S.M. Krishna held talks with his counterparts from 16 countries of the East Asia Summit (EAS), setting stage for India-ASEAN summit.


S. M. Krishna Initiates Talks For India-ASEAN Summit
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S. M. Krishna, the Indian External Affairs Minister, held talks with his counterparts from 16 countries of the East Asia Summit (EAS) on Wednesday, setting the stage for India's seventh summit with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in October.
 
Terrorism, collective ways of dealing with the global financial crisis and a pan-regional strategy for disaster mitigation were among the issues discussed at the meeting.
 
Krishna, who had arrived in the Thai island resort of Phuket late on Monday on a three-day visit, underlined India's yearning for a greater economic and strategic engagement with the East Asia region at informal consultations with EAS foreign ministers.
 
Thailand will host the ASEAN and EAS meets in October. The venue is yet to be decided. India is a dialogue partner at ASEAN, which comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Brunei.
 
Besides the 10 nations of ASEAN, the 16-nation EAS also comprises India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and South Korea.
 
Krishna will participate in an ASEAN-India ministerial meeting on Wednesday evening to form the agenda for the seventh India-ASEAN summit.
 
Besides multilateral diplomacy involving East Asian region, Krishna will also hold bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of China, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Russia, Malaysia and Thailand.
 
Krishna will participate in the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Thursday - Asia's biggest annual security gathering that will be dominated by terrorism, the North Korean nuclear issue and the global financial crisis.
 
Foreign ministers from 27 countries, including those of the US, China and Pakistan will participate in the ARF.
 
Krishna's visit to Thailand puts in focus India's "Look East policy", which revolves around accelerated engagement with the economically vibrant East Asian region that boasts an annual output of $1.1 trillion and represents more than half the world's population.
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