Indian Prime Minister Modi co-chaired India-ASEAN virtual summit along with Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc. During the virtual summit, PM Modi annoucned that India is to contribute $1 million to COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund (CARF).
- The virtual summit reviewed the status of India-ASEAN strategic partnership.
- Summit focused on key areas such as trade and commerce, connectivity, maritime cooperation, capacity building and education.
- ASEAN is considered as an influential grouping as the ASEAN region has high potential for upcoming markets.
- ASEAN region is expected to grow at an average of 5.2 per cent by 2022.
- By 2030,ASEAN is to become the world largest single market.
- Therefore, Australia, India, China, Japan are competing with each other to grab their place in the ASEAN countries market.
- PM Modi also highlighted the importance of greater digital and physical connectivity between India and ASEAN.
- India also contribution of $ 1 billion Line of Credit (LoC) to support the ASEAN connectivity.
During the virtual summit, both sides adopted “ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2021-2025)”. The both sides leaders also discussed about the international and regional issues of concern and common interest. This also included terrorism and the South China Sea conflict. India and ASEAN together noted the significance of promoting the order based on rules in the region and upholding the international law. ASEAN leaders also highlighted the importance of promoting and maintaining peace, safety, stability, security in the South China Sea.
Importance of ASEAN
During the virtual summit, PM Modi highlighted the significance of ASEAN. PM highlighted that the responsive, cohesive, and prosperous the region is central to the India’s Indo-Pacific vision. ASEAN association also contributes to PM Modi’s vision Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). PM also noted the significance of strengthening the convergence between ASEAN outlook on Indo-Pacific and Indo-Pacific Ocean’s initiative by India. This would help in ensuring the Free and Open Indo–Pacific region.
India is to develop the North East States by building its trade and connectivity with the ASEAN nation through land, air and water. This is the prime focus of Act East Policy. In order to improve its trade with ASEAN nations, India has increased its linkages with countries such as Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand. India has signed an Memorandum of understanding to build a trilateral highway that will connect India, Myanmar and Thailand. The 1,400 km trilateral highway connect Myanmar and Thailand to North Eastern States of India.
Kaladan Multimodal Transport Project (KMTP) is under implementation. It will link Myanmar’s Sittwe port with the Northeastern state of Mizoram. There are plans to connect New Delhi and Hanoi in Vietnam through air.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations is the fourth largest trading partner of India. India’s overall trade with ASEAN stands at 10.6 per cent of overall trade of the country. India contributes $1 million to Covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund India contributes $1 million to Covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund