India's participation in ASEAN Summit is very significant: Kidchob

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Hua Hin (Thailand), Oct 23 (ANI): ASEAN Summit Spokesperson Vimon Kidchob on Friday said that participation by countries like India is very significant for all ten ASEAN member countries, as India has very strong-hold in various fields like education, herbal medicines, IT, science and technology.

She said that in such a scenario the role of India cannot be ignored and that ASEAN expects to enhance trade with New Delhi.

"Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is coming with an idea to work on five key areas like energy, education, finance, and national disaster management with ASEAN countries," she said.

"Tomorrow might be a very important day in the ASEAN Summit, as a meeting between India and the Chinese Prime Minister is possible and various hot issues like Arunacahl Pradesh and the recent incursion in Ladakh is likely to be discussed," Kidchob said.

Issuing a departure statement ahead of his visit to attend the Seventh India-ASEAN and the Fourth East Asia Summit in Bangkok, Dr. Singh had said: "India's enhanced engagement with the ASEAN is at the heart of our 'Look East' Policy. The conclusion of the India-ASEAN Trade-in-Goods Agreement in August 2009 is a major first step in our objective of creating an India-ASEAN Regional Trade and Investment Area. India-ASEAN trade has grown at a healthy rate and stood at about US Dollars 48 billion in 2008. The India-ASEAN Summit is an occasion to review the progress in our relations with ASEAN countries. I will inform ASEAN leaders about the several initiatives that India has taken to qualitatively enhance our partnership in diverse areas of our cooperation."

In pursuance of the theme of the ASEAN Summit of "Enhancing Connectivity, Empowering Peoples", I will discuss with the ASEAN leaders new initiatives to accelerate the process of our engagement in areas such as greater economic integration, people-to-people contacts, agriculture, human resource development, education, science and technology and information and communications technology.

I will also attend the Fourth East Asia Summit on October 25. The East Asia Summit will review cooperation in five key areas - energy, education, finance, avian influenza and national disaster mitigation. The Summit will provide an opportunity to discuss regional and international issues of common interest, and future direction for community building and cooperation. Asia's response to the global economic slowdown, food security, energy security and climate change will be important issues of discussion. By Lokendra Singh (ANI)

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