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Salman Khurshid returns from 9th ASEM Summit

Posted on Nov 08, 06:58PM | IBNS

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid returned to India from the 9th ASEM Summit in Laos.

"I have just come back last night from a very fruitful participation in ASEM-9 the most significant dialogue between Europe and Asia. India obviously plays a very significant role in that process because of our very good relationship with Europe, with the European Union, and indeed with the ASEAN countries," Khurshid told media on Thursday.

"We had bilaterals as well with eight countries including of course the bilateral with Lao PDR. On my way back I had a bilateral with the Foreign Minister of Thailand. We had the opportunity of course to speak with the Prime Minister of Thailand at the meeting itself, a very gracious person with very warm feelings about India and very fond memories of her visit to India."

"All in all we believe that a tremendous forward movement has taken place. We are looking forward to next year's meeting of the Foreign Ministers of ASEM that will take place here in next winter and then further movement to Brussels which will be the 2014 meeting of ASEM, which will be the Tenth ASEM Meeting," he said.

Transcript of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's statement to the media on his return from 9th ASEM Summit in Laos PDR:

External Affairs Minister (Shri Salman Khurshid): Good morning.

I am pleased to be back here with you. I am sorry that we still have not had time to spend more detailed conversation time with you, but I am sure that that will come as we go along.

I have just come back last night from a very fruitful participation in ASEM-9 the most significant dialogue between Europe and Asia. India obviously plays a very significant role in that process because of our very good relationship with Europe, with the European Union, and indeed with the ASEAN countries.

We were received extremely warmly by the Government and the leadership of Lao PDR. The arrangements were absolutely outstanding. I think that there is something there to celebrate in terms of the larger number of countries that are now joining the movement and providing it with value addition.

We had bilaterals as well with eight countries including of course the bilateral with Lao PDR. On my way back I had a bilateral with the Foreign Minister of Thailand. We had the opportunity of course to speak with the Prime Minister of Thailand at the meeting itself, a very gracious person with very warm feelings about India and very fond memories of her visit to India.

All in all we believe that a tremendous forward movement has taken place. We are looking forward to next year's meeting of the Foreign Ministers of ASEM that will take place here in next winter and then further movement to Brussels which will be the 2014 meeting of ASEM, which will be the Tenth ASEM Meeting.

Meanwhile, while we were in Lao, we have had the good news from the United States of America of the election of President Barack Obama for a second term. As you are aware, the Prime Minister has already greeted the President of the United States. For the United States and India these are very important significant moments of reassertion and celebration of our respective democracies. The election of the President, fiercely contested as it was and reported widely in the media, has now reached a conclusion of reassertion of democratic choice. We look forward, as the Prime Minister has said, to deepening and widening our relationship with the United States of America. There are, in our relationship, very significant accomplishments that we have achieved over the last decade, and we would like that to move forward.

We have very good memories of President Barack Obama's visit to our country, particularly his address to Indian Parliament. We hope in that spirit the United States and India will continue to move forward. There is a lot of work to be done in international cooperation, in the field of commerce, in the field of business, in the field of economics, and of course in the field of security. The common concerns that we have with the United States of America over security of cyberspace, security of all regions, is something in which we hope we look forward to a more meaningful dialogue as the President takes over his second term.

Thank you.

Question: Sir, there is also a leadership change which is happening in China. What are India's hopes and expectations of the new Chinese leadership?

External Affairs Minister: As you know, China has a very orderly and a very scientific system by which they have generational change, and this is a significant generational change taking place in China. We watch it closely. Of course as a friendly neighbour we look forward to a more meaningful and sustainable relationship with China under the new leadership. We wish them well, and we hope that the positive steps that we have taken together in the last few years will be taken further by the new leadership.

Question: Sir, you also had significant meetings with the Prime Ministers of Italy and of Denmark. With Denmark did you press for the extradition of Kim Peter Davy afresh?

External Affairs Minister: As far as Denmark is concerned, our effort was to explain to the honourable Prime Minister the concerns both of the Indian people and Indian Government, and the seriousness of the issue because it relates to India's security. And I am pleased report the President was very receptive to the information that I gave, and also said that techno-legal examination afresh is called for and will be done by them. I think that is a positive indication. Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Question: Sir, do we take it that the case is being reopened for extradition of Kim Peter Davy?
External Affairs Minister: I think the expression used by the other side is an expression that I will continue to use that they would examine afresh the techno-legal aspects of the matter. As far as we are concerned, the information that we had we have given, in the light of that I got that response. So, let us wait for further movement on that.

Question: Sir, was the issue of the Italian Marines raised with the Prime Minister of Italy? External Affairs Minister: The issue was certainly raised and discussed. And it was for me to bring to their notice, as I am sure that they are aware, that the matter is pending now including in the Supreme Court where the matter has been heard and judgment is reserved. We reasserted and reaffirmed that India has an outstanding system of law, very transparent, and the rule of law prevails in our country, and all friendly countries should repose faith and would find that their faith is vindicated is the word we used. But, the free and fair system of adjudication in our country is something that we are committed to, and I believe is something that should be recognized and adhered to by all our friends. I think because the matter is sub judice, the matter has been heard in the Supreme Court, we should await the judgment of the Supreme Court before saying anything further.

Question: Sir, on UN Security Council's move to blacklist Haqqani Network.

External Affairs Minister: As you know, our concerns on security as far as operation of some groups that are involved in cross-order terrorism is very clear and clearly known to all our neighbours, as indeed to all our friendly countries that we speak to. This is something that is a logical step forward. And I hope that this has an effective impact not just on that group itself but on other groups as well.

Thank you very much.