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Naypyidaw, March 3 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is on his last foreign visit of his tenure would be meeting leaders from the neighboring countries as he arrives to attend the BIMSTEC summit.

Singh's first engagement here is with the host Myanmar President U. Thein Sein. Sources tell ANI that both leaders will discuss cooperation in security related to the presence of insurgent groups present on both sides of the border. They will also discuss disputes in the demarcation of border, and the issue of 9 disputed pillars is expected to come up during the Thein - Singh talks.

On Tuesday Indian Prime Minister will also interact with the newly elected Nepalese Premier Sushil Koirala. Sources say that the relationship is witnessing an upswing as Indian companies have recently bagged major developmental projects in the areas of infrastructure, hydel projects and connectivity.

Sources say meeting between Indian and Nepalese Prime Minister will be 'substantive' as both countries have an open border. India is expected urge the Nepalese government to conclude the drafting of constitution within a year. India also hopes to increase its footprint and make its presence felt in the region.

Similarly Singh will also meet Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

A source familiar with the developments says that India's relationship with Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are stable and not likely to be affected by elections in the respective countries.

Third BIMSTEC summit begins tomorrow. It will coincide with the establishment of a weather and climate centre in New Delhi, a permanent BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and a BIMSTEC culture centre in Bhutan.

Free trade agreement among the member states, promotion of tourism, greater connectivity within the regional grouping and tackling climate change are on the agenda.

While leaving for Myanmar Dr. Manmohan Singh said, "BIMSTEC lies at the crossroads between SAARC and ASEAN, drawing its energy from the natural convergence of the countries around the Bay of Bengal."

"Connectivity and sub-regional cooperation in trade and investment, energy, climate, tourism, agriculture and other areas, provide the spark for the growth engine in our region. Security challenges, both natural and man-made, require our collective vision and determination to be overcome. Peace, stability and development in BIMSTEC countries, with over 20% of the world's population and over US$ 2.5 trillion worth of GDP, is indispensible for the forward march of Asia as a whole," he added. By: Naveen Kapoor (ANI)


Source: Top News


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