Modi leaves for Bangkok, flags India concerns on RCEP

New Delhi (IANS) As he embarked on a three-day visit to Bangkok, Thailand, for the ASEAN-related summits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India will take stock of progress in the RCEP negotiations, and "consider all issues including whether India's concerns and interests in trade in goods, services, and investments are being fully accommodated".

Modi left on a three-day visit to Bangkok where he will attend the 16th ASEAN-India Summit on November 3 and the 14th East Asia Summit and the third RCEP Summit on November 4.

On the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) mega-deal between the 10-nation ASEAN and six nations, including India, he said: "At the RCEP Summit, we will take stock of the progress in RCEP negotiations. We will consider all issues including whether India's concerns and interests in trade in goods, services, and investments are being fully accommodated, during this Summit."

During the visit, Modi will also hold bilateral meetings with a number of other world leaders present at Bangkok.

"The ASEAN-related summits are an integral part of our diplomatic calendar, and an important element in our Act East Policy," he said in a departure statement.

India's partnership with the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is built around the key pillars of connectivity, capacity-building, commerce and culture, he said.

Modi will be reviewing with ASEAN partners "our cooperative activities, and examining plans for strengthening ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanisms, enhancing connectivity (sea, land, air, digital and people-to-people), deepening economic partnerships, and expanding maritime cooperation".

At the East Asia Summit (EAS) he would be "reviewing significant regional and global issues on the agenda of the EAS, and examining the state of our current programs and projects. I will also focus on our Indo-Pacific strategy, on which I am happy to note strong convergences with ASEAN partners and others at the EAS".

Modi will also participate in a Special Leaders luncheon event on November 4, organized by the Prime Minister of Thailand, as Chair of ASEAN, on sustainability.

He will also attend a reception organized by the Indian community in Thailand on November 2. People of Indian origin and Non-Resident Indians have made significant contributions to Thailand and to the important relationship India shares with the Kingdom of Thailand, he added.

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