JAKARTA, 30 June 2016 – ASEAN and India reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen and deepen the relationship. This was the key thrust of the deliberations at the 16th ASEAN-India Joint Cooperation Committee (AIJCC) Meeting held yesterday at the ASEAN Secretariat. India has been a dialogue partner of ASEAN since 1992 and was accorded strategic partner status in 2012.
The 16th AIJCC exchanged views and explored ideas on intensifying ASEAN-India cooperation. Within this framework, the meeting noted the good progress made in the implementation of projects and activities in the six months since the new ASEAN-India Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2016-2020) came into force. Both sides agreed to continue the momentum and ensure effective and efficient implementation of the various action plans. In line with this commitment to closer cooperation, the meeting identified a number of projects and activities that would be given priority for implementation within the next two years. ASEAN welcomed India’s keen interest to work closely with ASEAN for mutual benefit.
As 2017 marks the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations, the Meeting discussed various activities and events to commemorate and celebrate this important milestone in ASEAN-India relations. Both sides agreed that the 25th Anniversary commemorative activities could be used to showcase to the peoples of both sides the close and enduring ASEAN-India ties.
India took the opportunity to reiterate its strong support for ASEAN Centrality in the regional architecture which it believed was essential for continued regional peace and stability. India also affirmed its commitment to continue its active participation in the various ASEAN-led regional mechanisms, namely the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum, and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.
On economic cooperation, both sides agreed that stronger effort must be made to further promote ASEAN-India trade and economic links, as well as strengthen connectivity. In this regard, India noted ASEAN’s call for India to expedite the process of opening up its civil aviation sector to ASEAN which will promote closer economic ties and facilitate more travel opportunities between both sides. ASEAN also called on India to assist in finalising the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by this year so that all participating countries could benefit from the vast economic opportunities that this agreement would bring.
The 16th ASEAN-India JCC was co-chaired by H.E. Nguyen Hoanh Nam, Permanent Representative of Viet Nam to ASEAN and H.E. Suresh K. Reddy, Ambassador of India to ASEAN. Madam Pooja Kapur, Joint Secretary from India’s Ministry of External Affairs was a member of India’s delegation. Members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) and their representatives as well as the ASEAN Secretariat were also in attendance.