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India progressing well on ASEAN partnership

JAKARTA: India has made significant progress on its proposed plan of action for expanding partnership with the 10-nationASEAN grouping in areas of economic, political, security and socio-cultural cooperation, and the two sides are on track to meet $ 100 billion trade by 2015. 

The assessment has been made in an executive report on the progress in the implementation of the projects and activities under the Plan of Action to Implement the 'ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2010-15)'. 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night arrived here in Indonesia, a key ASEAN country, for a bilateral visit after attending ASEAN summits in another South East Asian nationBrunei from October 9-10. 

Besides attending the ASEAN and East Asia Summits, Singh also held bilateral meetings with various government leaders on the sidelines in Brunei and would hold bilateral talks with Indonesian leaders here. 

The key members of ASEAN block include Brunei, 
Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar,Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. 

Singh also announced that India would set up a separate mission for ASEAN with a full time ambassador, who would be based in Jakarta where the ASEAN Secretariat is also located. 

The report highlighted that the past three years have "witnessed remarkable progress" in the implementation of the Plan of Action. 

"The successful conduct of a large number of activities and collaborative projects in a range of sectors covering all three pillars -- political security, economic and socio-cultural -- was made possible through concerted efforts by both ASEAN Member States and India, and efficient coordination by Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, and the ASEAN Secretariat," it said. 

The Mid-Term review would be undertaken by the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN and the Ambassador of India to ASEAN. 

On the economic front, volume of trade and investment flows between ASEAN and India has increased considerably, but remains relatively low compared with other dialogue partners of ASEAN. 

The bilateral trade grew by 4.6 per cent from $ 68.4 billion in 2011 to $ 71.6 billion in 2012. ASEAN's exports were valued at $ 43.84 billion and imports from India amounted to $ 27.72 billion in 2012. The target has been set at $ 100 billion by 2015 for ASEAN-India trade.