Enough space for India, China to develop simultaneously: President Patil

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On Board Air India One, Sep 9 (ANI): Giving a boost to India's Look East Policy and ruling out any concerns over China's strong relationship with East Asian countries, President Pratibha Devisngh Patil today said there is enough space in the world for India and China to develop simultaneously.

"We belive there is enough scope in the world for India and China to develop and both countries can fulfill theiur aspirations simultaneously,Patil told a media team accompanying her on an official visit to Laos and Cambodia.

When asked whether she foresaw any problems for India from China in developing ties with Laos and Cambodia, Patil said: "There is no problem for India to develop relations with them (Laos and Cambodia)."

The Chinese influence on these two South East Asian countries is said to be quite deep, but Patil said: "There exists enormous goodwill and affection for India in both these countries. This environment of trust and confidence that we enjoy with these countries, and the shared political commitment to take forward the relationship, provides a good basis to reinvigorate ties. Laos and Cambodia are growing economies, seeking socio-economic development. I will assure them that they can count on India as a willing development partner."

President Patil is visiting Laos on the invitation of the President of Laos, Choummaly Sayasone, who paid a state visit to India in August 2008.

"Laos and Cambodia have relationship with China and they also have relationship with India. Since 1990s, when India adopted Look East Policy, our relationship has strengthened and we became one of the largest partners for ASEAN," the President said.

To further strengthen India's Look East policy, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will undertake a three-nation tour of Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia next month.

Apart from visiting Laotian capital Vientiane, President Patil and the delegation will also travel to Luang Prabang.

The visit of President Patil to Laos is meant to reaffirm India's commitment to further strengthen and consolidate bilateral relations, and enhance economic engagement and assistance in socio- economic development.

The President will also have discussions with President Choummaly Sayasone and Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh in Vientiane, apart from official talks between the two sides

On Friday; Patil will be accorded a ceremonial welcome and guard of honour at the Ho Kham Palace. She will then have a ten-minute one-to-one meeting with President Sayasone before both take part in delegation-level talks, expected to last over an hour.

The delegations of both countries will then sign a number of bilateral agreements aimed at taking the relationship forward. Patil will, thereafter, visit the Memorial Monument to lay a wreath. On Friday evening, the Prime Minister of Laos, Bouasone Bouphavanh, will call on the Indian President at the Hotel Lao Plaza. The two are expected to have a 30-minute meeting.

The day will end with a state banquet hosted in honour of the visiting dignitary.

During her stay in Laos, President Patil will also visit the National Museum at Luang Prabang and meet with the Governor of Luang Prabang in Phouvao. She will also witness the traditional Baci Ceremony and attend a dinner hosted by Governor Bouheuang Douangphachanh.

She will also visit the Xiengthong Temple and enjoy a cruise on the Mekong River on Sunday.

On Monday, she will meet with Thongsing Thammavong, the president of the National Assembly of Laos at her hotel in Vientiene. She will also address a Joint India-Lao business meeting before departing for Cambodian capital Phnom Penh after a ceremonial farewell. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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