India-ASEAN sign pact on prosperity
Tuesday, 30 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
LAOS: India and ASEAN signed a landmark pact on "peace, progress and shared prosperity" with a call for collective action to fight global terrorism and expand economic ties. New Delhi also pledged $2.5 million in support for the ASEAN Fund that addresses the needs of project financing in Asia. The partnership agreement was signed here by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the heads of state and government of the grouping at the 3rd India-ASEAN Summit. India is a dialogue partner in the 10-member ASEAN. The nine-page document envisages intensive cooperation in political and security issues, besides economic, science and technology, health and cultural fields. The pact was the outcome of discussions between the Indian and ASEAN governments as well as other stakeholders. Addressing the summit, the Indian prime minister hoped that the inclusive approach would give an added momentum to the partnership between India and ASEAN. He said India attached high priority to strengthening and expanding relations with its neighbours in the east with whom it has profound civilizational ties. Referring to the ASEAN-India framework agreement for comprehensive economic cooperation, Manmohan Singh said the proposed free trade pact should keep the interests of both sides in mind. He said the negotiators should discuss with the industry and see how their interests can be protected. On terrorism and other crimes, the partnership agreement cooperation between India and ASEAN must be effectively strengthened and expanded to combat the scourge. The document also called for international linkages for intelligence and information sharing, as also exchange of information and cooperation in legal matters. The agreement also said that India and ASEAN nations must cooperate closely on reforming and democratising the UN and other world bodies and make them reflective of contemporary realities. Other areas of cooperation suggested in the pact include energy, trade, investment, finance, science and technology, research and development, IT, transport, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, human resource development, tourism and culture.