|Deputy foreign ministers of ASEAN countries and India complete the traditional ASEAN group handshake on Friday at the 20th ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang|
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Quốc Dũng and Secretary of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Preeti Saran co-chaired the two-day 20th ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) which ended yesterday in Hà Nội.
At the annual meeting, delegates shared the view that the ASEAN-India dialogue relationship plays an important role in ensuring peace, stability and cooperation in the region. They praised the success of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit held in January 2018, considering it a significant event that opened up a new chapter in bilateral ties.
They lauded the progress of the implementation of the Action Plan for 2016-2020 and a portfolio of priority fields for 2016-2018. As of March 2018, 75 out of 130 activities in the Action Plan have been completed, equivalent to 60 percent after two years.
Both sides agreed to push forward the development of their strategic partnership, especially in priority fields.
The officials pledged to boost bilateral trade and investment ties by effectively realising free trade agreements in goods, services and investment, strengthening connectivity in the private sector and facilitating small and medium-sized enterprises’ access to technology and capital sources.
The participants emphasised the importance of effectively implementing projects and initiatives on road, navigation, aviation and digital connectivity.
The ASEAN officials hailed India’s sharing of experience in building smart cities, developing the sea-based economy and helping ASEAN and Indian firms form regional value chains, effectively join global value chains and narrow the development gap.
On regional and global issues, they said security challenges remain complicated and suggested boosting coordination in security, including cyber security, and the fight against terrorism, extreme violence, trans-national crimes and climate change.
They lauded proposals to deploy initiatives announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit such as opening a digital village in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Việt Nam, designating 2019 as the Year of ASEAN – India Tourism, offering doctorate scholarships to ASEAN member states, and holding training courses on electricity use and transmission, telecommunications and cyber technology.
Preeti Saran affirmed
She lauded Việt Nam’s role as the coordinator of ASEAN-India relations over the recent past, adding that ASEAN’s close coordination will contribute to the enhancement of mutual understanding to build a region of fairness, openness and inclusiveness based on rules.
Deputy FM Dũng noted that the “Act East” Policy proposed by the Indian prime minister is evidence of growing ASEAN-India ties, thus making practical contributions to peace, stability and development in the region.
He affirmed that developing the sea-based economy and improving inclusive connectivity, especially digital connectivity, are key to lifting the ASEAN-India partnership to a new height with a market of nearly 2 billion people and a gross domestic product of more than US$3.8 trillion per year.
Regarding the regional and international situation, the two sides applauded the resumed negotiations and hoped that an effective and legally binding Code of Conduct in the