NEW DELHI, Feb 13 � Aiming to boost ties with South East Asian countries as part of country�s �Look East Policy�, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said India and ASEAN need to enhance connectivity through realisation of routes such as the Mekong-India Economic Corridor.
The Mekong-India Economic Corridor would have a beneficial effect, especially for the eastern part of India, said Krishna delivering his keynote address at �Delhi Dialogue-IV� here today.
The Mekong-India Economic Corridor (MIEC) involves integrating the four Greater Mekong Countries including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam with India through its east coast. It is proposed to connect Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam with Dawei in Myanmar via Bangkok and Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and further linking to Chennai in India.
The theme for this year�s Delhi Dialogue, is �India and ASEAN: Partners for Peace, Progress and Stability�.
In the current global economic situation, it is in the common interest of India and ASEAN to work together to enhance the prospects for prosperity in our region. We need to secure our region as an area of growth, a region which is home to more than 1.7 billion people, around one-fourth of the global population.
Stating that India and ASEAN share common development and security perspectives, Krishna said non-traditional and transnational security challenges like cross-border terrorism, money laundering, drug trafficking, are present-day challenges with repercussions over national, regional and international security.
�They require our coordinated efforts and demand innovative approaches beyond what ASEAN and India are already doing together in various international and regional ASEAN-led fora,� he said.
India and ASEAN have put in place one of the largest free trade agreements on goods. Efforts are under way for an early conclusion of a meaningful agreement on services and investments. We have also agreed to a structured private sector engagement in the five areas of pharmaceuticals, innovation and skills training, information technology, manufacturing and infrastructure.
Krishna lauded the initiative to organise the ASEAN-India Car Rally 2012 to mark the Commemorative Year. The second car rally of its kind, ASEAN-India Car Rally 2012 would be flagged off at Guwahati.
India is also sending a Sail Training Ship �Sudarshini� on an interactive expedition to all the ten ASEAN countries to trace traditional trade routes. These two events, together with their respective �marker events� would no doubt reinforce connectivity between India and ASEAN, the External Affairs Minister said.