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Fresh impetus to 'Look East policy' at EA Summit

By Staff
Google Oneindia News

Cebu, Jan 14: India will seek to elevate its engagement with South East Asia and East Asia to qualitatively new levels and give a fresh impetus to its "Look East Policy" at the 5th India-ASEAN Summit and the 2nd East Asia Summt to be held on this central Philippines island over the next two days.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here yesterday night at the head of a high-level delegation for the summits, on the sidelines
of which he is also due to hold bilateral talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders. Dr Singh and his wife, Ms Gursharan Kaur, were received at the Mactan Cebu International Airport by senior Indian and Filipino officials. Later, he drove to the Hotel Marriott Cebu City, where he will be staying. He had no official engagements tonight.

The meeting with the Chinese leader tomorrow assumes added significance in view of the fact that National Security Adviser M K
Narayanan and Chinese Vice-Premier Dai Bingguo, Special Representatives of the two countries, are scheduled to hold the ninth round of their talks on the boundary question next week in Delhi.

The two leaders are expected to give a political impetus to the talks to solve the issue at the earliest. Talking to journalists accompanying the Prime Minister, Mr Narayanan said the two sides had made progress on the boundary question.

India has, in the past, made it clear to China that it should not expect any territorial concessions in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh. India has also made some proposals for opening up the border and institutional cooperation across it. Both sides see an early settlement of the boundary question as a ''strategic objective.''

Apart from the Chinese Premier, Dr Singh will have bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the President of Philippines tomorrow morning before attending the India-ASEAN Summit. He will attend a gala dinner hosted by President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines tomorrow night.

The East Asia Summit will be held on Monday. Dr Singh will leave here on Monday afternoon for Kolkata, where he will spend the night before visiting the violence-hit areas of Asom on Tuesday.

In a statement in New Delhi prior to his departure, Dr Singh said India's participation in both the summits was a reflection of the
increasing significance of the ''eastern orientation'' of India's foreign policy and its quest for closer enagement with the countries
of East Asia.

The Prime Minister said in the India-ASEAN Summit, he would have an opportunity to review, with leaders of ASEAN countries, the progress that had been achieved over the last year in India's economic dialogue with ASEAN countries. The Prime Minister said he would also have a bilateral meeting with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee was here during the last two days of the ministerial meetings ahead of the summits
before leaving for a two-day visit to Pakistan. Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath has also been in Cebu for the past two days for a meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers and other preparatory events before the summits.


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