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India, ASEAN discuss ways to push SME, start-up ecosystem

India, ASEAN discuss ways to push SME, start-up ecosystem

"To have connectivity work to its full potential, it is necessary to dial down the nationalistic rhetoric", Mr. Gongsakdi told The Hindu in an interview ahead of the summit, which will see all 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations assemble in Delhi for the 25-year commemorative summit on January 25 and as chief guests of the Republic Day parade. The Vietnamese PM and his wife were received by Indian delegates at the Palam Airport.

Last month, Gadkari said connectivity of projects such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, extension of TH to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project are being planned and they are at different stages of implementation.

But he will start bilateral meetings with all the visiting leaders starting Wednesday. Prominent among those will be the one with the State Counsellor of Myanmar, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, today evening.

The event is significant as India is desirous on changing its "Look East" policy to an "Act East" policy.

The Ministers from ASEAN countries included H.E. Lim Jock Seng, Minister at the Prime Minister's office and Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei, H.E. Enggartiasto Lukita, Minister of Trade, Indonesia, H.E.

Inaugurating the event, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, thanked the ASEAN ministers for their presence stating that India and ASEAN share deep and strong relations.

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The sessions and discussions to be held on Tuesday will focus on sectors of mutual interest particularly namely services, regional value chains and connectivity, agriculture, trade and investment.

India views the Asean region as an economic partner, given its high growth rates as well as its approximately 600 million people as a market.

The minister also said that India can not become a member of ASEAN because of geographical reason as this grouping is of South East Asian nations while India lies in the South Asia.

With investment, trade and particularly infrastructure likely to improve because of India-China competition, ASEAN countries stand to reap the benefits of the growing regional rivalry.

While many believe this is India's move to counter China, when asked Thailand's Ambassador to India who is also the head of ASEAN diplomats in Delhi said that this is not a "containment" exercise.

"India and the Asean nations represent an aspirational world". The theme of the retreat session is "maritime cooperation and security'".


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