• Friday, May 24, 2024

ASIA

India supports ASEAN outlook on Indo-Pacific, says Modi in Indonesia

For observers, Modi’s remarks in Jakarta were seen as an indirect message to China over the Indo-Pacific security scenario.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (fifth from left) with leaders of the ASEAN bloc in a group photo during the 20th ASEAN-India Summit, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday, September 7, 2023. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (7) called the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) the “central pillar” of New Delhi’s Act East Policy and that the latter fully supports the bloc’s centrality and outlook of the Indo-Pacific region.

Terming the 21st century as Asia’s century, he said it is important to build a rule-based post-Covid world order and efforts by all for human welfare.

“The progress of free and open Indo-Pacific and elevating the Voice of Global South is in the common interest of all,” the Indian prime minister, who was on a daylong trip to Jakarta, Indonesia, for the ASEAN-India and East Asia summits, said.

His visit to Indonesia comes days after China confirmed that its president Xi Jinping will not visit the G20 summit in India on September 9 and 10 and Beijing will be represented in New Delhi by its premier Li Qiang.

Modi was accompanied by Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and national security advisor Ajit Doval in Jakarta.

Modi left for Indonesia on Wednesday (6) and was set to return to India later on Thursday before starting to meet world leaders who have begun arriving in India for the G20 summit.

In a statement, Modi said, “Our partnership is entering its fourth decade. Our history and geography connect India and ASEAN. Along with shared values, regional unity, peace, prosperity, and a shared belief in a multipolar world also binds us together.

“ASEAN is the central pillar of India’s Act East Policy. India fully supports ASEAN centrality and ASEAN’s outlook on the Indo-Pacific. ASEAN holds a prominent place in India’s Indo-Pacific initiative. Last year, we celebrated the India-ASEAN Friendship Year and elevated our relationship to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’.”

It may be mentioned here that a number of Southeast Asian nations apart from countries such as the US and India are asserting on policies on tackling China’s dominance in the strategic region.

Modi, who visited Jakarta second time in less than a year (he was in Bali for the G20 summit last November) and was given a warm welcome by members of the Indian diaspora in the archipelago, said, “The theme of this year’s ASEAN Summit is ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth.’ ASEAN matters because here everyone’s voice is heard, and ASEAN is the epicentre of growth because the ASEAN region plays a crucial role in global development.”

The prime minister also touched upon the upcoming G20 summit, saying “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” — one earth, one family, one future,” is the theme of India’s G20 presidency.

“The 21st century is Asia’s century. It is our century. For this, it is necessary to build a rule-based post-Covid world order and efforts by all for human welfare,” Modi said.

He also attended the East Asia Summit where he met US vice president Kamala Harris.

In a post on X, Modi said, “Attended the East Asia Summit being held in Jakarta. We had productive discussions on enhancing closer cooperation in key areas to further human empowerment.”

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