India today agreed to extend visa on arrival facility to nationals of Cambodia,Vietnam,the Philippines and Laos from January 1 next year and finalised a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on tourism with Asean(Association of South East Asia).
In his statement at the 8th India-Asean summit at Hanoi,Vietnam,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said,India believes that Asean is the core around which the process of economic integration of the Asia-Pacific region should be built. He expected all formalities for implementing the India-Asean trade in goods agreement by all Asean states to be completed early. The conclusion of a Services and Investment Agreement will be an important step in our goal of comprehensive economic cooperation, he said.
Singh said he looked forward to hosting the commemorative India-Asean Summit in India in 2012. This will be a land mark event and we must begin preparations early, he said. Singh called for an early setting up of the Eminent Persons Group so that it can formulate a vision statement towards a long-term strategic partnership between Asean and India,adding this could be the theme of the summit.
The Prime Minister also invited more tourists from the Asean countries to India. He also said the potential for people-to-people exchanges between Indian and Asean very high. There are over 3 million Indian tourists visiting Asean every year and there are about 380 flights connecting India to Asean every week. This is well below the potential, Singh said.
Thanking Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen for his strong support to India as country coordinator,Singh said for the past years,the two regions (India and Asean) initiated cooperation in a range of sectors including the economy,political and security ties,and the promotion of socio-cultural links.
Commending officials of both sides for developing a comprehensive Plan of Action for 2010-15,he said,Our experience of implementation shows pace of engagement as outlined in the plan of action. According to Singh,we need very hard at all level and the 82-point action plan reflect the vast potential and develop a multi-faceted relationship.