New Delhi, Aug 27 : President of Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) Choummaly Sayasone, who is on a five-day visit to India to strengthen bilateral ties, was accorded a ceremonial reception by President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh here today.
Expressing happiness at his visit to India, Sayasone said that he saw in it an opportunity to further strengthen the relations between the two countries.
"It is my great honour and pleasure to pay this first state visit to India. I do hope that this visit continues strongly and significantly to enhancing the bilateral cooperation and relations between our two countries. I also like to take this opportunity to thank the government and people of India for extending the hospitality and welcome to my delegation and myself," Sayasone added.
He will hold delegation level talks with Dr. Singh on a wide range of subjects of bilateral interest, and issues of regional and international importance.
He is also expected to meet Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
India already has an active bilateral cooperation programme with Lao PDR which has seen the establishment of Lao-India Entrepreneurship Development Center, Lao-India Center for English Language Training, Capacity Building Programmes and IT Cooperation.
India has signed Trade and Economic Cooperation and Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with Lao PDR. Joint Business Council Agreement was also signed between Indian industry body, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Lao National Chamber of Commerce to facilitate exchanges. These Agreements lay down the basic framework for trade and investment from India.
Laos as a member of ASEAN and an important country in the Indo-China regionlays a significant role in India's 'Look East Policy'.
Lao has played a very crucial and supportive role for India to join the East Asia Summit (EAS). It also supports India for a permanent seat in the expanded UN Security Council.