20 May 2003
- The Fifth ASEAN- India Senior Officials Meeting was held in New Delhi on 20 May 2003. The Meeting was Co-chaired by Shri Kanwal Sibal, Foreign Secretary, and H. E. Dato’ Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. The Meeting was also attended by Haji Mohamad Hamid bin Haji Mohamad Jafaar, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Dr. Chem Widhya, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Kingdom of Cambodia; H.E. Mr. Pitono Purnomo, Director for Asia Pacific and African Intra-Regional Cooperation, Republic of Indonesia; H.E. Mr. Bounkeut Sangsomsak, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lao PDR; H. E. u Kyaw Thu, Ambasador of the Union of Myanmar; H. E. Ms. Sonia Brady, Under Secretary for Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines; H. E. Mr. Tan Chin Tiong, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore; H. E. Mr. Kitti Wasinond, Director-General ASEAN Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand; H. E. Mr. Nguyen Trang Thanh, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; and their respective delegations. The ASEAN Secretariat was represented by H. E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary- General of ASEAN.
- The meeting undertook a comprehensive review of the entire gamut of India-ASEAN relations and exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest. The two sides agreed that India’s expanding engagement with ASEAN,- as a full dialogue partner since 1996, and a Summit level partner since 2002 , was of mutual benefit and contributed to peace and stability in the region. In particular, the two sides emphasized the vast economic potential of the relationship and took note, in this context, of the ongoing work towards a Framework Agreement on Economic Cooperation for conclusion at the forthcoming India-ASEAN Summit at Bali in October 2003. They expressed satisfaction that ASEAN-India trade had registered a growth of over 300% since 1991- 92 and presently amounted to over US$ 10 billion.
- The India-ASEAN SOM discussed follow up action on the directive of the First India-ASEAN Summit to intensify their cooperation in combating transnational crimes including international terrorism. They considered a Joint Declaration on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, envisaging concrete proposals for cooperation in exchange of information, training, institutional capacity building, cooperation in legal and enforcement matters. It was agreed that the signing of the Declaration at the Second India-ASEAN Summit at Bali in October 2003 would facilitate practical steps of cooperation at the bilateral and regional levels, to combat terrorism. The meeting also welcomed the establishment of the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT) in Kuala Lumpur.
- The India-ASEAN SOM reviewed bilateral functional cooperation in diverse fields and resolved to expedite the implementation of agreed projects as well as to initiate cooperation in new areas, in line with the directives of the First India-ASEAN Summit. India also reiterated her support for the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), which is designed to promote the integration and narrow the economic development gap between the newer and the older members of ASEAN.
- The meeting expressed satisfaction that the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), had made a positive contribution to regional peace and security. India also conveyed to ASEAN her intention to consider possible accession, to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.
- The two sides agreed that the Sixth ASEAN-India SOM would be held in Lao PDR, the incoming Country Coordinator for the India-ASEAN dialogue partnership, on 25-26 March 2004.
- The Heads of ASEAN delegation called on Shri Brajesh Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister on May 21st, 2003.
- The ASEAN delegations also expressed their gratitude to the Government of India for hosting the Fifth ASEAN-India SOM and the excellent arrangements made for the meeting.