New Delhi: India and ASEAN countries on Thursday, Oct 28, pledged strongly to support the ASEAN Community building and strengthening the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership across the whole spectrum of political- security, economic, socio-cultural, and development cooperation.
This was stated in a Joint Statement on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific for Peace, Stability, and Prosperity in the Region issued at the end of the virtual meet attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders and Heads of Nations.
The India-ASEAN bond would be strengthened by utilising relevant existing ASEAN-led mechanisms and fora, including the ASEAN-India Summit, East Asia Summit (EAS), the Post Ministerial Conference with India (PMC+1), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF).
The statement reinforced the ASEAN-centred regional architecture that is strengthened by ASEAN's Community building processes in dealing with challenges and by seizing opportunities arising from current and future regional and global environments with a focus on the open, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture, economic cooperation, and strengthen confidence and trust.
It said there would be a continuation in efforts "to deepen the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership" by exploring potential cooperation in maritime cooperation, connectivity, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and economic and other possible areas of cooperation.
Ms Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East) in MEA, said that speaking at the Summit, Prime Minister Modi underlined the centrality of ASEAN in India's vision for the Indo Pacific.
"Mr Modi noted that partnership with ASEAN is a key pillar of India's Act East policy and a united and prosperous ASEAN is central for Security and Growth for All in the Region that is the SAGAR," she said.
For the past three decades, starting from 1992, the India-ASEAN engagement has evolved into a deep, robust and multifaceted partnership. ASEAN and India became summit level partners in 2002 and strategic partners in 2012.
"The year 2022 is a landmark here. As you are aware, we are celebrating 75 years of India's independence in 2022 as Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav and it will also mark 30 years of ASEAN-India partnership," she said.