Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will travel to Cambodia tomorrow to attend the ASEAN and East Asia Summits on the sidelines of which he is expected to meet leaders of some other countries, including China.
Dr. Singh, who was initially scheduled to visit Japan also before it was cancelled, will be in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh for three days.
The three—day visit to Japan from November 15 was cancelled just a day ahead in view of sudden political developments there with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda deciding to announce early elections.
During his visit to Cambodia, Dr Singh is expected to pitch for increased trade and investment between India and ASEAN, a grouping of 10 South East Asian countries, against the backdrop of economic crisis hitting Europe and other parts of the western world.
India and ASEAN are holding negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investment and are keen to conclude these before the Summit on November 19. The two sides have already signed FTA in Goods.
During the last India—ASEAN Summit held in Bali in Indonesia, Dr Singh had cited the global economic downturn to push for conclusion of a “commercially—meaningful” Services and Investment pact by March this year to create a positive atmosphere for implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.
He had also highlighted the need for greater connectivity and cooperation on security issues, including maritime security, counter—terrorism, training, exercises and disaster management.