Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday re-affirmed India’s focus on a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific during the annual regional summit held by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) via video conferencing.
Brunei, which currently leads the 10-nation bloc, is hosting the three-day meetings from Tuesday. Prime Minister Modi said he reaffirm the principle of ASEAN Centrality in the region. “India remains committed to strengthening respect for shared values of multilateralism, rules-based international order, international law and sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations," he said in a tweet.
India remains committed to strengthening respect for shared values of multilateralism, rules-based international order, international law and sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations. I look forward to participating in the 18th ASEAN-India Summit tomorrow.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 27, 2021
“I look forward to participating in the 18th ASEAN-India Summit tomorrow," he added.
In his remarks at the Summit, Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance of East Asia Summit as the premier leaders-led forum in Indo-Pacific, bringing together nations to discuss important strategic issues. Prime Minister highlighted India’s efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic through vaccines and medical supplies and also spoke about “Atmanirbhar Bharat” campaign for post-pandemic recovery and ensuring resilient global value chains. He emphasized on the establishment of a better balance between economy and ecology and climate sustainable lifestyle.
Important regional and international issues including Indo-Pacifc, South China Sea, UNCLOS, terrorism, and situation in Korean Peninsula and Myanmar were also discussed. PM reaffirmed “ASEAN centrality” in the Indo-Pacific and highlighted the synergies between ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
The Southeast Asian leaders adopted three statements on mental health, economic recovery through tourism and sustainable recovery, which have been co-sponsored by India.
The East Asia Summit is the premier leaders-led forum in the Indo-Pacific. Since its inception in 2005, it has played a significant role in the strategic and geopolitical evolution of East Asia. Apart from the 10 ASEAN Member states, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia.
India, being a founding member of the East Asia Summit, is committed to strengthening the East Asia Summit and making it more effective for dealing with contemporary challenges, according to a government release
The 18th ASEAN-India Summit will review the status of ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership and take stock of progress made in key areas including Covid-19, health, trade, commerce, connectivity, education and culture. Important regional and international developments including post-pandemic economic recovery will also be discussed, it said.
Prime Minister attended the ASEAN-India Summit held virtually in November last year. The summit on Thursday will be the ninth ASEAN-India Summit to be attended by him.
The year 2022 will mark 30 years of ASEAN-India relations. India and ASEAN have several dialogue mechanisms which meet regularly, including a Summit, Ministerial meetings and Senior Officials’ meetings. External Affairs Minister, Dr S. Jaishankar attended the ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in August 2021 virtually.
(With inputs from agencies)