Growing strategic partnership between India and Japan is vital for peace, prosperity and stability in Asia and the world, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday on the eve of his departure to Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.
In a statement, the prime minister also said that he expected his trip to Malaysia to lead to greater integration of the two economies and noted that India enjoyed a close and strategic relationship with Vietnam.
Vietnam will host the eighth India-Asean Summit and the fifth East Asia Summit.
In Tokyo, his first halt, Manmohan Singh will hold his annual summit with Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
"The tradition of annual summit with Japan has resulted in a strong, vibrant and multi-dimensional relationship between India and Japan.
"Strengthening of the India-Japan strategic and global partnership enjoys the fullest support across the political spectrum in both our countries and is a factor of peace, prosperity and stability in Asia and the world," he said.
Describing Japan as a major economic partner of India, Manmohan Singh said India had embarked upon mega infrastructure projects with Japanese assistance with a view to transform the Indian economy.
"Our trade relationship is set to enter a new phase," he said. The Indian leader, who returns home after a week, will address Japanese business leaders and meet a cross section of Japanese political leaders.
This will be Manmohan Singh's first bilateral visit to Malaysia, a key member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and whose prime minister visited New Delhi in January this year.
Both the trips reflected "the strong and mutual desire for a qualitatively new partnership between the two countries.
"I will seek new areas of understanding with the Malaysian prime minister that reinforces the rich bonds of history and culture that unite us."
He noted that in today's unsettled world, "it is all the more important for societies that are democratic, multi-religious and multi-cultural to work together."
The prime minister said India shared a special bond with Malaysia because it was home to one of the largest people of Indian origin of over of over two million - dominantly Tamil -- and that he looked forward to meeting some of them.
"I expect my visit to lead to greater integration of our two economies and cooperation in the areas of infrastructure development, railways, knowledge industry, energy, defence and greater people-to-people exchanges."
Manmohan Singh said that the scale and range of India's interaction with the Asean countries had expanded significantly in the last six years.
He said he would discuss with the Asean leaders a road map for India's future cooperation which will be reflected in the India-Asean Plan of Action for 2010-15.
"East Asia Summit represents a desire of the Asia Pacific region to build an open an inclusive architecture of regional cooperation. In its short period of existence, the East Asia Summit process has made significant progress. This year's summit is expected to welcome the US and Russia into (its) process."
Manmohan Singh said he would update the East Asia leaders the steps taken by India on the revival of the Nalanda University in Bihar.
In Vietnam, Manmohan Singh will bilaterally meet leaders of China, South Korea, Australia, Singapore and Vietnam.