1:25 am - Friday March 22, 2019

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for home after 4-day visit to Brunei, Indonesia

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today concluded his four-day visit to Brunei and Indonesia and left for home, expanding India’s ‘Look East’ policy to beyond economic ties and to co-operation in areas like security, anti-terrorism, disaster management and combating corruption.

The visit assumes significance for expansion of trade ties as well with various countries of Asia Pacific region and Singh held bilateral meetings with Prime Ministers of Asian superpowers like Japan and Australia as well on the sidelines of Asean and East Asia Summits in Brunei.

Singh also announced a separate mission for Asean, a 10-member block of South East Asian nations, with a full time ambassador. Besides, he also said that a Free Trade Agreement on services and investments would be signed with Asean by end of 2013 to help meet India-Asean trade to USD 100 billion by 2015.

Singh was in Brunei Darussalam from October 9-10 for attending Asean Summit as also the East Asia Sumit, a forum for co-operation among Asean nations and its partner countries that include China, India, Australia, Japan and the US.

After Brunei, Singh came to Jakarta on October 10 for his first official bilateral visit to Indonesia, although he has been here thrice for multi-lateral and regional events.

Six pacts were signed between India and Indonesia including in areas like health, anti corruption, narcotics, disaster management and academics.

Two leaders agreed to expand their strategic partnership by holding annual summits and an eminent persons group will be set up to expand the relationship. New areas of co-operation have been identified such as space, nuclear energy, food security, counter-terrorism, transborder threats from jehadi forces.

Co-operation will be expanded in areas like defence, maritime and a comprehensive action plan will be developed for security cooperation.

The Indian delegation in Indonesia also included External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar, besides other top officials.

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