President Pratibha Patil today said there was enough scope for both India and China to achieve their economic and trade aspirations simultaneously, especially among ASEAN countries.
"Laos and Cambodia have good relations and cooperation with China and also with India. Our relations (with these two countries) have improved since we started our Look East policy in the 1990s...
"We believe there is enough scope in the world for both countries, China and India, to develop and grow. Both the countries can achieve their aspirations simultaneously," Patil, who commenced a 10-day state visit to Laos and Cambodia today, told reporters on board her special aircraft.
The President was replying to a question on whether Laos and Cambodia leaned more towards China than India.
Patil felt that the full potential of trade and commerce between India and the two ASEAN countries had still not been exploited and hoped her visit would prove effective in enhancing it.
"A business delegation is accompanying me. India is one of the largest trading partners of ASEAN countries today. But I feel the potential is much bigger and has not been fully realised. My visit should encourage them to explore more areas of economic cooperation," she said.
Patil said India had long-standing cultural relations with Laos and Cambodia.
"We have maintained political dialogues with both these countries.... My visit will be an opportunity to continue discussions with the leaderships of these countries and to reaffirm our commitment to strengthen and consolidate our relations as well as enhance our economic engagement with these countries," she said.
She noted that India had been the Co-chair of International Commission for Supervision and Control on Indo-China, where it played a significant role for which there is considerable appreciation in the region.
Patil also said that both Laos and Cambodia have given unconditional support for India's candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.