ASEAN-India Summit: During the 20th ASEAN-India Summit held in Indonesia on Thursday, Prime Minister reiterated support for the bloc's centrality and outlook on the Indo-Pacific region. "ASEAN is a central pillar of India's 'Act East' policy and India fully supports ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific. ASEAN has an important place in India's Indo-Pacific initiative as well," he said at the meeting.
During his address, PM Modi highlighted the increasing relations between India and the ASEAN countries and congratulated Indonesian President Joko Widodo form organising the summit.
"India and ASEAN have both historical and geographical links. Our shared values, regional unity and our shared belief in peace, prosperity and multiplar world also bring us together," he further said at the summit.
21st century belongs to Asia: PM Modi at ASEAN-India Summit
The Indian Prime Minister also highlighted the India-ASEAN friendship year observed last year that elevated "mutual relations into a comprehensive strategic partnership". He also said that continuous progress in mutual cooperation in all sectors shows the strength and resilience of India-ASEAN relations.
"The 21st century is the century of Asia. It is our century, For this, it is important that we build a rules-based post-COVID world order and that we make collective efforts for the better of mankind. Progress in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific and ampilifying the voices of the Global South is in our common interests," said PM Modi.
He also gave a 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 Prime Minister also announced a decision to establish an Indian Embassy in Dili, Timor-Leste in a move that shows the importance India attaches to ASEAN as well as its relations with Timor-Leste. This decision was warmly welcomed by Timor Leste and ASEAN Members.
He also posed for a group photograph with other ASEAN leaders at the summit.
The Indian Prime Minister was given a ceremonial welcome after he arrived at the Jakarta International Airport on Thursday. He was received by I. Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati, Indonesia's Minister for Women Empowerment and Child Protection. An Indonesian cultural dance was also performed at the venue.
PM Modi is visiting Jakarta at the invitation of the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo. Before his departure on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that he is looking forward to exchange his views with other leaders on cooperating in a practical manner to address global challenges.
PM Modi's role in the 18th East Asia Summit
At the closed-door East Asia Summit (EAS) held today, PM Modi reiterated the importance of EAS mechanism and reaffirmed India's support to strengthen it. He once again highlighted India's support for ASEAN centrality and a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
"Prime Minister highlighted synergies of visions for Indo-Pacific between India and ASEAN, and underscored that ASEAN is the focal point of Quad’s vision," said the MEA in an official release. He also called for for a cooperative approach to address global challenges including terrorism, climate change and resilient supply chains.
PM Modi also exchanged his views on regional and international issues with other leaders during the summit and highlighted India's steps in climate change and global initiatives.
What is ASEAN?
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a group of ten nations-- Brunei Darussalam, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Besides, the ten influential nations, India, the US, China, Japan and Australia are its dialogue partners.
The bloc was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok. The ASEAN Summit is held twice annually at a time to be determined by the Chair of the ASEAN Summit in consultation with other ASEAN Member States. The summit is to be hosted by the ASEAN Member State holding the ASEAN Chairmanship.
The event is significant for India as it is a platform where leaders of major countries such as the US, Japan and China meet and expand their ties- both economically and culturally. According to MEA, this year, summit is "special" as it is the first meeting after the elevation of the relationship between the two sides to a comprehensive strategic partnership last year.