Confident ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will grow in strength: EAM

New Delhi, May 3 (UNI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said he is confident that the ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will grow from strength to strength.

He said this when ASEAN Senior Officials called on him on Friday.

He posted on X: “Delighted to receive ASEAN Senior Officials in New Delhi this afternoon.

“Glad to be apprised of the progress in our cooperation The ASEAN-India meetings are a significant feature of India’s diplomatic calendar.

“Confident that our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will grow from strength to strength.”

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal in a tweet said the 26th ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting (AISOM) was held in New Delhi today.

The meeting reviewed the ASEAN-India relations and discussed further deepening of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, he posted.

The meeting was co-chaired by Jaideep Mazumdar, Secretary (East) with Albert Chua, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore.

Singapore is the Country Coordinator of India for ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations.

The meeting was attended by Senior Officials’ and representatives of all ASEAN Member States and Timor Leste, which holds Observer Status in ASEAN, and Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN.

At the 26th AISOM, the gamut of ASEAN-India relations across the three pillars of engagement — namely, political-security, economic and socio-cultural — as reflected in the ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2021-2025), was reviewed, a statement said.

The Senior Officials also discussed implementation of Prime Ministers’ 12 Point Proposal announced at the 20th ASEAN-India Summit in Jakarta in 2023 to further strengthen the ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Proposed joint activities to mark the decade of India’s Act East Policy were highlighted. Views on regional and global issues of mutual interest were also exchanged.

Preparations for the ASEAN-India Summit to be held later this year in Vientiane, Lao PDR were also discussed. The ASEAN side appreciated India’s continued support to ASEAN and to the ASEAN-led architecture in the region.

During their call on EAM Jaishankar “While underlining that ASEAN is a crucial pillar of India’s Act East Policy and its vision for the wider Indo-Pacific, EAM encouraged the delegation to focus on subjects of critical importance and specific outcomes, including early completion of review of ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) and regional issues of mutual interest”, it said.

The Thai Foreign Ministry posted on X: “DPS Paisan highlighted areas of ASEAN-India cooperation to be pushed forward: seamless connectivity, sustainable development, and fostering synergies & complementarities between ASEAN and other sub-regional groupings during 26th ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting in New Delhi. (3 May 2024)”

The AITIGA, signed in 2009, came into effect in 2010. The decision to review it came at the 16th ASEAN-India Economic Ministers Meeting in September 2019, following requests from member nations. The scope of the review was finalized in September 2022.

According to reports, India’s trade deficit with ASEAN has grown significantly, from $7.5 billion annually when the agreement came into effect to approximately $44 billion in FY23. This fiscal year so far, India has exported goods worth $44 billion to the region, while imports stood at $87.57 billion.

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