On September 7, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Jakarta, Indonesia, demonstrating India’s commitment to enhancing regional cooperation and engagement.
ASEAN-India Summit: Strengthening Partnerships
At the ASEAN-India Summit, Prime Minister Modi engaged in extensive discussions with ASEAN partners, focusing on further strengthening the ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and defining its future direction. He reiterated the significance of ASEAN’s centrality in the Indo-Pacific region and emphasized the synergies between India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). Furthermore, he highlighted the urgency of completing the review of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (AITIGA) within a specified timeframe.
Prime Minister Modi presented a comprehensive 12-point proposal for enhancing India-ASEAN cooperation, covering various domains such as connectivity, digital transformation, trade, and economic engagement, addressing contemporary challenges, fostering people-to-people contacts, and deepening strategic engagement. Some key highlights of the proposal include the establishment of multi-modal connectivity and economic corridors spanning Southeast Asia, India, West Asia, and Europe, sharing India’s Digital Public Infrastructure Stack with ASEAN partners, the creation of an ASEAN-India fund for the Digital Future, and collective efforts to address global challenges faced by the Global South.
During the summit, two significant Joint Statements were adopted, focusing on Maritime Cooperation and Food Security. Timor-Leste also participated as an Observer in the Summit, reinforcing the spirit of regional cooperation.
East Asia Summit (EAS): Advocating Regional Stability and Cooperation
At the 18th East Asia Summit, Prime Minister Modi reaffirmed India’s support for strengthening the EAS mechanism and underlined the importance of maintaining a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific. He emphasized India’s commitment to ASEAN centrality and its pivotal role in shaping the Quad’s vision for the Indo-Pacific.
Prime Minister Modi called for a cooperative approach to address pressing global challenges, including terrorism, climate change, resilient supply chains for essential items like food and medicines, and energy security. He highlighted India’s initiatives in climate action, such as the International Solar Alliance (ISA), Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), Lifestyles for Sustainable Environment (LiFE), and One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG).
Leaders at the summit engaged in discussions on a range of regional and international issues, underscoring the importance of collective efforts in building a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.