इंडियन आवाज़     21 May 2024 10:09:35      انڈین آواز

News Analysis: PM East Asia Tour

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Experts and analysts are eagerly awaiting as what shape India’s relationship takes with its eastern friends in the near future as the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh are on a three-nation tour to  Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.

India is aiming at benefiting both at political and economic levels. One of the political ambitions is to garner more support for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and improving relationship with China. In Hanoi in Vietnam, the political importance of a possible dialogue with China at the sidelines of the 5th East Asia Summit would be significant. US and Russia to attend the 5th East Asian Summit as the ‘Guest of the Host’ with formal entry at Summit level scheduled for 2011.

The Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Japan would aim at achieving political goals and not any economic agenda as the external affairs minister, SM Krishna and the national security advisor, Shivshankar Menon are accompanying him and not the commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma.  The Indian commerce minister will be accompanying him in his Malaysia and Vietnam tour.

India has been recently elected as a non-permanent member of UNSC by 187 votes in the 192 member UN General Assembly, while the total number of votes required to be elected is 128. India was endorsed by the Asian Group. India along with Brazil and Germany are elected as non permanent members of UNSC while Japan has recently retired. India, Brazil, Germany and Japan constitute the G-4 nations.

Interestingly there are five aspirants for permanent seats in UNSC, namely India, Germany, Brazil, South Africa and Japan. India, Brazil and South Africa being emerging economies form the IBSA group and work closely in issues relating to new trade arrangements under the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

So far among the major powers, UK and France have supported India’s case for a permanent seat in the UNSC. Russia has supported India’s case in-principle subject to reforms in the UNSC on a broad consensus. Brazil, Russia, India and China form the economic axis of the group of countries called BRIC.

India, which is entering UNSC after two decades, is eager to strengthen its Asian vote bank. Its Look East Policy enunciated in 1992 form the basis for developing better political and economic relationship with eastern and south eastern Asian countries.

Japan being a fellow G-4 country is engaged with the comity of nations in ushering in earliest expansion of UNSC both in permanent and non-permanent categories.

India-Japan consultations are expected to cover bilateral security cooperation in the context and framework of the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and the Action Plan on Security Cooperation signed last December in New Delhi.

High Technology Trade and Energy Cooperation including renewable and civil nuclear are likely to be discussed. India and Japan had already two rounds of discussions on civil nuclear energy. Last round of discussions was in October, this year. But it is unlikely any deal on civil nuclear energy would be signed during Indian Prime Minister’s recent visit as few more rounds of discussions on the issue would be needed.

The Indian Prime Minister’s economic agenda will be reflected in his visit to Malaysia and Vietnam, where the Indian commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma would be joining him. A strong business delegation including nine CEOs of different companies led by the industry captain Mukesh Ambani will also be accompanying him.

However, in Hanoi in Vietnam, the political importance of a possible dialogue with China at the sidelines of the 5th East Asia Summit cannot be underscored. India needs to have regular dialogue with China on border issues and China’s relationship vis-à-vis Pakistan. Recently China’s Goggle Earth has shown India’s Arunachal Pradesh and Aska Chin area as part of China and there are reports of China being active in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Russia and the US are also invited to the 5th East Asia Summit.

India and Malaysia are likely to sign a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). Both Indian Prime Minister and Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato Seri Mohammad Najib Tun Abdul Razak will launch the CEOs Forum signalling their strong expectation that business and industry on both sides and will foster closer and deeper engagement. The Indian Prime Minister will deliver the Khazanah Global Lecture-2010.

A number of agreements are likely to be signed as India and Malaysia are striving to give a strategic orientation to their partnership and crafting broad based ties focusing on key sectors like IT, infrastructure,health and pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and energy. The problems of 2.1 million people of Indian origin and 150,000 Indian skilled and semi-skilled workers in Malaysia will also be discussed.

Indian construction companies have already completed 52 projects worth $2.34 billion in Malaysia and 35 more in the pipeline.

Prime Minister will travel to Hanoi in Vietnam on the third and final leg of his Asia tour, for participating in the 8th India-ASEAN Summit and 5th East Asia Summits on October 30, 2010.

The India-ASEAN Summit will take place in the forenoon, when the Indian Prime Minister will hold discussions with his 10 ASEAN counterparts. The India-ASEAN Trade-in-Goods Agreement became operational from January 1, 2010. It is expected to complete negotiations on the Trade in Services and Investment Agreement soon. An India-ASEAN Trade Fair and Business Summit is planned at New Delhi in March, 2011. The India-ASEAN Plan of Action for 2010-15, is proposed to be adopted during the Summit. A series of events are also being contemplated next year leading to the first ever India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in India in 2012.

The 5th East Asia Summit will also be held on October 30. It would deliberate on the issues of (1) energy, environment, climate change and sustainable development (2) financial cooperation (3) pandemics (4) natural disaster mitigation (5) education and (6) Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) and Economic and Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). The leaders will also exchange views on regional and international issues and on the future cooperation in EAS. They are expected to invite US and Russia to attend EAS as the ‘Guest of the Host’ with formal entry at Summit level scheduled for 2011.

The Indian Prime Minister is likely to brief the EAS leaders on the Nalanda University Project, which is now ready to take-off after the acquisition of land and passage of the Nalanda University bill in Parliament. The Summit will adopt the ‘Hanoi Declaration on the Commemoration of the Fifth Anniversary of the East Asia Summit’.

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