Phnom Penh, Cambodia: India and ASEAN nations promised to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership and enhance cooperation against terrorism after Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar addressed the 19th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom Penh on Saturday.
Mr. Dhankhar is in Cambodia for his three-day visit. This year marks the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations and is being celebrated as the ASEAN-India Friendship Year. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a global organization that has 10 member nations in Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The ASEAN member states, and India looked to reinforce cooperation on cybersecurity by laying out new dialogue platforms between India and the ten-member bloc. In a joint statement, they recognized the deep civilizational linkages, maritime connectivity, and cross-cultural trades between Southeast Asia and India which have developed further throughout the last 30 years, providing a strong foundation for ASEAN-India relations.
Before addressing the summit, Dhankhar and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen held discussions on ways to further improve bilateral ties, including in areas like human resources, de-mining, and development projects. In the joint statement, India and ASEAN countries declared to improve cooperation in the digital economy through a series of regional capacity-building activities in digital transformation, digital trade, digital skills, and innovation, as well as Hackathons.
They also said that they would improve cooperation in smart agriculture including the exchange of best practices in the use of new technologies to develop a future-ready, resilient, and sustainable food supply.
“We will explore cooperation such as city-to-city partnerships between ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) and Smart City Mission of India by fostering exchanges of best practices and capacity-building to help build cities that are resilient, innovative, well-connected, and technologically advanced,” the statement read.
It said that ASEAN and India will reinforce healthcare for their people by increasing collaboration in public health, including in areas of research and development and public health emergency. They looked to expedite the review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to make it more user-friendly, simple, and trade-facilitative, and work together to forge resilient supply chains, explore cooperation on a single window platform to improve trade facilitation and integration.
They also said that they would further reinforce ASEAN-India cooperation in the space sector including through the establishment of tracking, data reception, and processing stations in Vietnam and Indonesia, and encourage cooperation between ASEAN and Indian space industry players, including in new areas of collaboration.
The member states of ASEAN and India decided to restore the travel industry and related industries which have been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic through the effective execution of the ASEAN-India tourism work plans. On November 13, Dhankhar will participate in the 17th East Asia Summit which comprises the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and its eight dialogue partners — India, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Russia.
At the East Asia Summit, leaders will discuss ways to further develop the East Asia Summit mechanism, as well as matters of regional and global interest and concerns including maritime security, terrorism, and non-proliferation.