Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today had a one-on-one meeting for about 45 minutes in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, in what could possibly be their last official meeting.
The two leaders discussed a gamut of regional and bilateral issues during the meeting, which comes ahead of the East Asia Summit to be held here Tuesday. The two reportedly discussed reaching a ''fair trade balance'' between the two and for market access for Indian firms in the pharmaceutical and information technology sectors.
Singh is visiting Phnom Penh from 18-20 November to attend the 10th ASEAN-India Summit and the 7th East Asia Summit.
Singh will lead the ASEAN-India Summit's deliberations towards reaching an agreement on services trade and investment. India has a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with Singapore, and will attempt to raise the level of co-operation under foreign trade agreements between India and ASEAN member nations to that level. India will hold bilateral discussions with the Philippines, Thailand, China and Cambodia.
''This year we are preparing to launch the negotiations for a regional comprehensive economic partnership among ASEAN and its free trade agreement partners, including India,'' Singh stated before his departure to Phnom Penh.
Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, who is accompanying Singh,told newspersons on Sunday India believes that with the once-in-a-decade leadership change in China effected last week, "there is going to be continuity and stability in relations and our engagement, which is important to both the countries and the entire region and for economic stability".