India today said the ASEAN occupies a central place in the “security architecture” of the Asia- Pacific region and has the “unique ability” to reflect the larger interests of the world. Speaking at the 15th ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting here, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said in the last 50 years ASEAN had put behind it many of the post-decolonization debates of the region and navigated the Cold War adeptly to usher in an era of high economic growth that served as a model to others. “Weathering the impact of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, it then went on to expand its footprint through the East Asia Summit process,” he said. From the Indian perspective, the ASEAN occupied a central place in the security architecture of the Asia-Pacific region, Singh said. “It is our view that precisely because ASEAN represents the cultural, commercial and physical crossroads of the region, it has a unique ability to reflect and harmonize larger interests of the world beyond it,” he said.
With India marking the 25th year of its ties with the Association of South-East Asian Nations, he said, “On our 25th anniversary, the flower of our relationship, which spans thirty dialogue mechanisms including an annual summit and seven ministerial dialogues, is in full blossom, with the strategic, political, economic and cultural petals aglow.” “This bloom is being celebrated through a broad range of governmental, business, diaspora, cultural and civil society interactions in India as also in ASEAN nations which would culminate in a special ASEAN India Commemorative Summit. This Summit would be an affirmation of our shared quest for prosperity, stability and security,” he said.
He said the Philippines, as chair, is ably stewarding the golden jubilee celebrations with the overall theme of “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”. “In consonance, the theme of our silver jubilee celebrations, which commenced earlier this year, ‘Shared Values, Common Destiny’,is an acknowledgment of our shared socio-cultural, economic and political destiny,” he said. India is celebrating 25th year of its ties with the Association of South-East Asian Nations, a regional grouping comprising 10 south-east Asian countries, which promotes inter-governmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, military, educational and cultural integration among its members and other Asian nations.