PM meets world leaders on ASEM sidelines

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Beijing, Oct 24 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who arrived here from Japan to attend the two-day summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), today kicked off his official engagement with a bilateral meeting with Mongolian President Namaryn Enkhbayar.

After the meeting, he attended the ASEM summit at the ''Great Hall of the People,'' marking the debut participation of India at the summit level meeting of the 45-member grouping to which it was admitted only a year ago.

Dr Singh is expected to address the ASEM tomorrow.

On the sidelines of the ASEM, Dr Singh met his Italian and Vietnamese counterparts Silvio Berlusconi and Premier Nguyen Tan Dung respectively and exchanged views with them on bilateral ties and the raging global economic turbulence.

Dr Singh is slated to meet his Paksitani counterpart Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani this evening.

A bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is also scheduled during a dinner being hosted in Dr Singh's honour by the former tonight. Both the leaders are likely to address the political bottlenecks affecting the growth of trade and investment between the two countries.

''Mr Wen and Dr Singh are expected to discuss ways to further boost the growing trade relationship between India and China without letting political and border issues coming in the way,'' a senior Indian official accompanying the Prime Minister said.

Dr Singh would have a meting with Chinese President Hu Jintao and a breakfast meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a meeting later with Bulgarian President Georgi Paravanov tomorrow before leaving for New Delhi in the evening, winding up his five-day tour of Japan and China.

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