ASEAN, India deepen ties towards comprehensive strategic partnership

ASEAN and India on Saturday established the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at the 19th ASEAN-India Summit to commemorate three decades of dialogue relations and reaffirmed the importance of maintaining ASEAN’s centrality in the architecture evolving region of the Indo-Pacific.

The Joint Statement on the ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership reaffirmed the importance of maintaining ASEAN’s centrality in the evolving regional architecture in the Indo-Pacific and deepening dialogue and coordination through existing ASEAN-led mechanisms.

These mechanisms include the ASEAN-India Summit, East Asia Summit (EAS), Post-Ministerial Conference with India (PMC+1), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Meeting of ASEAN Defense Ministers-Plus (ADMM-Plus), the ASEAN Broader Maritime Forum (EAMF), and cooperate on initiatives to support and contribute to the ASEAN integration and community building process. ‘ASEAN;

Noting that the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Outlook (AOIP) and the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) share relevant core principles in promoting peace and cooperation, the joint statement reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, and other lawful uses of the seas.

They also pledged to advance maritime cooperation, particularly in maritime security, the fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships, maritime security and humanitarian aid to search and rescue operations. rescue (SAR), disaster management and emergency response and relief.

The summit also agreed to strengthen cooperation against terrorism and transnational crimes, including international economic crimes and money laundering, cybercrime, drug and human trafficking and arms smuggling.

The Summit also agreed to strengthen cooperation on cybersecurity, including establishing new platforms for dialogue between ASEAN and India, and working closely with the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Center of Excellence and ADMM’s Cybersecurity and Information Center of Excellence.

On trade, ASEAN and India have agreed to expedite the review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to make it more user-friendly, simple and facilitating trade, and to work together to forge resilient supply chains, explore cooperation on a one-stop-shop platform to improve trade facilitation and integration, and promote the development of MSMEs and start-ups , including through business matchmaking events facilitated by the ASEAN-India Business Council (AIBC).

The summit also highlighted cooperation in the field of digital economy through a series of regional capacity building activities in the areas of digital transformation, digital trade, skills and innovation. digital, as well as hackathons.

For e-commerce, the Summit resolved to explore fintech cooperation, including unified and interoperable digital financial systems between ASEAN and India, which would expand opportunities for business and e-commerce.

On the issue of connectivity, India and ASEAN have enhanced their transport and connectivity cooperation in the land, air and maritime domains, including through the speedy completion and operationalization of the highway India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) trilateral while eagerly awaiting its eastward expansion. to Lao PDR, Cambodia and Viet Nam, and explore synergies between the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and India’s connectivity initiatives under its Act East policy, in line with the “Connect Connectivity” approach, to strengthen regional connectivity;

For climate change, the group decided to strengthen cooperation in the field of the environment, including biodiversity and climate change, as well as to explore cooperation in the field of energy security, including cooperation on clean, renewable and low-carbon energy in accordance with ASEAN. Energy Cooperation Action Plan 2021-2025 and India’s renewable energy priorities, as well as other national models and priorities such as bio-circular-green development.

The summit also discussed smart cities and the joint statement decided to explore cooperation such as city-to-city partnerships between the ASEAN Smart City Network (ASCN) and the Smart City Mission of India in fostering exchanges of best practices and capacity building to help build resilient, innovative, well-connected and technologically advanced cities.

It has further strengthened ASEAN-India cooperation in the space sector, including through the establishment of tracking, receiving and data processing stations in Viet Nam and Indonesia, and fostering cooperation among ASEAN actors. and the Indian space industry, including new areas of collaboration.

For tourism, the joint statement added: “Promoting the revival of tourism and related industries which have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, through the effective implementation of the ASEAN-India Tourism Work Plans. “.

(With ANI entries)

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