18th India-ASEAN Summit:
India participated in the 18th India-ASEAN Summit at the invitation of Brunei, the current Chair of ASEAN.
- The Year 2022 has been highlighted as India-ASEAN Friendship by the leaders.
- India-ASEAN Summit is held every year and provides an opportunity for India and Asean to engage at the highest level.
ASEAN in Act East Policy:
- The centrality of ASEAN in India’s Act East Policy and in India’s Vision for the wider Indo-Pacific Vision has been underlined.
- Welcomed the adoption of the India-ASEAN Joint Statement on cooperation for peace, stability and prosperity in the region, building upon the synergies between the ASEAN Outlook for the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
- Recently, India also addressed the 16th East Asia Summit, where it reaffirmed India’s focus on a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and the principle of Asean Centrality in the region.
- Exchanged views on enhancing India-ASEAN connectivity in broadest terms including physical, digital and people to people.
- India announced its support for establishing the ASEAN Cultural Heritage List to further strengthen India-ASEAN cultural connectivity.
- Trade and Investment: The importance of diversification and resilience of supply chains for post-Covid economic recovery and in this regard, the need to revamp the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been underlined.
- Rule-Based Order: Regional and international issues of common interest and concern, including South China Sea and terrorism.
- The importance of promoting a rules-based order in the region including through upholding adherence to international law, especially the UNCLOS.
- Covid-19: Highlighted India’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic in the region and also reiterated support for ASEAN’s initiatives in this regard. India has contributed medical supplies worth USD 200,000 to ASEAN’s humanitarian initiative for Myanmar and USD 1 million for ASEAN’s Covid-19 Response Fund.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN):
- It is a regional grouping that promotes economic, political, and security cooperation.
- It was established in August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the founding fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
- Its chairmanship rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
- ASEAN countries have a total population of 650 million people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 2.8 trillion.
- It is India’s 4th largest trading partner with about USD 86.9 billion in trade.
- ASEAN brings together ten Southeast Asian states – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – into one organisation.