ASEAN Lies At The Core Of India’s “Act East” Policy : PM Modi At ASEAN-India Summit

Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi visited Bangkok, Thailand from November 2 to 4, 2019 to participate in the 16th Association of Southeast Asian Nations-India (ASEAN-India), 14th East Asia, and 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) summits. In his opening remarks at the ASEAN-India Summit, the Prime Minister said that ASEAN “is and always will be the heart” of India’s “Act East” Policy. The comments by PM Mr. Modi were at the heart of an exchange with Prime Minister of Thailand Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha. The Thai PM appreciated India for its support to the ASEAN vision for the Indo-Pacific under a “3 Ms” principle: “mutual respect, mutual trust, and mutual benefit”. At the meeting between Mr. Modi and leaders from 10 ASEAN countries, the PM also spoke about how the menace of terrorism is a “threat to international security”. ASEAN leaders responded by agreeing to work together to “defeat terrorism”. The leaders also discussed the South China Sea, where China has been increasing its footprint aggressively, and the need to follow a “rules-based order” and “adhere” to the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Addressing the summit attended by 10 ASEAN leaders in Bangkok, PM Mr. Modi said that he welcomes the mutual coordination of the Indo-Pacific Outlook between India and ASEAN. India’s “Act East” policy is an important part of its Indo-Pacific vision. “ASEAN is and always will be the heart of our Act East Policy. Integrated, organized and economically developing ASEAN is in India’s basic interest,” he said. PM Mr. Modi announced an endowment fund of Rs. 50 million for exchange of faculty and students, and 50 scholarships, in India’s agriculture universities. A decision was also taken to hold a start-up festival at the India-ASEAN hackathon early in 2020.

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