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PM Modi unveils 12-point plan to strengthen ASEAN-India cooperation

Jakarta, Sep 7 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday attended the 20th ASEAN-India Summit here and unveiled the 12-point plan for strengthening cooperation between New Delhi and the regional bloc.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said he Prime Minister attended the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) on Thursday morning on his day-long visit to the Indonesian capital.

At the ASEAN-India Summit, Modi held extensive discussions with partners of the regional bloc on further strengthening of ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and charting its future course, the Ministry.

“The Prime Minister reaffirmed ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific and highlighted the synergies between India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). He also emphasized the need to complete the review of ASEAN-India FTA (AITIGA) in a time bound manner,” it added.

Modi also presented the 12-point proposal for strengthening India–ASEAN cooperation covering connectivity; digital transformation; trade and economic engagement; addressing contemporary challenges; people-to-people contacts; and deepening strategic engagement.

The Indian side announced that establishing multi-modal connectivity and economic corridor that links Southeast Asia-India-West Asia-Europe and also offered to share India’s Digital Public Infrastructure Stack with ASEAN partners.

It also announced ASEAN-India fund for Digital Future focusing on cooperation in digital transformation and financial connectivity and announced renewal of support to Economic and Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) to act as knowledge partner for enhancing our engagement.

New Delhi also called for collectively raising issues being faced by Global South in multilateral fora and invited ASEAN countries to join Global Centre for Traditional Medicine being established by the WHO in India.

It also called for working together on Mission LiFE and also offered to share India’s experience in providing affordable and quality medicines to people through Jan-Aushadhi Kendras.

The Indian side furthercalled for collective fight against “terrorism, terror financing and cyber-disinformation”, invited ASEAN countries to join Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and called for cooperation in disaster management.

It also called for enhanced cooperation on maritime safety, security and domain awareness and two Joint Statements, one on Maritime Cooperation, and the other on Food Security were adopted.

While addressing the ASEAN Summit, the Prime Minister said: “The 21st century is Asia’s century. It is our century. For this, it is necessary to build a rule-based post-Covid world order and efforts by all for human welfare. The progress of free and open Indo-Pacific and elevating the Voice of Global South is in the common interest of all.

“I believe that today’s discussions will lead to new resolutions for strengthening the future of India and the ASEAN region.”

He further said that today, even in an environment of “global uncertainties”, there is continuous progress in every field in our mutual cooperation.

“This is a testament to the strength and resilience of our relationship. The theme of this year’s ASEAN Summit is ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth’. ASEAN matters because here everyone’s voice is heard, and ASEAN is the epicenter of growth because the ASEAN region plays a crucial role in global development,” he said.

“’Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – ‘one earth, one family, one future’, this sentiment is also the theme of India’s G-20 Presidency.”

At the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS), the Prime Minister reiterated the importance of EAS mechanism and reaffirmed our support to further strengthening it.

Prime Minister Modi underlined India’s support for ASEAN centrality and called for ensuring a free, open and rules based Indo-Pacific and highlighted synergies of visions for Indo-Pacifi, and underscored that the bloc is the focal point of the Quad’s vision.

Th Quad comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia.

Healso called for a cooperative approach to address global challenges including terrorism, climate change and resilient supply chains for essential items including food and medicines, and for energy security.

Modi further highlighted India’s steps in the area of climate change and our initiatives such as ISA, CDRI, LiFE and OSOWOG.

The back-to-back ASEAN-India Summit and East Asia Summit are being organised by host Indonesia at India’s request since New Delhi will host the G20 Summit over the weekend.

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