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ASEAN, India pledge to continue mutual assistance in COVID-19 management, recovery

VGP – The 18th ASEAN-India Summit took place digitally on Thursday afternoon with the participation of leaders of ASEAN member states and India.

October 17, 2021 7:20 PM GMT+7

The leaders spoke highly of the ASEAN-India relations, with India ranking the 6th largest trading partner and the 7th biggest investor in ASEAN.

Both sides agreed to continue mutual assistance in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and rebooting comprehensive recovery through enhancing trade and investment ties, consolidating regional supply chain, and facilitating market access, and effectively implementing the ASEAN-India free trade agreement.

ASEAN countries pledged to effectively utilize US$1 billion line of credit committed by India to promote projects that support physical and digital connectivity between ASEAN and India.

The ASEAN leaders highly appreciated India’s provision of vaccines, medical supplies and drugs, including its contribution of US$1 million to the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund.

The leaders agreed to celebrate the year 2022 as the ‘ASEAN-India Friendship Year’ since both sides will mark the 10th founding anniversary of their strategic partnership.

Addressing the summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized that his country attaches importance to the strategic partnership with ASEAN and supports ASEAN centrality.

He pledged that India will effectively engage in the ASEAN-led mechanisms and dialogues, uphold international law, and promote rule-based regional order, thus contributing to peace, security, stability and development in the region.

Modi affirmed India will stand side by side with ASEAN to overcome the pandemic-induced hardship, improve preventive health capabilities, and coordinate in accelerating sustainable recovery in the region.

Regarding regional and international situation, the summit underscored the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region, including the East Sea.

PM Modi reiterated India advocates ASEAN’s position and its role in promoting dialogue and confidence building, full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and formulation of an efficient and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea in line with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

India also welcomes and backs ASEAN’s role in beefing up dialogue, reconciliation and assistance for Myanmar to seek solutions to stabilize the situation in the country, said Modi.

Speaking at the summit, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said that ASEAN and India share interests and responsibility to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

He called on both sides to assist each other in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and beefing up sustainable recovery while expanding cooperation in areas conducive to recovery such as digital transformation.

Pham suggested India continue support for ASEAN’s efforts in maintaining peace, security and stability in the East Sea, upholding international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, settling disputes and divergences through peaceful measures, dialogues and diplomatic process.

In order to make the East Sea a sea of peace, cooperation and development, PM Pham called for strengthening cooperation in ensuring maritime security and safety, protecting the marine environment, and combatting illegal fishing activities.

Concluding the summit, the leaders adopted a joint statement on cooperation in implementing the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) for peace, stability and prosperity in the region./.

By Thuy Dung