said, “I will discuss with the ASEAN leaders new measures to expand the horizons of our cooperation to include not just greater economic integration, but also people-to-people contacts, science and technology, health, transport, human resource development, and information and communication technology.”
The Prime Minister had expressed satisfaction that India’s trade with the ASEAN countries has surpassed the expected target and has reached 30 billion dollars.
During the third East Asia Summit, issues like energy, education, finance, avian influenza and national disaster mitigation are likely to dominate.
Dr. Singh will also review the progress made on the capacity building projects, which were decided during the last summit in Cebu. Dr. Singh will also be pushing for Free Trade Agreement on goods with ASEAN members that are presently being negotiated.
Besides attending two Summits, Dr. Singh will also meet his Chinese and Japanese counterparts, Wen Jiabao and Yasuo Fukuda respectively.
Dr. 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.
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.
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. (ANI)

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