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Modi woos Asean with ‘new’ economic journey

Asserting that India and Asean have “no irritants” in their ties and can be “great” partners, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said there will be a “major improvement” in India’s trade policy and environment and proposed a special facility for speedy implementation of connectivity projects with the 10-nation bloc.

Inviting the 10 southeast Asian nations to be part of India’s “new” economic journey, Modi laid out his vision at the Asean-India summit here, explaining how India will be open for business without any hurdles and how it was willing to go beyond what has been done so far in creating a stable business environment.

The prime minister’s strong “Make in India” pitch also had its echo at the deliberations and got the support of the Asean grouping. The prime minister, in his interaction in Hindi, at the round table said a “new era” of economic development, industrialisation and trade has begun in India and the country and Asean can be “great partners”.

Noting that India’s “Look East” policy has become “Act East” policy, Modi assured the Asean leaders that he will give his “sustained personal” attention to India’s relations with the regional bloc. “We have embarked on a new economic journey in India, we invite you to this new environment in India,” the Prime Minister said. Asean plans to become one economic community by the end of next year. Modi’s comments came at a time when India seeks to deepen its engagement with the bloc of 10 small and medium economies.

“We have no irritants in our relationship. We see encouraging opportunities and challenges in the world in similar ways,” he said.

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