FTA, Myanmar tops PM's agenda for talks with ASEAN leadership

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New Delhi, Nov 19 (UNI) Conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement between India and ASEAN and the volatile political situation in Myanmar will be high on the agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his deliberations with leaders of the grouping at the Indo-ASEAN summit, commencing in Singapore from November 21.

The Prime Minister, accompanied by a high-level delegation, will leave here for Singapore tomorrow and is expected to hold wide ranging discussions with the ASEAN leaders in giving further impetus to bilateral economic and trade relations, specially resolving outstanding issues in the conclusion of the FTA.

An agreement over the trade area has eluded the two sides as differences remain over tariffs.

Dr Singh is also expected to discuss the situation in Myanmar with ASEAN leaders. Myanmar's interim Prime Minister Thein Sein will also attend the summit and brief the leaders on the latest situation there.

The 13th summit will also explore opportunities for cooperation in diverse fields such as security, energy, climate change and environment.

''The result of India's look east policy are reflected in the significant increase in economic engangement with the East Asia region. We now seek to take forward our East look policy by further deepening economic integration with East Asia. This is important in the context of the target of doubling India's share of global trade to two per cent by 2009,'' officials say.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee held talks with the Myanmar Foreign Minister U Nyan Win on the margins of the UN General Assembly session. Mr Mukherjee had expressed the hope that the ruling junta would take forward the process of national reconciliation and political reforms.


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