ASEAN, India reaffirm ties in 21st century

November 13, 2020 - 10:12
ASEAN and Indian leaders reaffirmed their commitment to developing bilateral ties in the 21st century during the 17th ASEAN-India Summit held on Thursday chaired by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.


India Prime Minister Narendra Modi address the 17th ASEAN-India Summit on Thursday.  — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất

HÀ NỘI —  ASEAN and Indian leaders reaffirmed their commitment to developing bilateral ties in the 21st century during the 17th ASEAN-India Summit held on Thursday chaired by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.

Based on common values and long-standing ties, both sides highlighted the significance of ASEAN-India strategic partnership to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

ASEAN leaders hailed India’s 'Look East' policy for deepening ties with the bloc as well as the country’s support for principles and values mentioned in their common documents.

On the fight against COVID-19, ASEAN leaders wished India would share its experience in COVID-19 vaccine development. They also introduced regional initiatives to fight the pandemic to India.

They wished that both sides would ensure the flow of trade and investment to mitigate the impacts of supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic based on bilateral agreements, including the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement.

Addressing the 17th ASEAN-India Summit, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ASEAN had been the core of India's Act East Policy.

Modi stressed India believed that a cohesive and responsive ASEAN is important for security and growth for all.

“It is our top priority to boost connectivity between India and ASEAN [be it] physical, economic, cultural, digital, financial or maritime.”

There are many similarities between India’s Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative’ and ASEAN’s ‘Outlook on Indo Pacific’, according to the prime minister. The strategic partnership of India and member countries of ASEAN is based on the shared historical, geographical and cultural heritage.

India hailed ASEAN’s stance on Indo-Pacific co-operation and would be ready to work with ASEAN to promote the implementation of priorities in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, he said, wishing ASEAN member states would make effective use of a credit package worth US$1 billion provided by India to develop infrastructure.

He announced that the Indian government would contribute $1 million to ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund. He vowed to work closely with ASEAN to study and develop a COVID-19 vaccine at reasonable prices.

On regional and global issues, both sides pledged to work closely together to cope with traditional and non-traditional challenges, especially in the fight against terrorism and trans-national crime.

India was willing to work with ASEAN member states for a South China Sea of peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom, Modi said.

He affirmed support for ASEAN’s stance on the South China Sea, especially the principles of refraining from the use of force and threat to use force in the settlement of disputes, non-militarisation and respect to international law.

India calls on parties to fully abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon reach a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

PM Phúc wished India would engage more deeply in ASEAN co-operation areas and drive back the pandemic together.

He hailed India for carrying forward Mekong – Ganga co-operation and hoped projects within its framework would make practical contributions to narrowing regional development gaps.

About the South China Sea (called East Sea by Việt Nam), PM Phúc affirmed that Việt Nam’s viewpoint suits ASEAN’s principle stance on the East Sea which was affirmed at the 36th ASEAN Summit in June, the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in September and the 37th ASEAN Summit, towards building waters of peace, stability and co-operation. — VNS