1. The Second Meeting of the ASEAN-India Joint Sectoral Cooperation Committee (AIJSCC) was held in New Delhi and Panjim, Goa, India, February 13-17, 1995. It was jointly inaugurated by the Minister of State of External Affairs of India, Shri R.L. Bhatia on behalf of the External Affairs Minister and by Dato’ Ajit Singh, Secretary-General of ASEAN.
2. The ASEAN delegations were led by H.E. Dato’Ajit Singh, Secretary General of ASEAN and included Director-General of ASEAN-Brunei Darussalam, ASEAN Indonesia, ASEAN-Malaysia, ASEAN-Singapore and ASEAN-Thailand, the Acting Director-General of ASEAN-Philippines and members of the ASEAN-New Delhi Committee (ANDC), representatives of the ASEAN-India Business Council (AIBC), members of the ASEAN-India Experts Group on Trade and Investment Cooperation (AIEGTIC)
3. The Indian delegation was led by Shri K. Srinivasan, Foreign Secretary of India and included Special Secretary (ER), representatives of Ministries of External Affairs, Commerce, Health, Science and Technology and Tourism.
4. In his inaugural statement Shri R.L. Bhatia, described the Indo-ASEAN partnership as a positive sum equation with each providing to the other a basis for demand growth in areas where each side had marked strengths. He expected that the AIJSCC would take ASEAN-India economic relations on to a higher level of intensity and symbiosis through cooperation in the four agreed areas of trade, investment, science and technology and tourism. This in turn would be reflected in an upgradation of the ASEAN-India partnership in the near future.
5. Dato’ Ajit Singh suggested several specific initiatives to bridge the information gap and promote trade and investment such as convening of ASEAN-India Round Table Conference, lndia’s participation in ‘Growth Triangles’ and cooperation among small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
He said that both sides should have the vision to see the potential of increased ASEAN-India cooperation and to seize new opportunities. With imaginative government policies and dynamic entrepreneures, ASEAN-India sectoral relations can enter a more energetic phase.
6. The Meeting reviewed the implementation of decisions of the first AIJSCC Meeting and worked out the programme of future cooperation in four agreed areas of trade, investment, science and technology and tourism.
7. On trade and investment, the AIJSCC considered the recommendations of the ASEAN-India Expert Group and ASEAN-India Business Council. The meeting recognised that the policy environment was now more favourable to trade and investment expansion both in the immediate as well as the long-term. In order to positively motivate business to exploit opportunities which have been identified in the competitive sourcing of goods and services and in terms of investment opportunities, the meeting agreed to close the information gaps and undertake promotional work. The plan of action addressed institutional mechanisms for information networking, business match making and policy consultation. Indian and ASEAN business would be fully involved in this effort. The AIBC made the following specific proposals
- The respective Chambers would exchange information on companies and business in India and ASEAN. Based on this, a compilation of ASEAN-India private sector data bases providing information on investment policies, ongoing and potential projects and information on industry sectors would be established.
- The Singapore component of the AIBC would convene the first ASEAN India Round Table Conference. This would be held in the third quarter of 1 995 and would involve participation of captains of industry and Government policy makers from both sides. The Round Table would be expected to provide a forum for information exchange, trade and investment promotion and business match making.
- Periodic investment fairs would be held where approved project proposals would be presented to create investor interest in the ASEAN and Indian business communities. Greater mutual participation in Indian and ASEAN trade fairs would be promoted.
- A programme for cooperation in the small and medium industries to effectively provide linkages between identified national and regional focal points was agreed.
- The Indian partners of the AIBC accepted the invitation of the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry to attend its meeting to be held in Manila in March 1995. The AIBC would also hold its Executive Committee meeting at the same time.
8. The Meeting considered the report of the first meeting of ASEANCOST-India Collaboration in Science and Technology (held in New Delhi on 6-10 February, 1995) and noted that it had helped in forging closer understanding and exchange of the knowledge base between ASEAN and Indian scientists. Specific areas and modalities of cooperation including exchange of scientists, techno-market surveys, workshops and development of project in the three leading edge technology areas, namely advanced materials, biotechnology and information technology were identified. The Meeting agreed on finding appropriate financial arrangements to support these activities.
9. The Meeting discussed the possibilities of tourism promotion and investment on the basis of an action plan and specific proposals presented by India and ASEAN. The Meeting agreed to the implementation of a reciprocal familiarization Programme for travel agents and tour operators for promoting Indo-ASEAN tourism, joint marketing in third countries and tourism related investment in India. In addition, the ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) will assist in organising a workshop with full involvement of the private sector to work out a programme of cooperation in the above areas. On the policy aspects there was a discussion on civil aviation and visa policies and their implications for tourism promotion. On civil aviation policy, the Indian side made a detailed presentation indicating a flexible approach. The Meeting recognized the importance of favourable visa policies for achieving necessary growth in lndo- ASEAN tourism.
10. A second contribution of approximately US$190,000 was announced by India to the ASEAN-India Fund to support activities in the agreed areas of Sectoral Dialogue Partnership.
11. The Meeting discussed the establishment of bank branches in ASEAN and India and expressed the hope that both sides would further encourage this development in the interest of promoting trade and investment expansion.
12. The Meeting recognised the need for increased air traffic between ASEAN and India to promote greater flow of goods and services.
13. The meeting decided that the Third Meeting of the AIJSCC will be held in Indonesia in 1996 at a mutually convenient time.