NEW DELHI, 14 February 2012
ASEAN and India are now conducting joint activities to commemorate their 20th Anniversary of fruitful Dialogue Partnership this year and 10th year of their Summits.
One of the activities, the ASEAN-India Delhi Dialogue IV (DDIV)—under the theme “A Partnership for Peace, Prosperity and Stability”—was opened yesterday under the auspicious presence of H.E. Sri S. M. Krishna, Minister of External Affairs of India; and H.E. Mr. Hor Nam Hong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia. Cambodia is the current Chair of ASEAN as well as the Country Coordinator for ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations.
The Dialogue included deliberation on economic integration: prospects and challenges; non-traditional security challenges and response strategies; the evolving security architecture in the Asia-Pacific; and building network of knowledge and science.
Mr. Krishna spoke highly of the fruitful dialogue relations and the way to further strengthen ASEAN and India partnership, making full use of India’s “Look East Policy”, and bring mutual benefit to both peoples of India and ASEAN.
Deputy Prime Minister Hor Nam Hong praised the ASEAN-India dialogue relation with high appreciation to the Indian commitment and contribution to the community building of ASEAN, including the commitment to build new infrastructure link between India, Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Viet Nam. He called for the elevation of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relation to a Strategic level.
Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN, H. E. Mr. Bagas Hapsoro, speaking on behalf of ASEAN Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan, spoke highly of the increasing trend in two-way trade and investment between India and ASEAN as the region is becoming a centre of growth with a combined market of about 1.6 billion in India and 600 million in ASEAN.
DSG Bagas also urged the Delhi Dialogue to focus more on building up the networking between ASEAN and India covering the opening of east-west corridor (including highway from India to Viet Nam); and people-to-people as well as institutional connectivity which will greatly contribute to community building, poverty eradication, prosperity and sustainability of both ASEAN and India. He also echoed DPM Hor in proposing to elevate the ASEAN-India dialogue relationship to higher plane.
During the occasion, DSG Bagas also met with Mr. Krishna. Both expressed optimism on the future of ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership and shared the view that achieving the comprehensive Free Trade Area—currently under negotiation—and the trade target of US$ 70 billion is a realistic goal in 2012.
Other honoured guests at the Opening Session of the DDIV were Deputy Ministers of Foreign Ministers of Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, The Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN; and DSG Bagas Hapsoro. The annual event brought together prominent speakers, think-tank representatives, and business leaders. The discussion aimed to come up with some recommendations for consideration of the forthcoming 10th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom Penh and the ASEAN–India Commemorative Summit in December this year in New Delhi.