Singh to meet Wen at ASEAN meet tomorrow

Singh to meet Wen at ASEAN meet tomorrow


The Singh-Wen meeting on the margins of the ASEAN and East Asia Summits takes place against the backdrop of the war of words between the two neighbours over Arunachal Pradesh.

China regards Arunachal as a disputed territory and objected to Prime Minister's visit to the northeastern state for assembly polls, triggering sharp reaction from India which asserted that the state is an integral part of the country.
"All issues of mutual interest" will figure in the meeting, a senior Indian External Affairs ministry official said.

New Delhi has taken exception to China giving visas to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir on loose sheets, raising suspicion that Beijing does not treat the state as a part of India.

Beijing, on the other hand, is unhappy over India making its visa regime stringent for the expatriates, affecting Chinese workers on business visas the most.
India has given a deadline of October 31 for shifting the business visas to employment visas failing which the expatriates will have to leave the country.

Setting a positive tone for the talks, senior functionaries from both countries have said the border problem can be amicably resolved through bilateral negotiations.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said in Beijing on Wednesday, "there has been good progress in our bilateral relationship and we hope this momentum can be sustained".

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also said in New Delhi "I am quite confident that all border disputes will be resolved through discussions, amicably".
The Thai beach resort of Hua Hin, known for its quiet coastal villages, will host 16 Asia Pacific leaders to discuss ways for increased economic and strategic engagement among themselves.

Leaders from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia would be attending the twin meets which were twice postponed since December 2008 in the wake of anti-government protests in Thailand.

Several economies in Asia, including China, India and ASEAN have managed to keep growing even when rich nations last year slipped into the worst ever recession since the second World War.

For India, the 600-million people market in 10 southeast Asian nations offers a perfect fit for enhancing the India-ASEAN trade, which at present is estimated at about USD 45 billion, less than 10 per cent of its global merchandise engagement.
The signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in August between India and the southeast Asian nations was a testimony to India's growing engagement in the region.

Singh is also expected to meet Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Over and above the ways to enhance their economic ties, Singh is likely to impress upon Rudd to ensure that the racial attacks against Indian students in Australia are stopped.

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