PM Modi Re-affirms India’s Focus on Free, Open & Inclusive Indo-Pacific at ASEAN East Asia Summit

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday re-affirmed India’s focus on a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific during the annual regional summit held by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) via video conferencing.

Brunei, which currently leads the 10-nation bloc, is hosting the three-day meetings from Tuesday. Prime Minister Modi said he reaffirm the principle of ASEAN Centrality in the region. “India remains committed to strengthening respect for shared values of multilateralism, rules-based international order, international law and sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations,” he said in a tweet.

“I look forward to participating in the 18th ASEAN-India Summit tomorrow,” he added.

The East Asia Summit is the premier leaders-led forum in the Indo-Pacific. Since its inception in 2005, it has played a significant role in the strategic and geopolitical evolution of East Asia. Apart from the 10 ASEAN Member states, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia.

India, being a founding member of the East Asia Summit, is committed to strengthening the East Asia Summit and making it more effective for dealing with contemporary challenges, according to a government release

The 18th ASEAN-India Summit will review the status of ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership and take stock of progress made in key areas including Covid-19, health, trade, commerce, connectivity, education and culture. Important regional and international developments including post-pandemic economic recovery will also be discussed, it said.

Prime Minister attended the ASEAN-India Summit held virtually in November last year. The summit on Thursday will be the ninth ASEAN-India Summit to be attended by him.

The year 2022 will mark 30 years of ASEAN-India relations. India and ASEAN have several dialogue mechanisms which meet regularly, including a Summit, Ministerial meetings and Senior Officials’ meetings. External Affairs Minister, Dr S. Jaishankar attended the ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in August 2021 virtually.

(With inputs from agencies)

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