Trade, commercial exchange, greater infrastructural connectivity, regional development in the north eastern states and defence and maritime security were the focus of all the meetings Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with the 10 Asean leaders in New Delhi.
Trade, commercial exchange, greater infrastructural connectivity, regional development in the north eastern states and defence and maritime security were the focus of all the meetings Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with the 10 Asean leaders in New Delhi. Addressing the plenary session of ASEAN-India commemorative summit in New Delhi on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “India is committed to enhancing cooperation in the maritime domain with the Asean regional bloc. The Asean leaders have agreed to establish a mechanism in maritime cooperation and security and a pact on maritime transport agreement to be worked out soon.” “India shares the Asean vision for rule-based societies and values of peace,” Modi said. The Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and heads of state of all these countries are participating in the Commemorative Summit, themed “Shared Destiny, Common Values” . Under its Act East Policy, New Delhi is pushing to boost its relationship via connectivity, commerce and culture with this regional bloc.
Modi also called for the respect for international law, especially the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while stating that the Asean is at the centre of New Delhi’s Act East Policy. The Prime Minister said that the nature of Asean-India partnership has evolved significantly. “Our trade has grown 25 times in 25 years. Investments are robust and growing. We will further enhance trade ties and work towards greater interaction among our business communities.” On his part, Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, which has assumed the ASEAN chair this year, besides stressing on boosting land and maritime connectivity between the bloc and India, said that India and the regional bloc have to increase trade and economic cooperation. “The RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) being negotiated represents a historic opportunity to establish the world’s largest trading region,” he said. Some experts feel that the meet can be an opportunity for India to present itself as a powerful ally to these countries in the strategic areas of trade and connectivity.
Earlier on Thursday, the Commemorative Summit started with a luncheon banquet hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind in honour of the visiting dignitaries. Following this, Modi held a leaders’ retreat in which the issue of maritime cooperation and security was discussed. Prior to the the banquet, since Wednesday, the Prime Minister also held bilateral meetings with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Singapore Prime Minister Lee, and Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah. According to officials during the plenary talks blue economy as well as efforts to enhance connectivity between the two sides in enhancing the ASEAN -India economic cooperation was on the table.