Preparation of agenda for cooperation between India and ASEAN countries; Will strengthen defense ties, agreed on 17 issues

Preparation of agenda for cooperation between India and ASEAN countries; Will strengthen defense ties, agreed on 17 issues

India will further deepen its existing strategic partnership with ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. An important consensus has been reached in this regard in a special meeting of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN countries on Thursday. In the meeting, Jaishankar said that India's relations with ASEAN have increased in importance in the new global environment. He said that increased connectivity between India and ASEAN will lead to a flexible and reliable supply chain.

Will strengthen defense cooperation

In the meeting, both sides decided to hold the first meeting of their Defense Ministers in November 2022 to further strengthen defense cooperation. It has also been decided to review the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between the two sides at the earliest.

Appeal to all countries to follow

Both sides have appealed to all countries to follow the United Nations Law for Sea Movement (UNCLOS), which is directly pointing toward China. China is not following the UNCLOS in the South China Sea. Due to this, problems are increasing in ASEAN countries as well as America and European countries.

These countries took part

The foreign ministers of the 10-member ASEAN countries met on Thursday morning. It was attended by Foreign Ministers or Deputy Foreign Ministers of all countries (Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos) other than Myanmar.

Increased importance in view of China's attitude

Apart from India, ASEAN conducts such meetings only with China, America, Japan, and Australia. Given the aggressive behavior of China in the Indo-Pacific region, the importance of ASEAN has increased significantly. The geographical and economic potential of these countries is very less compared to China.

Doval was also present

In recent years, ASEAN has been showing more warmth in its relations with India than with China. ASEAN Foreign Ministers also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Jaishankar. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was also present in the meeting. PM Modi has said that in the celebration of 30 years of relations with ASEAN, he had a very good meeting with foreign ministers and other representatives of the grouping.

Relationship agenda ready

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and Singapore's Foreign Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan have presented an agenda for the future relations between India and ASEAN, in which 17 key areas have been mentioned. India has strongly supported keeping South East Asia ASEAN focused. The two sides will work in political, security, economic, socio-cultural, and development cooperation to deepen the strategic partnership.

India will strengthen connectivity by air and sea

An important consensus has been reached that with India's help, the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway will be extended to Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. India has also said to work to strengthen connectivity by air and sea with ASEAN countries. It should be noted that a day earlier, air service between India and Vietnam has been started for the first time.

(with language input)