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India, ASEAN can be 'great partners': Modi

By G Sudhakar Nair
November 12, 2014 15:22 IST
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"My government has been in office for six months and the intensity and momentum with which we have enhanced our engagement in the East, is a reflection of the priority that we give to this region," the Prime Minister said.

ASEANAsserting that there are ‘no irritants’ in the India-ASEAN relationship, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday told ASEAN leaders that a new era of economic development, industrialisation and trade has begun in India and they can be ‘great partners’ for each other.

As India seeks to deepen its engagement with the 10-nation bloc of small and medium economies, Modi said both India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are keen to enhance their cooperation in advancing balance, peace and stability in the region.

"The ASEAN community is India's neighbour.

“We have ancient relations of trade, religion, culture, art and traditions. We have enriched each other through our interaction.

“This constitutes a strong foundation of a modern relationship," Modi said in his opening statement in Hindi at the 12th India-ASEAN summit in the Myanmarese capital.

"That is why our world view is similar in many respects; our mutual confidence and trust is strong.

“We have no irritants in our relationship. We see encouraging opportunities and challenges in the world in similar ways," he said.

Observing that India and the ASEAN have been successful to a considerable extent in pursuing their dreams, Modi said they have laid a foundation for a strong and comprehensive strategic partnership.

"My government has been in office for six months and the intensity and momentum with which we have enhanced our engagement in the East, is a reflection of the priority that we give to this region," the Prime Minister said at the summit held at the sprawling Myanmar International Convention Centre on the second day of his 10-day three-nation tour of Myanmar, Australia and Fiji.

"A new era of economic development, industrialisation and trade has begun in India. Externally, India's 'Look East Policy' has become 'Act East Policy'," he said.

"Rapidly developing India and ASEAN can be great partners for each other. We are both keen to enhance our cooperation in advancing balance, peace and stability in the region," the Prime Minister said.

Image: (L-R) Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Myanmar's President Thein Sein, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and Laos' Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong shake hands before the 12th ASEAN-India Summit during the 25th ASEAN Summit at the Myanmar International Convention Centre in Naypyitaw November 12, 2014. Photograph: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

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G Sudhakar Nair in Nay Pyi Taw
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