Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s statement at the Plenary Session of 7th East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia today:
“I thank Prime Minister Hun Sen for his very warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements for the 7th East Asia Summit.
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.
Excellencies, India’s security and prosperityare vitallylinked to the Asia Pacific region. Our vision for this region is rooted in cooperation and integration. 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.
This Summit is witness to important events and changes taking place in the Asia Pacific region. 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. For this, it would be necessary to develop a common set of principles, establish cooperative mechanisms and deepen regional economic integration. We, therefore, welcome the launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations today. We also support the Phnom Penh Declaration on East Asia Summit Development Initiative.
Connectivity is 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.
Excellencies, 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. 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. 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.
Excellencies, though EAS is still new, we have built an impressive agenda for economic cooperation and for addressing some of our common challenges. We should try and bring to bear the same spirit in addressing our differences. I have no doubt that, together, we can create an open, balanced, inclusive and rule-based architecture in the region for our collective security, stability and prosperity.”