President Patil embarks on two-nation visit

President Pratibha Patil Thursday left for a ten-day state visit to Laos and Cambodia.

New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil Thursday left for a ten-day state visit to Laos and Cambodia during which some important agreements, including those in the field of culture, are expected to be signed as part of India`s efforts to strengthen ties with the two ASEAN countries.

Patil is accompanied by a high-level business and
official delegation, which includes Minister for Tribal
Affairs Kantilal Bhuria.

The visit is aimed at giving a further boost to India`s "warm and cordial relations" with Laos and Cambodia.

The two nations have been supportive of India`s bid
for Permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

The President`s visit to Cambodia is of great
significance given the upcoming ASEAN related meeting in 2011
and 2012 to be held here, including the ASEAN business meeting
in next April, she said, noting that Cambodia is also country
coordinator for India-ASEAN engagements.

Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs
Vijaya Latha Reddy said some important agreements and
announcements related to cultural exchange and Accounts and
Audits were expected during the state visit.

Patil will be in Laos till September 13.

It would be Patil`s first visit to Laos and only the
second by an Indian President since the two countries
established diplomatic relations.

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had visited Laos in
1954 to give a boost to cultural ties between the two

Apart from Lao`s capital Vientiane where she will
meet President Choummaly Sayasone, Patil will also travel to
Luang Prabang.

Patil will have discussions with President Sayasone,
Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh and President of the
country`s National Assembly.

Patil will travel to Cambodia at the invitation of
Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia.

Other than the capital Phnom Penh, Patil would be
travelling with the delegation to Siem Reap where the world
famous temples of Angkor Vat are located.
"Cambodia is an important partner of India among the
ASEAN countries. Patil`s visit to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
will provide an opportunity to reaffirm and strengthen
multi-faceted bilateral ties including commercial and
investment relations," the ministry officials said.
Patil`s visit to these two countries is aimed at
reaffirming India`s pursuit of a closer and enduring
partnership with countries of the ASEAN region as part of its
Look-East policy.

Bureau Report