New Delhi: The multi-nation group, ASEAN, has always stood tall as a “beacon” of regionalism, multilateralism and globalisation, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said on Thursday, June 16, and asserted that India fully supports a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN.
“ASEAN has successfully carved out a niche for itself in the region and provided the foundation for the evolving strategic and economic architecture in the Indo-Pacific. ASEAN’s role today is perhaps more important than ever before given the geopolitical challenges and uncertainties that the world faces,” Dr Jaishankar said in his opening remarks at the Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
“India fully supports a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN, one whose centrality in the Indo-Pacific is fully recognised,” he said.
The strong convergence of the ASEA-outlook-on-the-Indo Pacific (AOIP) and Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) is a “testimony to our shared vision for the region”, he said.
It may be mentioned that the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) was first suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 14th East Asian Summit. It is also part of the SAGAR mission to expand and facilitate regional cooperation of India’s maritime neighbours.
Dr Jaishankar said the ASEAN-India ties, anchored in history and nurtured by common ethos, “have withstood the test of time and indeed, grown stronger with each passing decade”.
“Our Sectoral Partnership of 1992 matured into a Summit level Partnership in 2002 and further evolved into a Strategic Partnership in 2012. As we enter the fourth decade of our relationship, our ties too must respond to the world that we confront,” he said.
Dr Jaishankar also said, “A better connected India and ASEAN would be well-positioned to promote decentralised globalisation and resilient and reliable supply chains that is so needed by the international community.”
He further said, under the current global uncertainties, “as we review our journey of the last 30 years and chart our path for the coming decades”.
The Minister said it is important that “we (ASEAN and India) identify a new set of priorities while ensuring the early realisation of our ongoing initiatives”.
As India and ASEAN celebrate the 30th anniversary of their Dialogue Relations, both the countries are keen to work for mutual cooperation under all three pillars of Partnership – political-security, economic and socio-cultural.