Prime Minister Modi underscores Asean’s centrality in India’s Act East politics
India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) emphasized on Thursday the need to harness convergences and synergy to maintain peace and security in the Indo-Pacific, in the context of China’s growing assertiveness in the region.
The situation in the South China Sea, where China is involved in disputes with various ASEAN members, and all regional issues of interest were featured in the discussions during the ASEAN-India Summit which was co-chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen. Xuan Phuc. Vietnam is the current president of Asean.
“India and Asean share a vast maritime space in the Indo-Pacific and Asean is at the center of this space. There is great convergence and synergy between our visions of the Indo-Pacific as articulated in the ASEAN perspective for the Indo-Pacific and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative ”, said Secretary (East) Riva Ganguly Days of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We seek to build on this convergence to maintain peace, security and sustainable development in the Indo-Pacific and to ensure security and growth for all in the region,” he told a news conference after the summit.
Addressing the summit, Modi underscored the centrality of Asean in India’s “Act East” policy and said that a cohesive and prosperous Asean is also central to India’s Indo-Pacific vision. He called for strengthening the convergence between India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and Asean’s perspective on the Indo-Pacific to “ensure a free, open, inclusive and rule-based region.”
Prime Minister Modi announced a contribution of $ 1 million to the Asean Covid-19 Response Fund and reiterated New Delhi’s offer of a $ 1 billion credit line to support connectivity between Asean states. He also called for an early review of the Asean-India Goods Trade Agreement.
When asked specifically whether China’s aggressive actions, which have affected both India and the Asean states, figured in the summit, Ganguly Das said that all regional issues of concern were discussed, including the situation in the South China Sea.
“Both Asean and India agreed on the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability and security in the South China Sea, and reaffirmed the importance of respecting international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law. of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, while guaranteeing freedom of navigation and overflight over the South China Sea and guaranteeing legal trade without obstacles, ”he said.
ASEAN leaders recognized India as a long-term friend and partner and the country’s contributions to promoting regional peace and stability. In the field of digital and physical connectivity, the two sides agreed to consider a report from the Jakarta-based Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) on the extension of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway to more countries. .