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Prime Minister Modi visits Jakarta for the ASEAN-related meetings

By Priti Prakash | PUBLISHED: 06, Sep 2023, 13:29 pm IST | UPDATED: 06, Sep 2023, 13:30 pm IST

Prime Minister Modi visits Jakarta for the ASEAN-related meetings New Delhi: At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, Prime Minister Modi visited Jakarta for the 20th ASEAN-India summit and the 18th East Asia summit, scheduled for the 7th of September. Prime Minister participated in the ASEAN-India summit along with Heads of State/Government of the ASEAN member states. East Asia summit brings together at the leadership level, ASEAN members and eight dialogue partners, which are Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States.

Given that the G20 summit follows shortly after the ASEAN Summits, it was a short visit. This was the 9th ASEAN-India Summit attended by the Prime Minister. The summit, in a sense, is special since it is the first one after the elevation of India-ASEAN relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which happened last year. During the summit, Prime Minister reviewed the progress in ASEAN-India relations.  India's relations with ASEAN are a central pillar of our Act East policy, as well as of India's vision of the wider Indo-Pacific.

India and ASEAN share similar vision for the Indo-Pacific and are committed to building on the synergy between ASEAN's Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative. This year, Indonesia is the chair of ASEAN. The theme of their chairship is ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth’. Within this framework, Indonesia organized a flagship event, ‘ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum’, to implement ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. This is an event which is focused on increasing connectivity of ASEAN to the Indo-Pacific by involvement of businesses and industries, so it's a track 1.5 event which they have organized. India contributed to this by organizing a panel discussion on digital public infrastructure and its importance for enhancing digital transformation and inclusivity.

Last year, India and ASEAN, celebrated the 30th anniversary of their partnership and a number of events and activities were organized. India’s focus has been on enhancing comprehensive connectivity with ASEAN in all aspects, including physical, digital, economic, and people-to-people.
In August this year, India and Indonesia established direct flight connectivity through Indigo and Batik Air flights. There are direct flights with Vietnam. Earlier in February, Prime Minister, along with his Singapore counterpart, launched the real-time cross-border payment link between UPI and Singapore's Pay Now. We are looking at ways to expand this to other ASEAN countries.

The India-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership aims to further deepen practical cooperation in areas including maritime, cyber security, digital economy, as well as in new and emerging areas of cooperation. In May this year, India and ASEAN organized their first maritime exercise. The first ASEAN-India Defense Ministers’ meeting was held in November last year. Trade and business-to-business ties are integral to our relations with ASEAN.

East Asia Summit is the foremost of the ASEAN-centered mechanisms in the Indo-Pacific. The new East Asia Summit Plan of Action, which was adopted during the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in July this year, also prioritizes cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. At the forthcoming East Asia Summit, Prime Minister and other leaders will discuss ways to further strengthen the EAS mechanism, as well as exchange views on matters of regional and international interest.