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India ASEAN Summit: Modi Holds Bilateral Talks

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Minister of Exte0rnal Affairs Sushma Swaraj inaugurating Bharat ASEAN Maitri Park.

With “Shared Values, Common Destiny” as the theme, New Delhi holds the Commemorative Summit to mark 25 years of the India-Asean Dialogue partnership on Thursday at which the heads of state or government of all 10 southeast Asian nations are present….reports Asian Lite news

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan during a bilateral meeting in New Delhi on Jan 24, 2018. (Photo: IANS/MEA)

The Summit marks the conclusion of a series of events held over the last one year to mark the silver anniversary of the Dialogue Partnership.

Economic and commercial exchange and defence and security between India and Thailand were among the issues discussed during a bilateral meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi held with his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha here on Thursday.

“Constructive dialogue on economic and commercial exchange, connectivity, defence and security, cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

India-Thailand bilateral trade stands at around $8 billion, tilted largely in favour of the latter.

Work is also underway on a trilateral highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand, which, according to the External Affairs Ministry, will be operational by the end of 2019.

In July this year, Thailand will take over from Vietnam the role of country coordinator for India with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional bloc.

Prayut arrived on Wednesday to attend the Commemorative Summit to mark 25 years of the India-Asean Dialogue Partnership to be held later on Thursday.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam being received by Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as he arrives to attend ASEAN India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi, on Jan 24, 2018. (Photo: IANS/MEA)

Heads of state and government of all 10 Asean nations will be attending the Summit.

The Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Under its Act East Policy, New Delhi is pushing to boost its relationship via connectivity, commerce and culture with this regional bloc.

On Friday, Prayut will be among all 10 Asean heads of state and government who will attend this year’s Republic Day celebrations as guests of honour, something unprecedented, since the leader of only one foreign country has attended the event as the chief guest all these years.

India and Vietnam on Wednesday signed agreements in the areas of information and broadcasting, and space cooperation following a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

According to External Affairs Minstry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, Modi and Phuc “discussed cooperation in trade and investment, defence, maritime and other areas”.

“Agreements were signed in areas of information and broadcasting and space cooperation,” Kumar tweeted.

During Modi’s visit to Vietnam in September 2016, the India-Vietnam relationship was upgraded to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership which Hanoi only has with Moscow and Beijing.

India and the Philippines on Wednesday signed an investment facilitation agreement following a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

The two leaders discussed trade and investment, defence and security, education, and people-to-people cooperation, according to External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

“An agreement to facilitate investment was signed,” Kumar tweeted.

Prime Minister of Thailand Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha being received by Union Minister Gen. (Retd.) V.K.Singh as he arrives to attend ASEAN India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi, on Jan 24, 2018. (Photo: IANS/MEA)

India-Philippines bilateral trade stood at nearly $2 billion in 2016-17. In 2016-17, India’s exports amounted to $1.487 billion and imports totaled $494 million.

Modi visited the Philippines in November last year to attend the Asean-India Summit. It was the first prime ministerial visit from India to that southeast Asian nation in 36 years since the visit of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1981.

Amid the Rohingya refugee crisis, India and Myanmar discussed ties in a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi here.

“The two leaders had a productive discussion on intensifying bilateral cooperation, including follow up on key decisions taken during Prime Minister’s visit to Myanmar in September 2017,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

The meeting assumes significance in the wake of the exodus of Rohingya refugees from the Rakhine state in Myanmar to Bangladesh since August last year.

India-Asean trade stands at over $70 billion and the two sides are also negotiating a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The RCEP is a proposed FTA between the 10 Asean member states and the six countries with which Asean has FTAs — Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

In terms of culture, India and southeast Asia are bound by Buddhism and the Indian epic Ramayana. Most of the southeast Asian nations have their own version of the Ramayana.

 

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