PM to embark on four-day visit to Brunei, Indonesia
Oct 08 2013 , New Delhi
Singh will attend ASEAN-India Summit, as also the East Asia Summit on October 10 in Brunei Darussalem, before leaving on a bilateral visit to Indonesia, where he will be accompanied by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.
The visit assumes significance as India is looking to ink a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on services and investments by the end of 2013 with ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), a ten-member block of countries like Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
An FTA on goods is already in place between India and ASEAN and it has significantly helped expand the trade with this regional block. The ASEAN-India trade currently stands at USD 76 billion, which is targeted to be increased to USD 100 billion by 2015 and to USD 200 billion by 2022.
The areas of cooperation between India and ASEAN range across sectors like science and technology, agriculture, environment, human resources, space, energy, telecom, infrastructure, tourism, culture, health and pharmaceuticals.
During the East Asia Summit, a forum for international cooperation among ASEAN countries and Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US, a formal inter-governmental agreement is expected to be signed on the ambitious Nalanda University in Bihar.
The University, set to come up 12 kms from the Nalanda ruins, may start its first academic session from 2014.