Stressing India-ASEAN cooperation in areas like digital transformation, trade and economic engagement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday presented a list of 12 proposals at the 20th ASEAN-India Summit in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. Secretary-General of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Dr Kao Kim Hourn also attended the summit.
Two joint statements — one on Maritime Cooperation, and the other on Food Security were also adopted at the summit, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
At the summit, PM Modi held extensive discussions with ASEAN partners on further strengthening of ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and charting its future course, it said.
The PM emphasised the need to complete the review of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (AITIGA) in a time-bound manner and also reaffirmed ASEAN’s centrality in the Indo-Pacific region highlighting the synergies between India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
Under the proposal, India called for establishing a multi-modal connectivity and economic corridor that links South-East Asia-India-West Asia-Europe and offered to share India’s Digital Public Infrastructure Stack with ASEAN partners, the statement said.
An ASEAN-India fund for a digital future focusing on cooperation in digital transformation and financial connectivity was also announced.
Under the 12-point proposal, the prime minister called for a collective fight against terrorism, terror financing and cyber-disinformation.
As part of the proposal, he announced the renewal of support to the Economic and Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) to act as a knowledge partner for enhancing our engagement.
He called for collectively raising issues being faced by Global South in multilateral fora, the statement said.
He invited ASEAN countries to join the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine being established by WHO in India and called for working together on Mission LiFE, an India-led global mass movement to nudge individual and community action to protect and preserve the environment.
The prime minister also offered to share India’s experience in providing affordable and quality medicines to people through Jan-Aushadhi Kendras.
He invited ASEAN countries to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and called for cooperation in disaster management.
The meeting reviewed the progress made under ASEAN-India dialogue relations and welcomed the adoption of the Annex to the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2021-2025).
ASEAN is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region, and India and several other countries including the US, China, Japan and Australia are its dialogue partners.
Modi’s proposal came days after a number of ASEAN member countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines reacted sharply to China’s territorial claim over the South China Sea in its latest edition of the ‘Standard Map of China’. India had also rejected China’s new map which showed Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as Chinese territories.
Prime Minister Modi also attended the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) here.
In his address, Modi reiterated the importance of the EAS mechanism and reaffirmed India’s support to further strengthen it. The prime minister underlined India’s support for ASEAN centrality and called for ensuring a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific, the MEA statement said.
The prime minister highlighted synergies of visions for the Indo-Pacific between India and ASEAN and underscored that ASEAN is the focal point of Quad’s vision, it said.
The Quad, comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia, has been focusing on practical cooperation to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s increasing military muscle-flexing in the region.
The prime minister also called for a cooperative approach to address global challenges including terrorism, climate change and resilient supply chains for essential items including food and medicines, and for energy security.
He highlighted India’s steps in the area of climate change and initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, LiFE and One Sun One World One Grid.