Bangkok: In a significant indication of India’s rising profile, the 10-nation Asean on Sunday clearly appreciated New Delhi’s growing role in the Indo-Pacific region as the two sides, with a combined GDP of $5 trillion, vowed to further broadbase strategic ties and deal with major challenges like of terrorism collectively.
In his address at the annual India-Asean summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about the mutual coordination between India’s vision of the Indo-Pacific and Asean Outlook for the strategically key region which has been witnessing growing Chinese assertiveness.
Mr Modi also talked about cross border terrorism, spread of violent extremism and the situation in the South China Sea, and underlined the need for greater cooperation between India and the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to unitedly confront major challenges facing the region.
“I welcome the mutual coordination of the Indo-Pacific Outlook between India and the Asean. India’s Act East Policy is an important part of our Indo-Pacific vision. The Asean is and always will be the heart of our Act East Policy. Integrated, organised and economically developing Asean is in India’s basic interest,” Mr Modi said.
Officials said the biggest takeaway from the 16th India-Asean summit was acknowledgement of the Asean leaders about India’s growing role in the Indo-Pacific for the first time after the bloc came out with an “Outlook” for the region.
The endorsement of India’s role assumes significance as it came in the midst of geo-political power play in the Indo-Pacific region and escalating territorial disputes between between China and a number of Asean countries.
“All the ASEAN countries appreciated India’s growing role (in the Indo-Pacific) region and that India’s growing role is a factor of peace and stability in the region. That is the broad approach of the Asean,” said Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs....