Dec 21, 2012, 12.28 PM IST | Source: PTI

Prez advocates closer integration between ASEAN, India

Prez advocates closer integration between ASEAN, India

New Delhi, Dec 20 (PTI) Advocating closer integration between ASEAN and India, President Pranab Mukherjee tonight both parties should take full advantage of complementarities through more ambitious agreements and catalyse flows of investments. In his speech at the banquet in honour of the delegates of the ASEAN-India Special Commemorative Summit here, he said a closer integration between ASEAN and India will be to the mutual benefit of the nations. He said India has been consistent in its support to the evolution of ASEAN's central and leading role in this region and endorsed objectives for an ASEAN Community by 2015, for a Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration and, most recently, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. "Our trade has surpassed our expectations. We are now looking at ways and means to enhance cooperation between our Small and Medium Enterprises and entrepreneurial sectors. "We should take full advantage of our complementarities through more ambitious agreements; we should catalyse the flows of investments and goods and services, and link the synergies of our youth; we should facilitate the joint initiatives of the industrial sectors in our respective countries and we should improve the infrastructural capacity in our region to meet the aspirations and ambitions of our peoples," he said. Noting that the ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership has reached a significant milestone this year, he said that in two decades of steady development, it has matured into a strategic partnership. "We all have a shared vision of promoting peace and stability and we are united in our dream of a new Asia full of promise and opportunities. There will be challenges but we are confident of our ability to co-operate and address these collectively and successfully in the interest of our peoples," he said. He said the essence of ASEAN and India partnership is that it facilitates and assists each partner country in strengthening its national programmes for sustainable economic and socio-cultural development and in contributing to the growing relevance of Asia globally. "The Asia-Pacific region is today central to the global dialogue on political, economic and security issues. It is, therefore, natural that ASEAN and India, with their affinities and complementary capacities, come together for the definition of the new economic and security architecture in the region," he said. (More) PTI SJY SC

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