ASEAN and India have made tremendous progress during past years on a wide range of issues that become increasingly beneficial and relevant not just to the respective national interests of each ASEAN Member State and India but also to wider regional stability. This was the message conveyed when Leaders of ASEAN and India gathered on 20 December 2012 in New Delhi, India, to celebrate the partnership that has borne fruits over the past two decades. Held under the theme of “ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace and Shared Prosperity,” the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit marked the 20th Anniversary of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations, which further elevated the ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations to a Strategic Partnership.
During the Summit, Leaders reviewed the ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations on political, economic, and social-cultural cooperation, as well as ways and means to further advance existing cooperation towards a long-term strategic partnership. The Leaders also adopted an ASEAN-India Vision Statement, which sets the directions of ASEAN-India cooperation and partnership in the long run.
A number of commemorative activities and major initiatives have additionally been carried out and announced to mark this special anniversary. These include the 2nd ASEAN-India Business Fair and Business Conclave, major cooperation programmes on information and communication technology (ICT) and space cooperation, ASEAN-India ministerial meetings on tourism, environment, agriculture, new and renewable energy, as well as the ASEAN-India Car Rally and the Sail Training Ship “Sudarshini” on an Expedition to ASEAN Countries; all which help promote and raise awareness on the connectivity between ASEAN and India.
Dialogue relations between the two parties have grown rapidly from a sectoral dialogue partnership in 1992 to a full dialogue partnership in December 1995. This relationship has continued to grow with the First ASEAN-India Summit, held in Phnom Penh in 2002. The ASEAN-India summit has since then become an annually held occasion, clearly signifying the importance of the dialogue partnership as well as progress made in the cooperation. The year 2012 marks two milestones for ASEAN and India with the dual celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations and the 10th Anniversary of the ASEAN-India Summit-level Partnership.