On Saturday afternoon, PM Narendra Modi addressed the 13th ASEAN-India Summit in Kuala Lumpur. He called for enhancing cooperation with ASEAN to tackle the global issue of terrorism.
“Terrorism has emerged as a major global challenge that affects us all here. We have excellent bilateral cooperation with ASEAN members. And, we should see how we can enhance our cooperation at the regional and international level, including through support for adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism,” PM Modi said in his opening remarks at the Summit.
“As our rapidly transforming region navigates its way through uncertain times to a peaceful and prosperous future, we look forward to ASEAN leading the way in defining the regional architecture,” he said.
He suggested evolving specific plans for cooperation with the 10-member ASEAN, in key areas of maritime security, counter-piracy and humanitarian and disaster relief.
PM Modi also stressed that all “territorial disputes must be settled through peaceful means.”
Referring to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, he said, “India shares with ASEAN a commitment to freedom of navigation, over flight and unimpeded commerce, in accordance with accepted principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea…Territorial disputes must be settled through peaceful means.”
PM Modi said that India hopes that all parties to the disputes in the South China Sea will abide by the guidelines on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and redouble efforts for early adoption of a Code of Conduct on the basis of consensus.
Other than counter-terrorism measures and peaceful resolution of territorial disputes, PM touched on a host of other issues in his speech.
He announced that India will soon extend electronic-visa facility to all ASEAN countries.
Terming science, technology and innovation as a vital pillar of India-ASEAN cooperation and economic partnership, he said, “We will enlarge the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund from the current USD one million to USD 5 million.”
PM Narendra Modi said ASEAN-India look forward to progress in negotiations for a balanced and ambitious Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement that covers goods and services as well as investments.
India is the sixth largest trade partner for ASEAN and the trade between the two was worth USD 76.52 billion in 2014-15.
(With inputs from PTI)