PM leaves for three-nation Asia tour Sunday

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NEW DELHI - India is set to energise its Look East policy when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday goes to Japan, the first leg of a three-nation tour that also includes a bilateral visit to Malaysia and a trip to Hanoi to attend the India-ASEAN summit.

Unveiling his itinerary, the external affairs ministry Thursday said the prime minister will pay a three-day bilateral visit to Tokyo Oct 24-26, followed by a three-day official visit to Malaysia.

He will travel to Hanoi on the third and final leg of his Asia tour to take part in the 8th India-ASEAN Summit and the 5th East Asia Summit Oct 30.

During his three days in Tokyo starting Sunday, Manmohan Singh will have wide-ranging talks with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan.

The two leaders are expected to discuss the civil nuclear negotiations and a host of bilateral, regional and global issues including increasing Japanese assertiveness in the region, said informed sources.

The two sides are expected to make a political declaration on an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which has the potential to scale up bilateral trade manifold.

Manmohan Singh and his spouse Gursharan Kaur will be received in audience by the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

The prime minister would also have several meetings with political leaders, parliamentarians and captains of Japanese trade and industry.

In Kuala Lumpur, Manmohan Singh will have in-depth discussions on the intensification of economic and strategic ties with his counterpart Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak.

An audience with the King and Queen of Malaysia, the launch of CEOs Forum, Khazanah Global Lecture 2010, visit to ‘Little India’ and an Indian community reception will be some of the highlights of the visit.

In Hanoi, Manmohan Singh is expected to underline India’s robust engagement with the region at the 8th India-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and the 16-nation East Asia summit.

“He will also have bilateral meetings with a number of ASEAN and other leaders on the sidelines of the summits,” the ministry said.

“India’s robust engagement with ASEAN is a key component of her ‘Look East’ Policy enunciated in 1992. Straddling South and East Asia, India seeks to enhance her civilisational linkages with her ASEAN and East Asian neighbours, the ministry said.

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