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Saturday, 23 February 2013

Asean, India boost partnership

Asean, India boost partnership
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Indian senior government officials and experts met in New Delhi, India at their fifth dialogue to discuss the partnership between the two regions and their vision for a prosperous future.

Addressing the forum’s inaugural session on Tuesday, Asean Secretary General Le Luong Minh said the Asean-India partnership has grown into one of Asean’s most comprehensive, dynamic and fast-growing partnerships.

Minh emphasised India’s ‘Look East’ policy, which has been implemented since 1991 to enhance its relations with Asean members.

“Over the past two decades, Asean has engaged India in a relationship which has grown rapidly to a full-dialogue partnership in 1995, further strengthened with the convening of annual summits since 2002 and most recently, last year, elevated to a strategic partnership,” he said.

“From a relationship which mainly emphasised economic cooperation, the Asean-India partnership has developed into one of Asean’s most comprehensive, dynamic and fast-growing partnerships spanning across a whole spectrum of political security, economic, social-cultural and development collaboration,” he said.

He suggested both Asean and Indian officials undertake a mid-term review of the implementation of their Plan of Action and map out possible joint activities from now until 2015.

The dialogue touched on a variety of issues, such as India-Asean security cooperation, non-traditional security challenges, food security, water management and pandemics, and the future of the global energy market and the role of new and renewable energy in sustainable development.

The participants also discussed cooperation between Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam and northeast India and how to expand networks through land, sea and air connectivity.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid said the dialogue creates a forum for government and business representatives to discuss political, economic and security issues that concern both India and Asean.

The topic of the dialogue underscores India and Asean’s desire to promote their strategic partnership for peace, progress and prosperity, he said.

According to the Indian Minister, India and Asean’s combined population make up one-fourth of the world’s total and their combined GDP is US$3.8 trillion.

Two-way trade reached $70 billion ahead of schedule last year and bilateral trade aims to reach $100 billion by 2015.