Manmohan Singh meets Brunei ruler in Phnom Penh
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, met Sultan Hasnal Bolkiah of Brunei at the 'Peace Palace' in Phnom Penh ahead of the East Asia Summit.
"We have a good relationship with ASEAN and the best is yet to come," said Dr. Singh.
According to official sources, India is keen to further its relations with ASEAN and, in this context, there was a discussion on the India-ASEAN FTA.
Sultan Bolkiah responded that he shared the aspiration for its early conclusion. Sultan Bolkiah said that he hoped that Brunei's role as the country coordinator will also further bilateral relations. He outlined agriculture, information communication technology, energy, disaster management and human resources development as priority areas for Brunei in which they would wish to develop a partnership with India.
Currently, Indian oil imports from Brunei are approximately USD 1.2 billion. The two leaders also discussed possibilities of expanding cooperation in this area, including LNG.
During the 30-minute-long meeting, Dr. Singh thanked Sultan Bolkiah for confirming his participation at the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit and looked forward to meeting him in New Delhi on 20-21 December.
Brunei is set to take over the Chair of ASEAN for 2013. It has also taken over from Cambodia as the country coordinator for India in the ASEAN.