The two-day event was attended by Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj as well as ministers, officials and leaders of member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
In her opening remarks, Sushma Swaraj highlighted India’s efforts to promote relations with the ASEAN, saying the country has shifted from the “Look East” to “Act East” policy. India places ASEAN at the heart of this policy and the centre of its dream of an Asian century, she said.
The Indian foreign minister laid stress on core cooperation fields between India and the ASEAN, which are trade, connectivity and culture. She invited ASEAN businesses to invest in India to take advantage of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Sushma Swraj noted that India and ASEAN share the same geographical space, where they face common traditional and non-traditional security challenges, adding that the two sides have enhanced collaboration through ASEAN-led forums like East Asia Summit, ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM ) and Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum to ensure regional peace and security.
She affirmed that freedom of navigation and respect for international law, notably the UNCLOS, is an urgent issue, and declared India’s commitment to boost maritime cooperation with ASEAN to fully tap the potential of the ocean economy.
India will continue to join hands with ASEAN in fighting terrorism, piracy and trans-boundary crimes, and in ensuring cyber space security, she confirmed.
The 9th Delhi Dialogue, themed “India-ASEAN Relations: Charting the Course for the Next 25 Years”, is an annual dialogue discussing politics, security, economy and culture-society issues between ASEAN and India.