On June 16-17, 2022, India hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers and Secretary General for a 2-day Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (SAIFMM) 2022 for the first time in New Delhi, Delhi, to commemorate 30 years of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations and the 10th anniversary of India-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.
The year 2022 has been declared as the ASEAN-India Friendship Year in honour of this milestone, as stated by ASEAN and Indian leaders at the 18th ASEAN-India Summit on October 28, 2021.
- Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, presided over the 18th ASEAN-India Summit via videoconference.
Chair and Dignitaries of SAIFMM 2022
i. S. Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM), and Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, co-chaired the SAIFMM.
ii.Foreign Ministers from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, and representatives from Lao PDR, the Philippines, and Thailand, attended the meeting, along with the Secretary General of ASEANDato Lim Jock Hoi.
iii. Foreign ministers from ASEAN countries have also paid a visit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the ongoing cooperation between two sides. National Security Advisor (NSA) of India, Ajit Doval was also present during their visit.
Statement on the Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (SAIFMM) 2022:
- To continue advancing the effective implementation of the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2021-2025).
- To develop an open, secure, interoperable and user-empowering digital connectivity ecosystem, in view of the importance of digital platforms for improved access in areas such as healthcare, education, finance, etc.
- To enhance cooperation in the field of Defence through the ADMM-Plus and welcomed the proposed ASEAN-India Defence Ministers Informal Meeting in November 2022 .
- The Meeting also looked forward to the convening of the Field Training Exercise of the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group on HADR in Indonesia in 2023.
- To promote complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including through cooperation with relevant ASEAN centres, institutions and mechanisms under the ASEAN Charter that facilitate sustainable development cooperation in the region.
i. The ASEAN-India dialogue relationship began in 1992 with the formation of a sectoral partnership, which progressed to a full dialogue partnership in December 1995.
- They were finally transformed to a summit level partnership in 2002 and in 2012, the relations were upgraded to a strategic partnership.
ii.India’s Act East Policy and Indo-Pacific vision are both centred on ASEAN.
iii. The ASEAN comprises 10 nations: Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar.
Participants of SAIFMM 2022
Dr. S. Jaishankar had a series of bilateral engagements with his counterparts from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam on the sidelines of the SAIFMM. They are as follows:
i. Dato ErywanPehin Yusof, Foreign Minister II of Brunei.
- They agreed that cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, hydrocarbons and petrochemicals, space, agriculture and pharmaceuticals should be further strengthened.
ii.Mrs. RetnoMarsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia
- On June 17, 2022, EAM joined him at the 7th Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) and signed the “Agreement on exemption from visa requirement for holders of diplomatic and official/service passports.”
They also exchanged the following Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs):
- An MoU between the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of India and the National Narcotics Board of Indonesia, to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and precursors.
- An MoU was signed between the National Sugar Institute in Kanpur, India and the Politeknic Perkebunan LPP in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
iii. Dato Sri Saifuddin Abdullah, Foreign Minister of Malaysia
- EAM and his Malaysian counterpart have agreed to hold the next Joint Commission Meeting in Malaysia.
iv.Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Foreign Minister of Singapore
- They discussed various aspects of the multifaceted relations between the two countries including in areas such as trade and investment, digital economy and FINTECH, green growth and development, and connectivity. They also had a wide ranging conversation on global geopolitical challenges and developments in the region.
v.Ms Pornpimol Kanchanalak, Special Envoy of the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand
- EAM assured India’s full support during Thailand’s Chairmanship of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
vi.Bui Thanh Son, Foreign Minister of Vietnam
- EAM & his Vietnamese Counterpart launched the logo for the celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations.
- The bilateral meeting was held at the new Chancery building of the Embassy of Vietnam in New Delhi, Delhi.
- An MoU on cybersecurity between Computer Emergency Response Team – India (CERT-In), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, India and VNCERT (Vietnam Cyber Emergency Response Center), Ministry of Information and Communications, Vietnam, was exchanged.
Key Discussions Held
i. The Ministers reviewed the status of ASEAN-India Partnership and set out the path for the coming decade.
ii.The discussions included key focus areas of COVID-19 & Health, Trade & Commerce, Connectivity – physical and digital, Education & Capacity Building.
iii. To boost the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership, the ASEAN-India Joint Statement on Cooperation on ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) was emphasised.
iv.The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism, which is based on the principles of international law such as the United Nations (UN) Charter, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and other relevant UN treaties and conventions.
v.They’ve also agreed to keep an open and inclusive regional cooperation framework, to support ASEAN Centrality in the evolving rules-based regional architecture, and to support multilateralism in jointly responding to regional and global challenges.
Myanmar Not a Participant in the ASEAN Meet 2022
In accordance with the intentions of the ASEAN member states, India did not invite Myanmar’s foreign minister to the ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
- ASEAN-Myanmar relations were strained beginning with the February 1, 2021 coup that deposed Myanmar’s government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
It was regarded as India appeasing international concern about Myanmar’s junta, which has refused to negotiate with protesters demanding the restoration of democracy.
Ministerial Session of Twelfth Edition of Delhi Dialogue (DDXII) 2022
The 12th edition of the Delhi Dialogue (DDXII) 2022, a premium Track 1.5 Dialogue in the ASEAN-India calendar, was hosted by India on June 16-17, 2022, and was accompanied by the Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (SAIFMM).
The Ministerial Session of the 12th edition of the Delhi Dialogue (DDXII), which focuses on 30 years of ASEAN-India relations, was addressed by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers, ASEAN Secretary General, and Representatives of Foreign Ministers, as well as Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM of India.
- It was held under the theme ‘Building Bridges in the Indo-Pacific’.
Delhi Dialogue is India’s premier annual Track 1.5 Dialogue launched in the year 2009, which aims to strengthen ASEAN-India relations in the context of contemporary global and regional scenarios.
24th ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting 2022
The 24th ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting 2022 was held on June 15, 2022 in New Delhi, Delhi, and was attended by senior officials from ASEAN Member States and India.
- The Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) was held to review cooperation and discuss ways to deepen the ASEAN-India strategic partnership in mutually beneficial areas.
Chair of the 24th ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting 2022
The 24th ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting was co-chaired by Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East) of India’s Ministry of External Affairs and SOM Leader, and Albert Chua, Permanent Secretary of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and SOM Leader.
Highlights of the Meeting
i. The meeting observed consistent progress in the implementation of the ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2021-2025), which was established in 2020.
ii.India was praised at the meeting for its USD 1 million contribution to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund & its support for ASEAN & ASEAN-led architecture in the region.
iii. As the Country Coordinator, the Secretary (East) praised Singapore’s contributions and sustained support in boosting ASEAN-India relations.
iv.Variouscommemorative activities were plannedto celebrate 2022 as the ASEAN-India Friendship Year such as
- Visits of an ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary delegation to India and vice versa,
- ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise and ASEAN-India Business Expo,
- ASEAN India Artist Camp
About Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN):
The First ASEAN Summit was held in Bali, Indonesia on 23-24 February 1976.
Secretary-General –Dato Lim Jock Hoi
Establishment –1967 (in Bangkok, Thailand)
Headquarters – Jakarta, Indonesia