PM leaves for three-nation Asia tour

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Manmohan Sunday left for a three-nation tour of Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam to bolster economic ties with partners in East Asia and strengthen India’s presence in the region.

The first stop of the weeklong trip is Tokyo, where the prime minister will spend three days for the annual summit meeting with Japan. From the Japanese capital, Manmohan Singh will move to Kuala Lumpur and then to Hanoi, where he will attend the 8th India-Asean and the 5th East Asia Summit.

“The Indian economy is getting increasingly integrated with those of its East Asian partners. PM’s three nation tour is organically defined by this process,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters Friday.

With strengthening economic ties underpinning the weeklong trip, India is expected to announce the conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Japan, the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperaton Agreement (CECA) with Malaysia and deliberate on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) at the 16-nation East Asia summit in Vietnam.

The third leg in Hanoi will see the prime minister hold several bilateral meetings with Asian leaders, including Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The prime minister returns home Oct 30 evening.

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