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Posted on Nov 19, 05:01PM | IBNS
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday held bilateral meetings with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President of Philippines Benigno Simeon Aquino III as he discussed crucial issues including India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and counter-terrorism with the leaders.
Singh on Sunday arrived at Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, for the 10th India-ASEAN Summit and the 7th East Asian Summit.
"PM had two back-to-back meetings with the Prime Minister of Singapore and the President of Philippines. Commerce and Industry Minister, NSA, and Principal Secretary to Prime Minister accompanied PM," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Secretary (East) Sanjay Singh said during a media briefing.
"The Prime Minister of Singapore in his meeting with PM said that he was looking forward to being in Delhi for an important milestone, which was the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit.
"He saw the relations as a great benefit to both India and ASEAN countries. Prime Minister said that we look towards and appreciate Singapore's support for our Look East Policy," said Sanjay Singh.
The Indian PM and Loong discussed issues like Second Review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between the two countries and India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.
"The second issue that they discussed was the Second Review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between India and Singapore, and its early conclusion. The third issue was India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, and they discussed how it could be taken to an early conclusion as soon as possible in the services and investment areas," said Sanjay Singh.
"They also discussed the possible meetings that could take place in the East Asia Summit," he said.
The Singapore PM said that the most important aspect of the forthcoming meeting would be the launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
"PM said that we want to partner, our Asian partners in the new economic architecture which should be ASEAN led and driven," said Sanjay Singh.
"As you know, Mr. George Yeo is a Board Member of the Nalanda University, and PM briefed the Singapore Prime Minister about the progress that has been made on the Nalanda University.
"The two Prime Ministers also discussed the global economic situation, especially that pertaining to Europe and other important issues," he said.
While with the Philippines President, the PM expressed his admiration for the robust growth that has been taking place in the country.
"They discussed the recent developments which have taken place in Mindanao," Sanjay Singh said.
"As you know, the Government of Philippines has entered into an agreement with the MILF to deal with the long-standing insurrection that was taking place there. PM has visited Philippines in 2007, and he talked about his visit to the lovely islands," he said.
The two Prime Ministers also discussed cooperation in counter-terrorism.
"Both countries have been affected by terrorism. Like India, Philippines also has a number of its people who are seafarers. And they also have a number of their seafarers who are captives with pirates. So, the two Prime Ministers discussed possible cooperation, maritime cooperation against piracy, etc," Sanjay Singh said.
They also discussed trade liberalization between ASEAN and India, and the India-ASEAN Free-Trade Agreement (FTA).
The Philippines President briefed the Indian PM on the present situation of the South China Sea and hoped for an early conclusion of the code of conduct and its finalization.
The two also exchanged views on the global economic situation and other regional issues.