PM leaves for China & Japan; financial crisis to top agenda

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Oct 20 | Updated: Oct 22 2008, 04:58am hrs
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is leaving on a two-nation visit from Tuesday to Japan and China with the global financial meltdown topping the agenda.

Briefing the mediapersons on the visit, foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon said, During his trip to Japan, he will hold talks with Japans new Prime Minister Taro Aso on the global economic meltdown and co-operation on political and security issues apart from declaring a host of economic agenda including an in-principle agreement of India-Japan comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA).

The strategic and global partnership between India and Japan provides both the vision for chartering the future course, said Menon.

However, both the nations may not be able to sign the free trade area (FTA) pact as talks have stalled largely on how much to cut tariffs and what goals to set on investment, said a source in the MEA.

Leaders of both the countries will also take stock of a few core sector projects such as dedicated freight corridor (DFC) of Indian Railways, and accord priority to a pact on security issues.

Mukesh Ambani, CMD, RIL who is head of the Indo-Japan business forum will hold talks with corporates of both sides in an effort to explore more opportunities and forge a stronger bond between the two nations.

In the second leg of his five-day visit, Singh will be attending the ASEM summit in Beijing October 24-25, as for the first time India has been invited into this grouping.

This will also be the first multilateral meeting that Singh will be attending after the inking of Indias historic nuclear pacts with the US and France. Indias 50% trade is with ASEM countries, so in that sense this meeting is crucial, said secretary (east), N Ravi.