Phnom Penh:India is prepared to conclude the free trade agreement (FTA) in services and investment with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) by December, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday.
Singh also pitched for enhanced cooperation between India and the 10-nation Asean for promotion of peace, security and stability in the region and addressing shared challenges.
Addressing the India-Asean summit in Phnom Penh, Singh said: “India’s relationship with Asean members and with Asean institutionally continues to grow in all dimensions. Commerce and connectivity are vital areas of this relationship and we have made good progress in both.”
The India-Asean free trade agreement on trade in goods has led to two-way commerce increasing to nearly $80 billion in the year ended 31 March, exceeding our target of $70 billion, he said.
“India is prepared to conclude the agreement on trade in services and investment promotion before the commemorative summit in Delhi in December. This will be a strong signal of our deepening economic engagement, and will allow for rapid expansion in trade and investment flows in both directions,” Singh said.
The FTA in goods was signed in 2009 but aspects related to services and investment were delayed because of strong differences between the two sides. Singh, who was addressing the 10th summit of the grouping, underlined that future of peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific requires increased cooperation and integration in the region.
“Asean has shown the way in this regard. We support the objectives of an Asean community by 2015, the Initiative for Asean integration and the Asean master plan on connectivity,” the Prime Minister said.