New Delhi: The visiting prime minister of
Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, has said that with the signing
of the comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA)
pact the stage was set for strengthening India''s ties
with the Asean region.
said Singapore-India trade at almost $7 billion is already
half of total Asean-India trade of $15 billion, and as
such, his country could play "a useful role as a
pathfinder for India". The CECA signed on Wednesday
by the two counties was a significant step towards an
India-Asean FTA and deeper engagement between India and
said, "We need to strengthen economic ties between
India and other Asian countries, especially with South-east
Asia. While South-east Asia''s trade with India is growing
rapidly, it is still only 15 per cent of its trade with
China," adding that the centre piece of India-Asean
cooperation is an FTA which would build "a strong
bridge across the two regions". The Singapore PM
was speaking at a luncheon meeting hosted by India''s leading
chambers of commerce and industry - CII, FICCI and Assocham
said one significant new imitative in regional cooperation
is the East Asian Summit (EAS) to be held in December.
He said that Asean has decided that the EAS should include
not just Asean plus three, but also India.