India calls for close relations with ASEAN

AP News
Posted: Dec 20, 2012 8:37 AM

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a summit of Southeast Asian leaders on Thursday that his nation attached the "highest priority" to its relations with their region.

Singh's address to a gathering in New Delhi between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was part of his nation's "Look East" policy, seen as a counter to China's influence across the region.

As part of that policy, Singh visited Myanmar in May and deepened ties with Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia among others.

"The path to regional peace and stability is greater coordination, cooperation and integration among our economies," Singh told the summit, which brought nine Southeast Asian heads of state or government to India.

Singh said he hoped India-ASEAN trade would exceed $100 billion by 2015 and $200 billion by 2022.

The summit was expected to conclude talks for a free trade agreement in services and investments.