July 17, 2023
NEW DELHI – Describing ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) as a crucial pillar of India’s Act East Policy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said it plays an important role in the emerging dynamic of the Indo-Pacific.
Delivering his remarks at the opening session of the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference in Jakarta on Thursday, the EAM said, “ASEAN is a crucial pillar of India’s Act East policy and its vision for the wider Indo-Pacific. A strong and unified ASEAN plays an important role in the emerging dynamic of the Indo-Pacific. India firmly supports ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific.” The External Affairs Minister is on a six-day visit to Indonesia and Thailand since July 12 and his overseas engagements in these two countries will culminate on July 18.
“As comprehensive strategic partners, we look forward to working with ASEAN to further expand our partnership to include newer areas while strengthening existing cooperations. I refer here, especially to cyber, financial and maritime security domains,” Jaishankar said.
He also recalled how last year, the 30th anniversary of ASEAN India relations were celebrated and was elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
“And this was done with a host of activities, which focused on all dimensions of our partnership, including the first Foreign Minister’s meeting in Delhi, an exchange of parliamentary delegations, an artist camp, a music festival, the first-ever Defense Minister’s meeting. It closed with the first ASEAN India maritime exercise in May 2023,” Jaishankar said.
Earlier, on Thursday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Jakarta and deliberated on the Ukraine conflict among other issues.
The two ministers, who met on the sidelines of the ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) events in Jakarta on Thursday, also held discussions on bilateral economic issues.
Jaishankar is in Jakarta for the Foreign Ministers’ Meetings under the ASEAN framework in the format, ASEAN-India, East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum on July 13-14.