Culture, connectivity and commerce will shape India’s relations with the ASEAN bloc, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today. Addressing a function here to celebrate 50 years of ASEAN and 25 years of India-ASEAN Partnership, Prasad, the IT and law minister, said the ASEAN countries proudly flaunt their cultural moorings rooted in ancient India. He said the 3 Cs–Culture, Connectivity and Commerce– will shape the country’s ties with the ASEAN bloc. The importance New Delhi attaches to ASEAN is evident from the fact that leaders of all the ten ASEAN member nations will attend country’s next Republic Day celebrations, he said. Addressing the gathering, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the Home Ministry has started opening various channels on the borders to foster relations with neighbours, particularly in Eastern and North-Eastern Region (NER), an official release said.
The Land Ports Authority of India has taken up expansion of the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Moreh in Manipur for expansion of trade with Myanmar, India’s gateway to the ASEAN, and it will be inaugurated soon, he said. Rijiju said the ICP in Agartala on Bangladesh border has started and few more ICPs besides land customs stations and border haats will be set up. Rijiju said East India and the NER are rich in minerals and natural resources. He said many will be surprised to learn that Dibrugarh contributed more to the government’s revenues than the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai.
Myanmar has the third highest Indian diaspora, next only to Nepal and the US, he said. Rijiju said East Asia and South East Asia stretching from Japan and China and upto India is emerging as the world’s next economic powerhouse. India cannot be delineated from South East Asia and East Asia, he said.