NEW DELHI, 7 April 2017 – As ASEAN and India celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their relations this year, senior officials from both sides met yesterday in New Delhi and discussed ways to take the partnership to a greater height.

They deliberated on how cooperation between ASEAN and India could be further strengthened in areas such as maritime security, countering terrorism and violent extremism, transnational crimes and cyber security, trade and investment, connectivity, science and technology, agriculture and forestry, as well as climate change, environment, disaster management, education, cultural and people-to-people links.

The 19th Meeting of ASEAN-India Senior Officials also reviewed the progress in the implementation of decisions made by the Leaders at the 14th ASEAN-India Summit in September last year, as well as the implementation of the ASEAN-India Plan of Action 2016-2020, including the list of priorities for the period 2016-2018. The meeting further explored ways and means to effectively implement measures contained in these important documents.

The senior officials exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concerns, including situations on the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea. Both ASEAN and India shared the concerns over traditional and non-traditional security challenges in the region. India reaffirmed its strong support for the ASEAN Centrality in the evolving regional architecture and in ASEAN-led mechanisms, particularly the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Plus.

To mark the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations, both sides have agreed to implement a series of commemorative activities in ASEAN Member States and India in a wide range of areas, including political, economic, cultural, youth and tourism. The activities include an ASEAN-India Expo and business summit, an ASEAN-India Car Rally, a sailing expedition, a series of youth and students exchange programmes and cultural festivals. They also deliberated on the proposed convening of a high-profile ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit to be hosted by India to mark the auspicious occasion.

The milestone of a quarter century of the ASEAN-India partnership also coincides with the Golden Jubilee of ASEAN. Earlier this year, both sides exchanged congratulatory messages to mark the 25th anniversary.

The Senior Officials Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Nguyen Quoc Dzung, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam; and H.E. Mrs. Preeti Saran, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs of India.

In conjunction with the Senior Officials Meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs of India and Brookings India Centre organised a forum entitled “Act East Dialogue” on 5 April. The event aimed to assess India’s Act East policy to which ASEAN is central and identify ways to deepen India’s relations with South East Asia by 2025.