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PM goes to Cambodia for East Asia meet

world Updated: Nov 19, 2012 08:56 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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Eager to consolidate India's ties with East Asian countries and enhance economic cooperation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in the capital city of Cambodia on Sunday.

He is slated to attend the East Asia summit and related events during the course of his visit.

"The East Asia Summit is the foremost forum for promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region," Singh said, noting that this year could witness the launch of negotiations for a Regional Compre-hensive Economic Partnership among ASEAN and its free trade area partners, including India.

The forum would also serve as a useful platform for discussing issues concerning regional security.

2012 marks the 20th year of India's dialogue partnership with ASEAN, with which India carries out trade worth $75 billion.

The free trade pact in services and investment, set to be signed during the India-ASEAN commemorative summit in New Delhi next month, is also expected to enhance ties.

Meanwhile, New Delhi publicly distanced itself from the demand of the 10-member ASEAN (Association for South East Asia Nation countries) to impose a code of conduct on the South China sea - a move aimed at restricting China's influence there.

"We don't want to comment on issues that are not on the East Asia summit's agenda," Union minister for commerce and industry Anand Sharma said.

Singh will hold a bilateral meeting with outgoing Chinese premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the summit on Monday.