India, ASEAN celebrate 25 years of ties

RSTV Bureau

ASEAN RECEPTION AT RASHTRAPATI BHAWAN

India is celebrating 25 years of Indo-ASEAN ties and to mark the occasion India is hosting the two day India-ASEAN commemorative summit in the capital.

Cooperation in regional security, counter-terrorism measures and trade will top the agenda at the summit. The summit comes in the backdrop of increasing Chinese economic and military assertiveness in the region. A joint Delhi declaration is also expected to released at the end of the summit.

On the sidelines of the summit, PM Modi held bilateral talks with his counterpart from Thailand Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on strengthening cooperation in strategic areas of trade, defence and security. The two leaders had a constructive dialogue on economic and commercial exchange, connectivity, defence, security, cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchange.

Prime Minister Modi also held talks with his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on economic and commercial ties, FinTech, tourism, enhanced connectivity & Smart Cities.

Modi discussed co-operation in the fields of defence, security, education, energy, health and space with the Sultan of Brunei Daru-ssalam Sultan Hassanal Bol-kiah.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister held bilateral meetings with leaders of Myanmar, Vietnam and Philippines. During the meeting of Modi with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, discussions were held on various issues of mutual interest and ways of further strengthen bilateral relations.

Modi with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed satisfaction at the growth of bilateral relations within the framework of comprehensive strategic partnership, including in the fields of maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, defence, oil and gas, trade and investment.

The leaders agreed that the two agreements signed during this visit on cooperation in the fields of Information & Broadcasting and on establishment of tracking and data reception station and data processing facility in Vietnam under the ASEAN-India Space Cooperation would give further boost to India-Vietnam relations.

They expressed satisfaction at operationalisation of the Line of Credit of US $ 100 million under which L&T has been awarded contract for manufacture of Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs). India and Vietnam also decided that the other Line of Credit of US $ 500 million be operationalised soon.

During the third bilateral meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi and the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte reviewed the progress in bilateral relations and in global and regional situation since their last meeting in November 2017. It was agreed to give further momentum to cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the field of infrastructure development. The leaders also witnessed exchange of an MoU between ‘Invest India’ and Board of Investments of the Philippines.

In all the three meetings, the visiting dignitaries underscored the importance of ASEAN-India relations for peace, security and socio-economic development in the Indo-Pacific region.

ASEAN comprises of Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos,  Brunei, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the visiting ASEAN heads at a grand reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The lunch was followed by a Leaders’ Retreat during which the visiting leaders held detailed discussion over ‘maritime cooperation and security’ in the region.

In an “unprecedented” and a “landmark” event, ASEAN leaders will also be a part of the 69th Republic Day celebrations on Friday.

(With inputs from agencies)