NEW DELHI, 15 December 2015 – India expressed its strong commitment to further deepen its strategic partnership with ASEAN and to continue supporting ASEAN’s integration as the regional grouping becomes a Community from 31 December 2015. Minister of External Affairs of India, Hon. Srimati Sushma Swaraj, conveyed this to Secretary-General of ASEAN H.E. Le Luong Minh during a bilateral meeting in New Delhi. Secretary-General Minh was on an official visit to India on 10 to 13 December at the invitation of Minister Swaraj.

Minister Swaraj said that India would continue to add substance to ASEAN-India relations and take forward initiatives that were agreed at the recent 13th ASEAN-India Summit. She particularly highlighted connectivity, maritime cooperation, cyber security and innovation as potential areas for enhanced collaboration.

Secretary-General Minh thanked India for its commitment to further strengthen ASEAN-India partnership and continued support for ASEAN Community building and integration. He encouraged India to align the implementation of the newly adopted ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2016-2020) to that of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 which sets the course for ASEAN’s progress and evolvement over the next 10 years. Secretary-General Minh added that ASEAN and India should work closely to forge stronger partnership in connectivity. He called on both sides to explore innovative ways to mobilise resources including through public-private partnership to fund connectivity projects. He also encouraged India to work with ASEAN to finalise the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the ASEAN-India Centre (AIC) as soon as possible so that the Centre could play its role to further promote the partnership.

Minister Swaraj reassured Secretary-General Minh that India would demonstrate in all its actions its strong support for ASEAN centrality. Secretary-General Minh encouraged India to play an active role in promoting peace and security through ASEAN-led regional mechanisms. They also exchanged views on regional and global issues.

During the visit, Secretary-General Minh also had meetings with business leaders from the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to discuss ways to further enhance trade and investment between ASEAN and India as well as to deepen private sector engagement. He delivered a lecture on the ASEAN-India Partnership under the ASEAN-India Eminent Persons Lecture Series organised by the ASEAN-India Centre.

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