Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Manila in Philippines on Sunday afternoon for a three-day visit. The Prime Minister will be attending the ASEAN-India and East Asia summits.
In both these summits, India is likely to push member nations to strengthen anti-terror mechanisms. India will also pitch for boosting regional trade. The Prime Minister will address the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) summit on Tuesday.
The ASEAN summit is also likely to discuss issues relating to regional security. China’s aggression over the disputed South China Sea, North Korea’s nuclear missile tests are likely to feature in the discussions on Tuesday.
On the sidelines of the summit, Prime Minister Modi is likely to have a series of bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders including US President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev.
This is PM Modi’s maiden visit to Philippines. He is also scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
On Saturday evening, a day ahead of his departure, the Prime Minister had said that his visit symbolises India’s commitment to deepening ties with the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).
“My participation in them symbolises India’s commitment to continue deepening relationship with ASEAN Member States, in particular, and with the Indo-Pacific region, in general, within the framework of my Government’s Act East Policy,” the prime minister had said.
Apart from participating in the India-ASEAN and East Asia Summits, PM Modi will also take part in the special celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. A Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leaders’ Meeting and an ASEAN Business and Investment Summit is also scheduled.
The 10-member grouping ASEAN and India comprise a total population of 1.85 billion people which is one-fourth of the global population.
The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upswing in the last few years with focus being on ramping up cooperation in the areas of trade and investment as well as security and defence.
“Every single country in the ASEAN region wants India to be more engaged in the region in every possible way. That is the real synergy we have with ASEAN,” Indian Ambassador to Philippines Jaideep Mazumdar told PTI.
The US, France and Japan have been pitching for a larger role by India in the strategically key Indo-Pacific region where China has been trying to increase its military presence.
While ASEAN summit is likely to focus more on trade and investment related issues, leaders at the East Asia Summit are expected to delve deep into issues relating to maritime security, terrorism, non-proliferation and migration.
Apart from the 10 ASEAN Member states, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.
Trade between India and ASEAN stood at USD 65.04 billion in 2015-16 and comprises 10.12 per cent of India’s total trade with the world.
Investment from ASEAN to India has been over USD 70 billion in the last 17 years accounting for more than 17 per cent of India’s total FDI. India’s investment in ASEAN during the same period has been more than USD 40 billion.
(With inputs from PTI)