Image by unjoshr via Flickrrrently stands at around $38 billion. Krishna also held talks here with his counterparts from 16 countries of the East Asia Summit (EAS) Wednesday morning. Krishna, who arrived here Tuesday night on a three-day visit, underlined India’s desire for greater economic and strategic engagement with economically vibrant East Asian region that boasts an annual output of $1.1 trillion and represents more than half the world’s population. India is a dialogue partner at ASEAN, which comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Brunei.
Image by Eustaquio Santimano via Flickr
Phuket (Thailand), July 22 (IANS) India Wednesday made a strong pitch for a pan-A
sian response to global challenges like financial meltdown and terrorism as it gets ready to sign a free trade area (FTA) agreement in goods at its next summit with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Thailand in October.
“The steady diversification of our relationship with ASEAN countries is, therefore, a natural process and for us, a matter of deep satisfaction,” India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said at his meeting with the foreign ministers of 10 ASEAN countries in this Thai island resort.
“We are committed to bringing India and ASEAN even closer to each other through exploring our synergies to realise full potential of our relationship,” he said while giving a fresh momentum to India’s Look East policy.
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Terrorism, collective ways of dealing with the global financial crisis and a pan-regional strategy for disaster mitigation were among the issues discussed at the meeting.
“Finalisation of the text of ASEAN-India Agreement on Trade-in-Goods is a major step forward in this direction,” Krishna said, setting the stage for India’s seventh summit with the ASEAN.
“We are hopeful of signing the FTA in goods at the next summit in Thailand,” N. Ravi, secretary (east) in India’s external affairs ministry, told reporters.
Besides the 10 nations of ASEAN, the 16-nation EAS also comprises India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and South Korea.
Krishna will participate in the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Thursday – Asia’s biggest annual security gathering that will be dominated by terrorism, the North Korean nuclear issue and the global financial crisis.
Foreign ministers from 27 countries, including those of the US, China and Pakistan will participate in the ARF.