India, Laos resolve to expand cooperation against terrorism

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New Delhi, Aug 30 (UNI) India and Laos have resolved to further expand bilateral dialogue and cooperation against terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime and agreed to jointly work for strengthening economic and other engagements.

India also extended a 33 million US Dollar Line of Credit (LOC) to Lao PDR, while Laos signed a Letter of Intent for Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme for LOCs in accordance with the scheme announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh early this year.

An agreement to extend the Line of Credit was signed after talks between Dr Singh and Lao PDR President Chaommally Sayasone, who completed his five-day State visit to India today.

A Joint Statement issued after the conclusion of the visit said discussions between Mr Sayasone and Dr Singh covered bilateral matters and regional and international issues and how to improve ties between the two countries.

Mr Sayasone also invited Indian industrialists to ''move fast'' and invest in his country, saying or else it would be too late.

''I invite Indian business to move fast and seize the opportunities offered by a fast growing economy, else the potential will be cornered by other nations... We are aiming at graduating from the less developed country status by the year 2020,'' he said in an address at a luncheon meeting with Indian industrialists.

This was the first visit to India by a President from Lao PDR after 33 years. The last visit by the President of that country was in 1975.

Mr Sayasone who is accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr Thonglun Sisoulith, Minister for Planning and Investment Soulivong Daravong and Minister in the Presidency Soubanh Srithirath, also called on President Pratibha Patil.

''India and Laos have traditionally enjoy warm and friendly relations anchored in civilisational and spiritual ties since ancient times. These were further strengthened over recent decades by the constructive role played by India as chair of International Supervisory and Control Commission till 1975,'' an External Affars Ministry spokesman said. here today.

Laos as a member of the ASEAN and an important country in the Indo-China region plays a significant role in India's 'Look East Policy'.

Lao PDR has played a very crucial and supportive role for India to join the East Asia Summit and supports India for a permanent seat in the expanded UN Security Council.

India already has an active programme of bilateral cooperation 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.

''The two countries will take further steps for enhancing this cooperation through project investments and other areas during the visit,'' the spokesman added.

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