Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 18th ASEAN-India summit underlined the bloc’s centrality in India’s vision of the Indo-Pacific and noted that partnership with the grouping is a key pillar of India’s Act East Policy, said Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary-East, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Speaking after the conclusion of the virtually held ASEAN-India summit, the Secretary-East said the annual summit provides an opportunity for all sides to engage at the highest level. “Speaking at the summit, PM Modi underlined ASEAN’s centrality in India’s vision of the Indo Pacific. He noted that partnership with ASEAN is a key pillar of India’s Act East policy. And united and prosperous ASEAN is central for security and growth for all in the region…,” she said at a press conference. “Over the past three decades, starting from 1992, India-ASEAN engagement has evolved into a deep, robust and multi-faceted partnership,” she added.
Exchanging views on COVID-19, the PM laid stress on the need to leverage strong India-ASEAN ties in the fight against the pandemic, Riva Ganguly said. Addressing the Summit via video conferencing, PM Modi said India-ASEAN cooperation in the COVID era will keep strengthening relations in the future and form a base for goodwill between the two sides. “Due to COVID-19, all of us had to face a lot of challenges, this challenging time was also a test of the India-ASEAN friendship.”
He also focussed upon the historical ties between India and ASEAN, their shared values, traditions, languages, texts, architecture, culture, food and drink. “History is witness that India and ASEAN have had vibrant relations for thousands of years. Their glimpses show our shared values, traditions, languages, texts, architecture, culture, food and drink. And that is why the unity and centrality of ASEAN has always been an important priority for India,” said the Prime Minister.
On the occasion of 30 years of India-ASEAN partnership, PM Modi said that this important milestone will be celebrated as ‘ASEAN-India Friendship Year’.