India hosted the leaders of the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for two-day ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit that began on January 25, 2018 in New Delhi, under the theme of ‘Shared Values, Common Destiny’.
The two-day summit, which commemorates the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations, saw the highest level of participation by delegates. Leaders of ten ASEAN nations including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei attended the event in the national capital.
The summit comes at a time when India is making a strategic shift in its regional policy, enhancing its previous 'Look East' policy to the new 'Act East' policy. It also comes in the backdrop of China's growing economic and military assertiveness in the region.
Prime Minister Narendra also held bilateral meetings with the leaders of the Southeast-Asian nations on the sidelines of the summit. The key focus areas of the meetings included counter-terrorism, security and connectivity.
Following is the Delhi Declaration of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit:
The leaders, while recognising the achievements made over the past 25 years through ASEAN-India dialogue relations and appreciating India’s contribution to the regional peace, security and prosperity agreed to the following points:
• To further strengthen and deepen the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership for mutual benefit, across the whole spectrum of political security, economic, socio-cultural and development cooperation, in order to build a peaceful, harmonious, caring and sharing community in the region.
• To continue to exert towards the full, effective and timely implementation of the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2016-2020).
• To further enhance high-level engagement and cooperation within the existing framework of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership and ASEAN-led mechanisms, such as the ASEAN-India Summit and the East Asia Summit (EAS).
• To continue to support and contribute to ASEAN integration and ASEAN Community building process, towards the realisation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
Political and Security Cooperation
• To reaffirm their commitment to work closely together on common regional and international security issues of mutual concern and ensure an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture through existing ASEAN-led frameworks and mechanisms.
• To reaffirm the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and overflight in the region.
• To work together to prevent and manage accidents and incidents at sea and promote effective coordination between ASEAN and India in maritime search and rescue.
• To deepen cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations through information sharing, law enforcement cooperation and capacity building.
• To promote a comprehensive approach to combat terrorism by countering cross-border movement of terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters and misuse of the Internet including social media by terror entities.
• To strengthen cooperation to stop terrorism financing efforts and prevent recruitment of members of terrorist groups and support efforts in targeting terrorist groups and sanctuaries.
• To strengthen cooperation and collaboration to combat other transnational crimes, including human trafficking, illicit drug trafficking, cybercrime and piracy and armed robbery against ships.
• To strengthen ASEAN-India economic relations through effective implementation of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area, and intensify efforts in 2018 towards the swift conclusion of a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
• To cooperate for conservation and sustainable use of marine resources in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and address the threats including illegal and unregulated fishing, loss of coastal ecosystems and the adverse impacts of pollution and ocean acidification.
• To promote stable and sustainable growth for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), including through technology transfer, diffusion, adoption and adaptation as well as enhancing capacity building.
• To deepen cooperation in the area of aviation under the ASEAN-India Aviation Cooperation Framework adopted at the 14th ASEAN Transport Ministers’ Meeting in Manila on November 6, 2008.
• To establish closer ASEAN-India air links to promote tourism, trade and enhance greater connectivity between ASEAN and India.
• To promote maritime transport cooperation between ASEAN and India and encourage potential private sector participation in the development of seaports, maritime logistics network and maritime services in order to create more efficient linkages.
• To continue to enhance cooperation to ensure long-term food and energy security in the region through strengthening cooperation in agriculture and energy sectors.
• To work towards promoting the development of renewable energy technology through international platforms including the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
• To continue collaboration in the peaceful exploration of outer space, through the implementation of the ASEAN-India Space Cooperation Programme, including the launching of satellites and their monitoring through telemetry tracking and command stations.
• To explore cooperation in research and development in emerging space technologies such as small satellites, inter-satellite communications, satellite propulsion and analytics for space data.
• To cooperate on the promotion of the civilisational and historical links between ASEAN and India by providing platforms for knowledge exchanges among policy-makers, managers and the academicians concerned.
• To intensify efforts to preserve, protect and restore cultural and historical symbols and structures that are of mutual interest in reflecting the ASEAN-India cultural and historical connection.
• To build a stronger cultural link by promoting cultural tourism and further enhancing people-to-people contacts.
Health and Education
• To strengthen the health system and improve access to safe, good quality and affordable medical products including traditional and complementary medicines.
• To strengthen cooperation in education and youth sectors, in the form of setting up language training, Entrepreneurship Development and Vocational Training Centres and granting annual scholarships.
• To explore the possibility of setting up an ASEAN-India network of universities, and encourage other University to University exchanges.
Disaster Management and Environment
• To strengthen cooperation in disaster management and humanitarian assistance.
• To promote dialogue on empowerment of women, the promotion and protection of the rights of women and children, the elimination of all forms of violence against them and promotion of women entrepreneurs.
• To promote cooperation in environmental management, climate change and biodiversity conservation, through the exchange of knowledge and experience and conduct of joint research activities and capacity building programmes.
• To reaffirm commitment to enhance physical and digital connectivity and encourage the early completion of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway Project and extend this Trilateral Highway to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam.
The summit was followed by India’s 69th Republic Day celebrations where all the ten visiting heads of states were present as the chief guests.