‘India, ASEAN Key to a Resurgent Asia’


India and ASEAN share a vision of a peaceful, prosperous and a resurgent Asia, which contributes to global peace and security,” noted Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

“India and ASEAN share a vision of a peaceful, prosperous and a resurgent Asia, which contributes to global peace and security,” noted Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

While delivering the keynote address at the Academic Session of Delhi Dialogue VII on ‘ASEAN-India: Shaping the Post-2015 Agenda’ at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Anil Wadhwa emphasised upon the need to work towards transforming this vision into reality and taking the ASEAN-India Strategic partnership to the next high level.

“Today, relationship with the ASEAN is one of the cornerstones of India’s foreign policy and the foundation of our Act East Policy. There has been a deepening of cooperation across the three pillars of our relationship - politico-security, economic and socio-cultural, in the last twenty three years,” he said.

Speaking about Asia’s role in today’s scenario, Secretary (East) said that with the evolving of political, economic and security structures, the continent is assuming new responsibilities. In this scenario, ASEAN and India are, and will remain natural partners in defining their perspectives and addressing their common requirements of economic growth and prosperity.

Commenting on the changing global dynamics, he said that the current scenario underlines the ‘necessity of a stable and a peaceful regional environment, ASEAN’s centrality in the evolving regional architecture and enhanced India-ASEAN cooperation for maritime security, freedom of navigation and the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law.’ He further called for deeper collaboration in the realm of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, anti-piracy, counter-terrorism and cyber security.

Emphasising that India has always been willing to share its developmental experience with friends, Wadhwa noted that India and ASEAN should continue to cooperate and share best practices and advance collaboration in tele-medicine and healthcare access, clean technologies and biotechnology, urban planning including water and air management, agriculture and food security, R&D and S&T, remote sensing and space cooperation, governance and anti corruption mechanisms for efficient delivery of citizen services.

On the economic front, the economic underpinnings of the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership have been strengthened by the signing of the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investments, which will come into force later this year, he stated, adding that the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015 would be a major milestone. “The AEC, perceived as an economic powerhouse in the making, will generate tremendous growth potential and new opportunities for promoting bilateral trade and building business partnerships, particularly in the SME sector,” said Secretary (East).

While putting forth a case for the enhancement of regional connectivity, he said that ‘connectivity with ASEAN- geographical, institutional and people-to-people is a strategic priority for India.’

Since 2009, the Delhi Dialogue has emerged as a useful Track 1.5 platform for discussions between government representatives, Track II experts and business representatives on political, economic and security issues of interest to both India and ASEAN.

The academic session of the dialogue brought together policymakers, think tanks, scholars, business leaders and academics to brainstorm on various aspects of the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership under the umbrella of the Delhi Dialogue process. Some of the key issues discussed were Maritime Security, Cyber Security, Skill Development, Knowledge Society and Economy, Cultural Linkages, Integration of Regional Production Networks and Value Chains, Infrastructure and Energy and the Way Forward for ASEAN-India relations.

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