PM holds bilateral meetings with China and Thailand

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 19, 2012 19:31 hrs

It was a full day for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the capital city of Cambodia. Hopping from one hotel to another, and from one palace to another, the PM had to still cancel one of the bilateral talks scheduled for today as some sessions got delayed.

While Singh managed two bilateral meetings today, one with China and another with Thailand, the one-on-one with the Cambodian premier had to be called off, to make it in time for the gala dinner at the luxurious Diamond Island Convention Center in Phnom Penh downtown, where world leaders such as US President Barack Obama gathered.

While no bilateral meeting has been fixed between Singh and Obama, who is on a flying visit to the city to attend the East Asia Summit (EAS) on the sidelines of the Asean meet, the two are expected to exchange notes over the Diamond Island dinner, and also at the EAS retreat session tomorrow.

The PM is scheduled to go for the last bilateral meeting tomorrow, the last day of his visit, with Brunei. Officials said Singh will try to complete his Cambodian commitment tomorrow, if time permits.

The Prime Minister has taken stock of things at the many bilateral meets that he had at Phnom Penh, said Sanjay Singh, secretary (east), ministry of external affairs, while summing up the essence of those talks. “The talks were extremely beneficial and will chart out a vision for the future.”

While the bilateral dialogues focused on boosting trade and strategic relations with India, the critical agreement on trade in services and investment still remains inconclusive. India is hopeful of an early conclusion, said officials. “I have no doubt that the conclusion of the Agreement on Trade in Services and Investments, together with our existing Agreement on Trade in Goods, will be a springboard for rapid expansion in our economic relations,” the PM noted.

At the 10th Asean-India summit today, the PM said, “This is a time of challenges in the region, but also of immense opportunities to shape its future. I am convinced that India and Asean can play an important and constructive role in building the regional architecture.”

After a day of meeting world leaders across hotels in the city, paying tribute to the late “King-Father” of Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk, attending the Asean-India summit at the Peace Palace, and dining with close to 20 heads of state, the PM would be ready to launch the much awaited Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations tomorrow.

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