ASEAN-India Cooperation in the 21st Century

1. The Heads of State/Government of the Member States of ASEAN and the Prime Minister of the Republic of India expressed satisfaction that ASEAN-India relations had been rapidly developed and enhanced since the establishment of the Sectoral Dialogue Partnership in 1992 and especially since India became a full Dialogue Partner in December 1995 and subsequently participated in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in July 1996. They were convinced that the strengthening of relations, which were rooted in close historical and cultural ties served the fundamental interests of their respective peoples and peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.

2. They recognized the pluralistic nature of their societies, encompassing major religions of the world, and a wealth of diverse cultures. They agreed that this affinity constituted a special asset for the further development of their relations.

3. Given new developments and challenges arising in the 21st Century, the Leaders of ASEAN and India resolved to further advance their cooperation to a new height to address common challenges confronting the region and the world. Based on the foundation of their close cooperative relationship and recognizing the importance of concerted efforts, they had convened the First ASEAN-India Summit in Cambodia in accordance with the decision of the ASEAN Leaders at the 7th ASEAN Summit in Brunei Darussalam in November 2001.

Promoting Regional Peace and Stability

4. ASEAN and India committed themselves to jointly contribute to the promotion of peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world, and respond positively to the challenges of a dynamic regional and international environment.

5. They affirmed that the Charter of the United Nations, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and other universally recognized principles of international law should serve as basic norms governing their relations. They reaffirmed in particular their respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states as well as the principle of mutual benefit in international cooperation.

6. They agreed to enhance cooperation at various regional and international for a. They resolved to intensify cooperation in the ARF, including combating terrorism comprehensively to make the region a faster place for all, and agreed that Confidence-Builiding Measures (CBMs) should be further deepened as a foundation of the ARF process in its future steps forward. They also exchanged views and perspectives on non-traditional security threats and on the interlinkages among transnational crimes, such as trafficking in illegal drugs, people-smuggling including trafficking in women and children, sea piracy, terrorism, arms smuggling, money-laundering, economic crime and cyber crime. In this context, they agreed to develop concrete programmes of cooperation.

7. ASEAN appreciated India’s recognition of and her willingness to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

8. India welcomed the entry into force of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty, which represented an important contribution of ASEAN towards strengthening security and stability in the region, as well as in contributing to the process of global nuclear disarmament.

Foster Closer Economic and Development Cooperation

9. Acknowledging that economic progress would also enhance regional peace, security and stability, they shared the view that continued economic cooperation between the two sides would promote the dynamism and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. In this regard, they agreed on the importance of enhancing their close economic cooperation and to work towards India-AFTA Linkages. They welcomed the adoption of an India-ASEAN Regional Trade and Investment Area as a long-term objective at the First ASEAN-India Economic Ministers’Consultations, held at Brunei Darussalam, on September 15, 2002. They also noted the decision to set up an ASEAN-India Task Force on Economic Linkages, which is to prepare a draft Framework Agreement to enhance ASEAN-INdia Economic Cooperation, for submission to the next meeting of ASEAN-India Economic Ministers at Phnom Penh in October 2003.

10. They expressed their deep gratification over the course of ASEAN-India cooperation thus far, particularly in a wide range of areas in science and technology. They expressed their determination to strengthen these and other forms of cooperation.

11. India expressed support for the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and its commitment to participate in IAI projects, especially in HRD, and assist new ASEAN members. India also expressed its readiness to consider early granting of preferential tariff treatment to new ASEAN Member States. They reaffirmed their common interest in developing the Programme of Action for the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation focusing on important areas of cooperation, such as tourism, culture, education and transport and communication. India also attached importance to and agreed to look into possible participation in regional and sub-regional development programmes, such as ASEAN Mekong Basin Development Cooperation (AMBDC) and the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

12. ASEAN Leaders expressed their high appreciation for the continued economic and technical cooperation with India. ASEAN Member States and India agreed on the need to consolidate and enhance their close economic relations by promoting trade and investment, facilitating market access, improving the flow of technology and enhancing the flow of and access to trade and investment-related information. They also agreed to cooperate in the World Trade Organization (WTO), in particular towards the early entry of Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam into the WTO.

New Directions in ASEAN-India Relations

13. With a view to fostering an enhanced partnership, they noted in particular the importance of dialogue at a high level and decided to hold ASEAN-India Summits annually.

14. Given a dynamic surge of ASEAN-India cooperation, they acknowledged the importance of contacts between the peoples of ASEAN and India. In this regard, they agreed to further promote people-to-people interaction not only through dialogue at the level of policymakers but also through exchange programmes of youth, media personnel, academics, business people, government officials and artists. Interaction among these groups of people would help promote better understanding and lasting friendship which will be important in forging greater cooperation between ASEAN and India. They also agreed to support the development of ASEAN-India relations.

15. They tasked the ministers and senior officials to look into the implementation of the above decisions and to present a report card on the progress of the implementation at the next ASEAN-India Summit.