Asserting that India and ASEAN have “no irritants” in their ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday invited the 10-nation bloc to be part of his country’s “new” economic journey even as his strong “Made in India” pitch got the support of the grouping.
The prime minister in his interaction in Hindi at the round table said that a “new era” of economic development, industrialisation and trade has begun in India and that the rapidly developing country and ASEAN can be “great partners” for each other.
Noting that India’s ‘Look East’ policy has become ‘Act East’ policy, Modi assured the ASEAN leaders that he will give his “sustained personal” attention to India’s relations with the regional bloc.
“We have embarked on a new economic journey in India, we invite you to this new environment in India,” the prime minister said. ASEAN plans to become one economic community by the end of next year.
Modi’s comments came at a time when India seeks to deepen its engagement with the bloc of 10 small and medium economies.
“We have no irritants in our relationship. We see encouraging opportunities and challenges in the world in similar ways,” he said.
Presently, India-ASEAN trade is around USD 76 billion which is just three per cent of total ASEAN trade. They have set a target of USD 100 billion for bilateral trade by 2015.
PM noted that both India and ASEAN are keen to enhance their cooperation in advancing balance, peace and stability in the region.
“My government has been in office for six months and the intensity and momentum with which we have enhanced our engagement in the East, is a reflection of the priority that we give to this region,” the prime minister said at the summit held at the sprawling Myanmar International Convention Centre on the second day of his 10-day three-nation tour of Myanmar, Australia and Fiji.
Modi also said that in this age more than physical connectivity there is need for information highways or i-ways.
Besides having an interaction with the ASEAN leaders at the Round Table, Modi also met them for separate bilateral meetings during which his “Made in India” campaign found resonance.
“I fully agree and admire the concept of the ‘Make in India’ campaign. It can drive the economy. Thailand can apply it for its economy too,” Modi’s Twitter handle quoted the Thai Premier Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has having told him.
The campaign also figured during Modi’s interaction with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.
“I am giving lot of emphasis to Make in India and want to invite Malaysian companies to come to India. There are lot of opportunities,” Modi tweeted after the meeting.
At another meeting, Singapore Premier Lee Hsien Loong told Modi that there is lot of goodwill for India in the ASEAN.
ASEAN comprises 10 countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.