Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said forums like the East Asia Summit (EAS) could help in creating a large economic community in the region that would accelerate development and reinforce mutual understanding and confidence in the region.
"India's security and prosperity are vitally linked to the Asia Pacific region. Our vision for this region is rooted in cooperation and integration," Singh said in his address at the Plenary Session of the 7th East Asia Summit here.
"Forums such as the East Asia Summit can help create a large economic community in this region that will accelerate development and enhance prosperity, besides reinforcing mutual understanding and confidence in the region," he said.
"This Summit is witness to important events and changes taking place in the Asia Pacific region," the Prime Minister said.
He said concerted effort and collective action ´on the part of the countries gathered in this room can strengthen mutual understanding and help us address shared challenges´.
He welcomed the launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations.
Singh said India would support the Phnom Penh Declaration on East Asia Summit Development Initiative.
He said connectivity was vital for increased commerce, contact and cooperation between our countries.
"We must quickly implement the EAS Declaration on ASEAN Connectivity, adopted at our last Summit. Early identification of specific projects and the evolution of innovative financing mechanisms for their implementation would also help move forward this important aspect of our cooperation," Singh said.
He said India has been happy to carry forward several EAS-related initiatives.
"Following the EAS Declaration on Malaria Control, we have proposed a programme on capacity building and vector control management systems to our ASEAN partners earlier this year and look forward to cooperating with other EAS members," Singh said.
"Earlier this month, we held the EAS-India Workshop on Building a Regional Framework for Earthquake Risk Management in New Delhi. This will augur well for our cooperation in responding to natural disasters," the Prime Minister said.
Speaking on the Nalanda University project, he said: "Finally, the Nalanda University project, in which your support has been invaluable, is gaining momentum and we expect the first two schools to commence teaching in the academic year 2014-15."
Complementing ASEAN members, Singh said: "I would like to begin by complimenting ASEAN members, not only for their progress in creating an integrated ASEAN community, but for their leadership in launching wider regional initiatives such as the ARF, EAS and the ADMM+."
"For India, ASEAN has been the bridge to the East. It is also central to the evolution of a regional architecture and its different cooperative frameworks," he said.
Singh said though the EAS is ´still new, we have built an impressive agenda for economic cooperation and for addressing some of our common challenges´.
Singh on Sunday arrived at Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, for the 10th India-ASEAN Summit and the 7th East Asian Summit.