India-ASEAN ties poised to scale new heights: Vice President

The government has set-up a special purpose vehicle to attract Indian investments into Cambodia and other CLMV – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam— countries, the Vice President said

Source: PTI

India-ASEAN ties poised to scale new heights: Vice President Vice President Mohd. Hamid Ansari during a meeting with the President of the National Assembly of Cambodia, Heng Samrin, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Wednesday.

  Asserting that India-ASEAN ties are poised to scale new heights, Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday said India's relationship with Cambodia was a "key element" in its engagement with the key regional grouping as the country moves forward with the Act East policy. Ansari in his address at the Office of the Council of Ministers said the government has recently set-up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to attract Indian investments into Cambodia and other CLMV – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam— countries. “We hope to launch this new initiative soon and I am confident that in the near future more Indian companies will explore the investment opportunities here,” Ansari told the audience which included ministers, top officials and university and school students. Talking about India-ASEAN ties, Ansari said, “The current economic relationship between India and ASEAN countries presents a multitude of industrial, commercial and investment opportunities.” Noting that CLMV countries among the ASEAN partners are of particular interest to India, Ansari said these countries include some of the fastest growing economies in the region and are primarily agrarian, enjoying a certain degree of macroeconomic stability in recent years, with vast potential for future development. “This creates strong complementary interests between India and the countries in the region on the basis of a tripod: Commerce, Culture and Connectivity. These are sustained by more frequent political exchanges. The India- ASEAN relations are thus poised to scale new heights,” the Vice President asserted. India has welcomed ASEAN's plans to establish economic and political relationships with neighbouring nations and India and ASEAN have increasingly supported bilateral trade, promoted foreign investment, and strengthened diplomatic relations, he noted. “My visit to Cambodia underscores the importance India attaches to Cambodia as part of our increasing engagement with the region. Geographically, Cambodia lies at the heart of ASEAN. For us in India, our relationship with Cambodia is a key element of our engagement with ASEAN,” the Vice President said, adding that India looks forward to Cambodia's strong support in building bridges and deepening of India's relationship with the entire region. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political and economic organisation of ten Southeast Asian countries Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Highlighting that in recent months India has enhanced its engagement in the East, Ansari said the intent to do so was reflected in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks last year at the India-ASEAN summit at Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar in which he declared that “India's 'Look East policy' has become 'Act East policy'”. The Vice President said, “As India embarks on the new phase of its Act East policy, and as Cambodia prepares for successfully integrating economically in to the ASEAN Community, we hope to work with our Cambodian partners to realise this potential.” ASEAN and India earlier this year reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen and advance the strategic partnership and agreed to step-up cooperation. Terming Cambodia's transformation from a period of strife and disturbance to a stable and peaceful country with a growing economy as an “inspiring story”, Ansari said the Indian government has made clear its intention to partner Cambodia in its economic development. Noting that there was a good scope for sharing experiences for mutual benefit between the two countries, the Vice President pointed out that agriculture and agro processing sector, mining, oil and gas and small and medium enterprises offers opportunities for trade and investment by Indian business. It will be India's endeavour to encourage its companies and businesses to explore the emerging opportunities in these areas, he said. Ansari, who earlier held talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen, said that another area of cooperation is the defence sector. “India is happy to have been involved in training efforts for the Cambodian defence forces. We will continue and enhance these training efforts,” he said. Stressing that the spreading tide of extremism and terrorism is a threat both countries face, Ansari said successfully dealing with such threats requires strong cooperation among like-minded partners. “I am glad that we have taken some steps to institutionalise cooperation in this area. We will continue to pursue more regular exchanges between our security personnel,” he said.  

September 16, 2015 | 5:20pm IST.

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