New Delhi : Prime minister Narendra Modi is in bilateral talks with the leaders of the ASEAN nations who are in India as chief guests for the Republic Day celebrations. The presence of these leaders at the Republic Day celebrations underlines growing Indian influence in the South East Asian region. Prime minister Modi had discussions with all the ASEAN nations on Thursday.
Prime minister Modi had discussions with ‘Aung San Suu Kyi’ State Counsellor from Myanmar on Wednesday. The main topic of discussions at this meeting was the issue of the Rohingya refugees. Similarly, the prime minister had bilateral talks with Nguyen Xuan Phuc, prime minister of Vietnam as well as ‘Rodrigo Duterte’ the president of the Phillippines. On Thursday the Indian prime minister held bilateral talks with Prayut Chan-o-cha, prime minister of Thailand and Lee Hsien Loong, prime minister of Singapore and the Sultan of Brunei, Darussalam Hassanal Bolkiah.
The ASEAN leaders were invited for the Republic Day celebrations to mark the completion of 25 years of Indo-ASEAN ties. The ASEAN response underlines the increasing Indian importance in the South East Asian region. China is aggressively trying to increase its domination in the South East region. In this situation the ‘ASEAN’ member nations are looking at India with a lot of expectations.
Since the last decade,promoting its ‘Look East’ policy, India has increased co-operation with the ASEAN countries at all levels. But in the last three years the ‘Look East’ has been changed to ‘Act East’ and has resulted in increased Indian investments and co-operation in the ASEAN countries. It has become clear that China is becoming restless in view of this. But China has given a very guarded reaction to the news of ASEAN leaders attending the Republic Day celebrations.
Hua Chunying, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson has said ‘China is not opposed to the increasing co-operation between India and the ASEAN countries. Instead China can have a positive role in this co-operative front.’ At the same time ‘Indian media do not believe in China and are projecting a negative image of China’ criticised Chunying.