On September 12, 2020, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India Ministerial Meeting was held virtually which was co-chaired by Union Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) along with Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. It was attended by Foreign Ministers of the ten ASEAN Member States. During the meet ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2021-2025) was adopted.
- The objective of the meet was to review the status of ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership in areas of maritime cooperation, connectivity, education & capacity building and people-to-people contacts.
- The discussions were also held to strengthen cooperation to fight COVID-19 pandemic and exchanged views on important regional and international developments.
Key Points regarding review of ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership:
-The progress was reviewed for implementation of the ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2016-2020).
-The meeting also reviewed the preparations for the upcoming 17th ASEAN-India Summit and the progress in the implementation of key decisions of the Leaders of ASEAN Member States (AMS) and India at the 16th ASEAN-India Summit held in Bangkok in November 2019 and the previous Summits.
Adoption of ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2021-2025)
The meet saw an adoption of ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2021-2025) for 5 years which envisages greater cooperation in areas including trade, maritime security and counter-terrorism. Through this plan both sides will work towards the ASEAN 2025 vision that narrows the development gap and enhances connectivity. Following the key highlights from plan:
- Both sides will also cooperate on common challenges and enhance coordination at international forums.
- The plan envisages India’s active participation and co-chairing of joint exercises and activities, and strengthening of practical defence cooperation to address challenges in maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operations, and cyber-security.
- The two sides will also promote freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded commerce, the non-use of force, and the resolution of disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
- In the field of economic cooperation, the two sides will continue efforts to make the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA) more user-friendly by initiating a review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement and work towards ratification of the ASEAN-India Investment Agreement to facilitate further economic integration.
- The plan will also expedite the completion of relevant sections of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and provide support in building an economic corridor along it and its extension to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
Points to be note:
-The ASEAN region along with India together comprises a combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one-fourth of the global population, and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion.
-Investment from ASEAN to Indian has been over USD 70 billion in the last 17 years accounting for more than 17% of India’s total FDI (foreign direct investment).
Recent Related News:
The 3rd India-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) youth dialogue 2020 was held virtually on June 8-10, 2020 focusing on coronavirus pandemic. The meet has regarded the youth as “vehicles of change” who are playing a pivotal role by leading the fight against the pandemic. It should be noted that India has 65% of its population below 35 years i.e. the largest number of young people in the world.
2020 Chairmanship– Vietnam
Chairman– Nguyen Xuan Phuc
Secretariat – Jakarta, Indonesia
Secretary General– Dato Lim Jock Hoi
Membership– 10 States ― Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. 1 Observer – Papua New Guinea