Vision for creating pan-Asian FTA

New Delhi, March 30 | Updated: Mar 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
Emphasising that cooperation with China, Myanmar and Bangladesh is a core component of its Look East policy, India on Thursday said it envisioned formation of a pan-Asian free trade area or Asian economic community to exploit the latent potential that exists.

However, meaningful sub-regional and regional cooperation on Indias east is Dependent upon greater connectivity and dismantling of barriers between us to allow free movement of goods, people and ideas, Rajiv Sikri, secretary (east) in the external affairs ministry, said in an address to the 6th Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Forum meeting here.

Mr Sikri talked about the need for exploiting the potential for cooperation between India and its three eastern neighbours.

He particularly noted that China remains an important priority of countrys foreign policy and emphasised that the partnership between the two neighbours is crucial for Asias emergence as a pole of growth and influence in the 21st century.

India is actively engaged in a sustained endeavour to strengthen bilateral engagement with Bangladesh, China and Myanmar, Mr Sikri said.

For us, cooperation with these three important neighbours is a core component of our Look East policy, which occupies high priority in Indias foreign policy and reflects recognition of the strategic importance of Asia in tomorrows world and of our place in the evolving global economy, he said.