Security cooperation and enduring stability in Asia will be on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s mind during his visit to the two friendly nations, reports Rediff.com’s Vipin VIjayan, who is part of the media contingent accompanying the PM
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday left for a five-day visit to Japan and Thailand to cement India’s partnership with the East Asian nations.
High on Dr Singh's agenda is redefining the meaning and adding depth to New Delhi's look east policy, besides contributing to peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia Pacific.
In a statement prior to his departure, Dr Singh said, "I intend to utilise this visit to re-emphasise our commitment to building a stronger partnership with ASEAN. During this visit, I propose to invigorate our relations with Japan in the political, security and energy spheres. My other destination, Thailand is an important bilateral partner as well as a regional leader situated in the heart of ASEAN."
Stating that he will be exchanging views on important regional and global developments with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, the prime minister said, "The visit will allow the two governments to take stock of the progress of flagship projects like the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, and to facilitate bilateral engagement for meaningful and mutually beneficial association."
"Japan is a key regional and global partner for India. I see this relationship as an essential component of our vision for enduring stability and prosperity in Asia."
Noting that Thailand is an essential part of India's integration with the ASEAN region, Dr Singh said, "Thailand is a key component of our sub-regional engagements in BIMSTEC and the Mekong Ganga Cooperation initiative. Thailand and India share centuries-old people to people, cultural and spiritual ties. Being maritime neighbours, we share common interests in maritime security. Our defence and security cooperation with Thailand is progressing well."
"Thailand's importance is also underpinned by its potential as a hub of connectivity between India and south east Asia. The trilateral highway project will connect our northeast with Thailand though Myanmar and create avenues for commercial and cultural integration," he said.