Krishna meets fellow foreign ministers at East Asia Summit

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Phuket (Thailand) July 22 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna on Wednesday held a series of bilateral talks with the foreign ministers of China, New Zealand, Russia and Sri Lanka to draw appropriate strategies for India's 11th summit with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be held in October this year.

Krishna during his meeting with his counterparts emphasised on economic cooperation besides discussing many issues including combating terrorism, climate change, and energy and environment.

While giving details about his bilateral meetings with China and Sri Lanka Krishna said that though there is competition but there is enough space for both countries to grow.

ishna said that his meeting with Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi was very cordial. He said that bilateral trade between the two neighbours is estimated to surpass 60 billion dollars by 2010.

Krishna told ANI that the Chinese foreign minister said that Beijing was looking forward to the visit of President Pratibha Patil to China, later in the year.

"We also expressed satisfaction at the trade ties between China and India. I think, we estimate that by 2010 the trade would be around 60 billion USD, you know," Krishna said.

About the resettlement of the Tamils living in camps, Krishna said that "India have impressed upon the Sri Lankan government that the immediate need to resettle 300,000 Tamils, should get top billing in our agenda".

"And they have assured that within 180 days they will be in a position to resettle most of those people who are living in camps. And we hope that the Sri Lankan government will be able to do that, achieve that. And India has committed itself to assist the Sri Lankan government in achieving this destination," Krishna said.

On Thursday, Krishna is to meet Thailand's Foreign minister Kasit Piromya.

Krishna is undertaking a three-day visit to Thailand to attend the India-ASEAN, East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial meeting.

He is scheduled to meet foreign ministers of 16 other countries during the ongoing East Asia Summit in Phuket.

The objective of Krishna's visit here is also to recognize India's progress in building confidence among EAS participants and encourage an open and continuing exchange of views on issues of strategic importance to the region.

The meet of the ASEAN Regional Forum, which is a premier body for dialogue on security issues in the Asia Pacific, will address issues like terrorism, maritime security and disaster management, besides confidence-building and preventive diplomacy on traditional security concerns. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

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