ASEAN is the cornerstone of India’s Act East Policy – PM Modi

New Delhi: – Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined the importance of ASEAN by saying, ‘There is a lot common in the policies of the ASEAN and India regarding the Indo-Pacific sector. ASEAN is the foundation of the Indian Act East Policy.’ A virtual summit was held between ASEAN and India on Thursday. During the conference, discussions were held between India and ASEAN on the South China Sea issue. The cooperation between India and the ASEAN countries becomes important as Chinese bullying is on the rise in this sector.  

This virtual summit was held between India and ASEAN, led by Vietnam, on Thursday. The ASEAN countries include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Prime Minister Modi said at this time that the Indian stand is that the Indo-Pacific sector should be free and open. The Prime Minister appealed to the ASEAN countries to unite to add strength to this policy.   

Prime Minister Modi said that the cooperation between India and the ASEAN countries has a historical, geographic and cultural heritage. The Prime Minister said that the cooperation in the economic, social, marine and digital sectors would have to be prioritised for increasing the connectivity between India and the ASEAN countries. The Prime Minister pointed out that this cooperation is rising between India and the ASEAN countries over the last few years.   

Discussions regarding the South China Sea dispute were held during this year’s virtual summit. India and the ASEAN countries stressed on peace, stability and security in the South China Sea region. The Indian Prime Minister delivered a blow to China in suggestive words saying that international regulations should be followed in this region. The Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, underlined the Chinese threat, without taking names, saying that there is a threat to the peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and this poses as the biggest challenge.   

India announced an aid of USD 1 million for the ASEAN countries against the background of the Coronavirus crisis. Stress was also given on the world and cooperation in the post Coronavirus scenario. Detailed discussions on the trade cooperation between India and the ASEAN countries were also held during the virtual summit.   

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