Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently addressed the 20th ASEAN-India summit held in Jakarta, where he presented a 12-point proposal to strengthen the cooperation between India and ASEAN. This summit marked the fourth decade of the India-ASEAN partnership, and Prime Minister Modi expressed his honor to co-chair this significant event. He commended Indonesian President Joko Widodo for organizing the summit, emphasizing the central role of ASEAN in India’s Act East policy and Indo-Pacific initiative.
Unity in History and Geography
Prime Minister Modi highlighted the strong historical and geographical ties that unite India and ASEAN. He emphasized the shared values, regional integration, and the belief in peace, prosperity, and a multipolar world that further strengthen the bond between the two regions. Despite the global uncertainties, he acknowledged the consistent progress in India-ASEAN mutual cooperation.
He said, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – one earth, one family, one future, this sentiment is also the theme of India’s G-20 Presidency. He said, the 21st century is Asia’s century. Mr Modi said, for this, it is necessary to build a rule-based post-COVID world order and efforts by all for human welfare.
Expanding India’s Presence
During the summit, Prime Minister Modi announced the opening of an Indian Embassy in Dili, Timor-Leste, showcasing India’s commitment to expand its presence in the ASEAN region. The theme of this year’s ASEAN Summit, ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth,’ resonated with Prime Minister Modi’s belief that ASEAN plays a crucial role in global development.
A Shared Vision for Indo-Pacific
Prime Minister Modi highlighted the convergence of vision for the Indo-Pacific between India and ASEAN. He emphasized that ASEAN is the focal point of the Quad’s vision and called for strengthening multilateralism to ensure a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific. Addressing global issues such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity, and food, health, and energy security, Prime Minister Modi emphasized the need for collective action.
Promoting Connectivity and Digital Transformation
Prime Minister Modi presented a 12-point proposal to strengthen India-ASEAN cooperation, covering various aspects such as connectivity, digital transformation, trade and economic engagement, contemporary challenges, people-to-people contacts, and strategic engagement. He proposed the establishment of a multi-modal connectivity and economic corridor that links South-East Asia, India, West Asia, and Europe. Additionally, he offered to share India’s Digital Public Infrastructure Stack with ASEAN partners, promoting cooperation in digital transformation and financial connectivity.
Collaboration in Healthcare and Disaster Management
Prime Minister Modi called for collective efforts to address contemporary challenges faced by the Global South in multilateral fora. He invited ASEAN countries to join the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine being established by the World Health Organization in India. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of working together on Mission LiFE, sharing India’s experience in providing affordable and quality medicines through Jan-Aushadhi Kendras. In the realm of disaster management, Prime Minister Modi invited ASEAN countries to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and enhance cooperation on maritime safety, security, and domain awareness.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s participation in the ASEAN-India Summit has given a strategic direction to the India-ASEAN relationship. The 12-point proposal presented by Prime Minister Modi aims to strengthen cooperation in various domains and lay the foundation for a prosperous future. With a focus on connectivity, digital transformation, and addressing global challenges, India and ASEAN are poised to deepen their strategic engagement for the betterment of both regions.