PM will be in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh for three days. b| PTI/File
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
will travel to Cambodia tomorrow to attend the ASEAN and East
Asia Summits on the sidelines of which he is expected to meet
leaders of some other countries, including China.
Singh, who was initially scheduled to visit Japan also
before it was cancelled, will be in the Cambodian capital
Phnom Penh for three days.
The three-day visit to Japan from November 15 was
cancelled just a day ahead in view of sudden political
developments there with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda deciding
to announce early elections.
During his visit to Cambodia, Singh is expected to pitch
for increased trade and investment between India and ASEAN, a
grouping of 10 South East Asian countries, against the
backdrop of economic crisis hitting Europe and other parts of
the western world.
India and ASEAN are holding negotiations on a Free Trade
Agreement in Services and Investment and are keen to conclude
these before the Summit on November 19. The two sides have
already signed FTA in Goods.
During the last India-ASEAN Summit held in Bali in
Indonesia, Singh had cited the global economic downturn to
push for conclusion of a "commercially-meaningful" Services
and Investment pact by March this year to create a positive
atmosphere for implementation of the Comprehensive Economic
He had also highlighted the need for greater connectivity
and cooperation on security issues, including maritime
security, counter-terrorism, training, exercises and disaster
Addressing the Summit, Singh had described India's partnership with ASEAN as "one of the cornerstones" of
foreign policy and the foundation of our 'Look East' Policy.
India-ASEAN trade has been increasing at rapid pace over
last few years and has already crossed the USD 70 billion
target set for 2012. It currently stands at USD 79 billion.
India's trade with ASEAN was over USD 50 billion in
2011-12 after a 30 per cent jump over the previous financial
The Prime Minister is also expected to update the ASEAN
leaders on the progress made on revival of the centre of
learning at Nalanda, Bihar.
On the sidelines of the ASEAN and EAS Summits, Singh is
expected to meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao besides leaders of
some other countries.
US President Barack Obama will also be in Phnom Penh but
it is not yet clear whether there will be meeting between
Singh and him because of paucity of time.
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