The defence forces and the Home Ministry are in close touch and coordination with the External Affairs Ministry to ensure peace and tranquillity and avoid another Mumbai-type attack, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters here on Thursday.

Mr. Krishna was reacting to U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates’ comments that India’s patience would be limited, if a Mumbai-type attack recurred. “That is a worrying development because having been a victim of an earlier attack …, I think India certainly will have to be prepared to meet any such eventuality,” he said.

Earlier, the Minister inaugurated Delhi Dialogue-II between India and the Asean. It was organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), along with the Ministry of External Affairs, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, Jakarta. It was supported by SAEA Research Group, Singapore.

At the meeting, Mr. Krishna underlined the need for a regional approach to bring about India’s energy security. “We look forward to continued engagement with the Asean countries and our partners in the East Asia Summit on this issue,” he said.

The India-Asean Free Trade Agreement, which came into force on January 1, opened up possibilities of the expansion of India’s trade with the region. Mr. Krishna expressed the hope that agreements on trade-in-services and investment would also be concluded soon.

“We strongly believe in sharing our development experiences with our fellow developing countries. We have been happy to participate in development cooperation programmes with the Asean countries and in the Initiative for Asean Integration Programme. We have laid emphasis on human resource development through training, scholarship, establishment of entrepreneurship development centres and language training centres,” he said.

A FICCI analysis, released on the occasion, said the Asean and India had much to offer to each other. While the Asean could benefit from India’s strengths in information technology, business process outsourcing, pharmaceuticals, space science and oceanography, India could learn valuable lessons from the Asean nations in infrastructure development and maintenance, tourism management and urban area development.

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