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Economy, terrorism, South China Sea on PM Modi's Southeast Asia agenda

'Asean is India's fourth largest trading partner today and India in turn is the sixth largest trading partner for Asean.'

IANS| Updated: Nov 20, 2015, 18:10 PM IST
Economy, terrorism, South China Sea on PM Modi's Southeast Asia agenda

New Delhi: Business and economy, counter-terrorism and South China Sea issues will figure prominently during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's multilateral and bilateral engagements in Malaysia and Singapore from November 21 to 24.

Modi, scheduled to land in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday morning, will first attend the 13th Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-India Summit and then the 10th East Asia Summit on Sunday.

"Asean lies at the centre of most of the regional dialogue mechanisms and processes such as the Asean Regional Forum, the Asean Defence Ministers Meeting Plus, and the East Asia Summit, adding a special significance to our summit interaction," Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east) in the ministry of external affairs, said in a pre-departure media briefing.

"India and Asean today have 30 dialogue mechanisms. That includes a summit and seven ministerial meetings: in external affairs, commerce, tourism, agriculture, environment, renewable energy, and also telecommunications," he stated.

Wadhwa said the core of the Asean-India Partnership was economic.

He said Asean is India's fourth largest trading partner today and India in turn is the sixth largest trading partner for Asean. "There is a GDP of $2.57 trillion combined, a population of over 623 million, and a GDP growth rate of about 5 percent in Asean, and it is the seventh largest economy if you combine the Asean together in the world."

At the East Asia Summit, the leaders are expected to discuss matters of international concern.

"That includes terrorism, irregular migration, the South China Sea, Korean Peninsula, the Middle East situation, etc. And about seven statements and declarations are expected to be adopted to enforce the leaders' commitment to specific issues," Wadhwa said.

On the sidelines of the the two summits, Modi is expected to hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of Japan, China and Malaysia and possibly those of Vietnam and Myanmar.

The bilateral phase of the prime minister's visit to Malaysia and Singapore will see him interacting with his counterparts from those two countries.