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Highlights of PM Narendra Modi visit to Jakarta; Attended 20th ASEAN-India Summit & 18th East Asia Summit

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Prime Ministers attended the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia SummitPrime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi paid official visit to Jakarta, Indonesia from 6th to 7th September 2023 at the invitation of Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia.

  • During his visit, he attended the 20th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) -India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) hosted by Indonesia as current Chair of ASEAN.
  • The 20th ASEAN-India Summit is the 1st Summit since the elevation of India-ASEAN relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2022.

In 2023, Indonesia took lead as ASEAN Chair with the theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”. The Chairmanship of ASEAN is rotate annually based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.

20th ASEAN-India Summit:

On September 7, 2023, the 20th ASEAN-India Summit was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Summit was co-chaired by Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, and Indian PM Narendra Modi on the theme ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth‘.

  • The meeting reviewed the progress made under ASEAN-India dialogue relations and welcomed the Annex to the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2021-2025) which was adopted during ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference with India (PMC+1), held in Jakarta on July 13, 2023.


i.Discussions were held on enhancing the ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, emphasizing ASEAN’s centrality in the Indo-Pacific.

ii.Indian side highlighted alignment between India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

iii.Emphasis were laid on the importance of promptly reviewing the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA).

iv.The Indian Side announced to establish an Indian Embassy in Dili, Timor-Leste.

  • Timor-Leste joined the ASEAN in 2022 as an Observer, before becoming its full member.

v.Two Joint Statements, one on Maritime Cooperation, and the other on Food Security were adopted.

Statement on Maritime Cooperation:

  • India and ASEAN members agreed to enhance maritime cooperation, focusing on safety, security, and combating illegal activities.
  • They also committed to advancing the Blue Economy, addressing climate change and pollution, and promoting sustainable maritime transport.
  • Both parties agreed to collaborate on Indo-Pacific connectivity, involving various sectors for infrastructure development, with a particular emphasis on fisheries and shipbuilding.

Statement on Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Response to Crises

  • They have agreed to make concerted efforts to increase cooperation in food security, nutrition, food trade supply chain, cultivation of millets, and financing for climate-friendly technologies.
  • They have agreed to ensure unrestricted trade and flow of foodstuffs and other essential agricultural inputs.
  • They agreed to explore government-to-government food grain exports for humanitarian crises and supported the use of digital technologies in agriculture, including interoperability of digital infrastructure.
  • They will exchange information on national policy frameworks, particularly for rice and other priority crop commodities.

PM Narendra Modi unveils 12-point plan to strengthen ASEAN-India cooperation

The PM  proposed a 12-point plan to strengthen India-ASEAN cooperation, covering:

  1. Creating a multi-modal connectivity corridor linking South-East Asia, India, West Asia, and Europe.
  2. Sharing India’s Digital Public Infrastructure Stack with ASEAN partners.
  3. Establishing an ASEAN-India fund for Digital Future to support digital transformation and financial connectivity.
  4. Renewing support for the Economic and Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) as a knowledge partner.
  5. Advocating for shared representation of Global South issues in multilateral forums.
  6. Inviting ASEAN countries to join the WHO’s Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India.
  7. Collaborating on Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment).
  8. Sharing India’s expertise in providing affordable, quality medicines through Jan-Aushadhi Kendras.
  9. Cooperating against terrorism, terror financing, and cyber-disinformation.
  10. Inviting ASEAN countries to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).
  11. Promoting cooperation in disaster management.
  12. Enhancing collaboration on maritime safety, security, and domain awareness.

Key Points:

i.In 2022–2023, bilateral trade between India and ASEAN reached USD 131.5 billion, accounting for 11.3% of India’s overall trade.

ii.In 2022, ASEAN and India celebrated the 30th anniversary, and the relations between them have elevated to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).


India and ASEAN member nations viz Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam. Timor-Leste participated in the Summit as Observor.

18th East Asia Summit:

The 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) Summit was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting adopted the EAS Leaders’ Statement on Maintaining and Promoting the Region as an Epicentrum of Growth and exchanged views on a wide range of regional and international issues.

  • The meeting also reviewed the implementation of the EAS Plan of Action (POA) 2018-2022 and welcomed the adoption of the new EAS POA for the next five years.

Key Points:

i.The 18th East Asia Summit, Indian side reiterated the importance of the EAS mechanism and reaffirmed support for its strengthening.

ii.There was a call for a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific, with an emphasis on ASEAN centrality.

iii.Cooperation was urged to address global challenges, including terrorism, climate change, resilient supply chains for essential items, and energy security.

iv.India’s initiatives in climate change, such as International Solar Alliance (ISA), CDRI, LiFE, and One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG), were noted.

v.The leaders also engaged in discussions on various regional and international issues.

About EAS:

Established in 2005, is the Indo-Pacific’s premier forum for strategic dialogue. It is the only leader-led forum at which all key partners meet to discuss political, security and economic challenges facing the Indo-Pacific.

  • It has 18 members — the ten ASEAN countries, along with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States (US).

Recent Related News:

i.Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe made an official two-day visit to India from 20- 21st July 2023. He was welcomed by Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V Muraleedharan. This marks Wickremesinghe’s first trip to India since he was elected president of Sri Lanka in July 2022.

ii.Dr. S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister (EAM) went on a four-day official visit to United Republic of Tanzania from 5-8 July 2023. EAM’s visit to Tanzania will further integrate the bilateral relations between the two nations.

About ASEAN:
It was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Secretary-General– Dr. Kao Kim Hourn
Secretariat– Jalan Sisingamangaraja, Jakarta