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PM in Bali to take 'Look East' forward

world Updated: Nov 18, 2011 01:35 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here on Thursday to attend the 9th India-ASEAN summit and the 6th East Asia summit, amid concerns relating to disaster management, maritime security and terrorism.

Before leaving for Bali and Singapore on the four-day visit, Singh said India saw its ties with the forum as a key component of its Look East policy.

The PM said the East Asia Summit was the principal forum to devise an “open and inclusive architecture of regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region” that will see the formal entry of the US and Russia this year at the Bali summit.

“Increasingly, political and security issues are becoming part of the East Asia Summit agenda. There are concerns among the countries of the region over issues relating to disaster management, maritime security, terrorism and other non-traditional threats to security,” he said.

India is, however, adopting a wait-and-watch policy on the maritime security issue. India is not sure as to how the move to check China by various ASEAN countries will play out. The US, which wants to leave its mark on the Pacific region, too, is making all efforts to ensure that the East Asia summit emerges as a primary political military instrument in Asia. Concluding his nine-day Asia Pacific visit, US President Barack Obama arrived in Bali on Thursday.

Singh said New Delhi will host the India-ASEAN Summit for the first time next year.

“Singapore was the first country with which we signed a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement in 2005. We are in the process of a second review of this agreement to make it work better,” he said.