Prez to forge close relations with Vietnam, Indonesia

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On Board Special Aircraft, Nov 24 (UNI) President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, who began her 10-day state visit to Vietnam and Indonesia today, said she would endeavour to forge close relations with these two important ASEAN countries in pursuance of India's 'Look East Policy' and emphasise this engangement in all its aspects.

Talking to the media soon after she left for the Ho Chi Minh City in south Vietnam, Ms Patil said Vietnam and Indonesia, like India, had been developing at an impressive rate in the past decade.

This has enabled higher interaction not only in the traditional areas of cooperation like trade and investment, but also in specific areas like capacity building, entrepreneurship development, science and technology among others.

Discussions will be centred on identifying additional areas of cooperation with these countries as well as exchange of views on matters of regional and global interest, including terrorism, energy security, food security, reform of the international organisations in the current backdrop of the international financial crisis, she said.

Referring to the recently concluded India-ASEAN Trade in Goods agreement, she said it had opened new possibilities of regional inter-linkages in commerce. A business delegation accompanying her on the visit would explore avenues for intensification of India's ties with Vietnam and Indonesia.

She described both Vietnam and Indonesia as very important for India in its bilateral and historic relations and in the framework of its Look East Policy.

In her four day-state visit to Vietnam, beginning with Ho Chi Minh City of south Vietnam named after its founder President today, Ms Patil said she would explore Ways to further strengthen India's political and economic links, important from pivotal and strategic point of view, during her talks with President Nguyen Minh Triet and other Vietnamese leaders.

The President said ever since the solid foundation of relations between India and Vietnam were founded by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru and Mr Ho Chi Minh, India had been maintaining the process of regular dialogue with the Vietnamese leadership to make it stronger.

Emphasising the strength and diversity in India's new strategic partnership with Indonesia, where she would arrive on November 28, Ms Patil said her visit to Indonesia 'signals our commitment to have relations that befits two large nations who are neighbours, sharing a maritime boundary. The distance between the southern most island of the Andaman group and the north western tip of Indonesia is only 80 km, she said.

UNI KAS ATI UCS1815

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