New Delhi: India is keen to "re-visit" the level of ambition in partnership with the ASEAN countries.
"It is natural that we would like to re-visit the level of ambition that we have set for our partnership," External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said on Thursday (October 7).
At the inaugural session of the India-ASEAN Business Summit, he pitched for "autonomous changes" in the region.
"But what has given this objective a new urgency is the necessity to re-imagine our cooperation in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.
In terms of challenges posed by Covid-19, he said the "uncertainties that we have all experienced since the beginning of 2020 cannot just be wished away."
Nor can it be assumed that they are a onetime phenomenon. "Therefore, we are tasked with responding to the immediate repercussions even as we are compelled to plan for the future," he said, adding, de-risking national economies will only be possible "if we achieve a strong measure of success quickly in that regard."
Covid-19 has brought out many inadequacies in the global health system, the Minister pointed out.
Meaningful partnerships, sharing of advanced technologies, collaboration in vaccine and pharmaceutical production, capacity building and transparency in health information are all part of the answers, Dr Jaishankar said and emphasized that in all of this, the role of businesses is critical.
"Crisis can often be the basis of creativity and our endeavour should be to come out of this stronger."
Connectivity and security are vital elements in the region, he said.
Dr Jaishankar said India aspires to be a more effective engine of growth and a part of reliable and resilient supply chains. "International cooperation, especially among businesses, will be very much a key to the better world that we all seek. India and ASEAN can surely work together more closely to this end," he said.