Thu, 30 Nov 2023

New Delhi [India], September 29 (ANI): Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh will undertake an official visit to Dili, Timor-Leste from September 30 to October 3.

The visit comes as the first high-level visit from India to Timor-Leste since 2018.

During the visit, the MoS will meet Timor-Leste's President Jose Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao. The MoS will also hold meetings with the Southeast Asian country's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Bendito dos Santos Freitas and TradeIndustry Minister Filipus Nino Pereira, according to a release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday.

Singh will also meet heads of some United Nations agencies, bodies. The MoS External Affairs will then interact with members of the Indian community and take part in Gandhi Jayanti celebrations.

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the opening of India's embassy in Dili, Timor-Leste while addressing the 20th ASEAN-India Summit in Jakarta.

"Act East in action - Delhi to Dili! At the ASEAN-India Summit in Jakarta, PM @narendramodi announces decision to open our Embassy in Dili, Timor-Leste," posted MEA official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on X after PM Modi's announcement.

Dili is the capital city of Timor-Leste, or East Timor, on the country's north coast. The city holds importance as it recalls the nation's struggles for independence from Portugal as well as Indonesia.

India was one of the early countries to establish diplomatic relations with Timor Leste and was represented at its Independence Day celebrations in May 2002 by a high-level delegation led by the then Minister of State for External Affairs. An MOU formally establishing diplomatic relations was signed on January 24, 2003.

India's decision to open an embassy in Dilli shows its commitment to the Act East policy.

The ASEAN Summit held in Cambodia announced that Timor-Leste "in principle" will be admitted as the 11th member state of the group.

The country will be granted observer status at ASEAN meetings, including summit plenaries.

The bloc made the announcement more than a decade after Timor-Leste requested membership. The statement said that there will be an "objective criteria-based roadmap" for Timor-Leste's full membership. It added, "In principle to admit Timor-Leste to be the 11th member of ASEAN."The bloc decided to "grant an observer status to Timor Leste and allow its participation in all ASEAN Meetings including at the Summit plenaries," read the statement.

The leaders had discussed this at a plenary session held in the Cambodian capital. (ANI)

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