18th India-ASEAN Summit: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 28th October 2021 attended the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India Summit.
He was invited by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, the current Chair of ASEAN.
The Summit was held virtually and saw participation from the Leaders of ASEAN Member States.
Key points about the summit:
- Highlighting the milestone of 30th anniversary of India-ASEAN Partnership, the leaders announced the Year 2022 as India-ASEAN Friendship Year.
- ASEAN-India Summit reviewed progress made in various areas, including COVID-19 and Health, Trade and Commerce, Connectivity, Education and Culture.
- Prime Minister Modi underlined the centrality of ASEAN in India’s Act East Policy and in India’s Vision for the wider Indo-Pacific Vision.
- Building upon the synergies between the ASEAN Outlook for the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), PM Modi and ASEAN leaders welcomed the adoption of the India-ASEAN Joint Statement on cooperation for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
- To further strengthen India-ASEAN cultural connectivity, PM Modi also announced India’s support for establishing the ASEAN Cultural Heritage List.
- On COVID-19, the PM Modi highlighted that India has contributed medical supplies worth USD 200,000 to ASEAN’s humanitarian initiative for Myanmar and USD 1 million for ASEAN’s Covid-19 Response Fund.
- The discussions also covered regional and international issues of common interest and concern, including South China Sea and terrorism.
- Both sides noted the importance of promoting a rules-based order in the region including through upholding adherence to international law, especially the UNCLOS.
- The leaders affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, safety and security in the South China Sea, and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.
- It refers to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
- ASEAN is a regional intergovernmental organization and it comprises of 10 countries in Southeast Asia.
- It was created on 8 August 1967 by 5 countries namely Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.
- The ASEAN Secretariat is located at Jakarta, Indonesia.
- It was created with an aim to promote intergovernmental cooperation.
- The organization also facilitates political, economic, military, educational, security, and socio-cultural integration among its members as well as in other countries in Asia.
- ASEAN has been India’s utmost priority under its Act East Policy.
- The 10 member countries are Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Laos
India’s Act East Asia Policy:
- India’s ‘Act East’ policy was announced in November 2014 as a diplomatic initiative to promote economic, strategic and cultural relations with the vast Asia-Pacific region at different levels.
- It involves intensive engagement with Southeast Asian countries in the field of connectivity, trade, culture, defence and people-to-people-contact at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.
- The Act East policy is considered as the modern version of the Look East Policy which was launched in 1991 by then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.