Singapore: India and ASEAN have relations “free from contests and claims” and they believe in sovereign equality of all nations irrespective of size, and support for free and open pathways of commerce and engagement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on 26 January.
Twenty-seven newspapers in 10 languages in 10 ASEAN countries have published the op-ed by the Prime Minister on the historic occasion of the 69th Republic Day and ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.
27 newspapers in 10 languages in 10 ASEAN countries! Op-Ed by PM @narendramodi on the historic occasion of 69th Republic Day & Asean-India Commemorative Summit. Exceptional gesture of friendship nurtured by shared culture & civilizational linkages! List at https://t.co/gzhB5n1lIf pic.twitter.com/A4rpI0caZS
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) January 26, 2018
In the article, ‘shared values, common destiny’ published in the Straits Times, Modi highlighted the importance of India’s ties with ASEAN nations, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Brunei.
“India and ASEAN nations have relations free from contests and claims,” Modi said.
“We have a common vision for the future, built on a commitment to inclusion and integration, belief in sovereign equality of all nations irrespective of size, and support for free and open pathways of commerce and engagement,” he said.
Modi said that he had the privilege to host the ASEAN leaders for the commemorative summit to mark 25 years of ASEAN-India partnership.
It is a historic milestone in a remarkable journey that has brought India and ASEAN to a deepening partnership of great promise for their 1.9 billion people, about one-fourth of humankind, he said in the article.
India-ASEAN partnership may be just 25 years old, but India’s ties with South-east Asia stretch back more than two millennia, Modi said.
More than two decades ago, India opened itself to the world with tectonic changes. And, with instincts honed over centuries of interaction, it turned naturally to the East.
Thus began a new journey of India’s reintegration with the East, the Prime Minister said.
“For India, most of our major partners and markets — from ASEAN to East Asia to North America — lie to the East. And south-east Asia and ASEAN, our neighbours by land and sea, have been the springboard of our Look East and, since the last three years, the Act East policy,” he said.
ASEAN is India’s fourth-largest trading partner; India is ASEAN’s seventh.
Over 20% of India’s outbound investments go to ASEAN. Led by Singapore, ASEAN is India’s leading source of investments.
India’s free trade agreements in the region are it’s oldest and among the most ambitious anywhere.
“The over six-million-strong Indian diaspora in the region – rooted in diversity and steeped in dynamism – constitutes an extraordinary human bond between us,” the Prime Minister said
Singapore is a window to the heritage of India’s ties to the region, the progress of the present and the potential of the future. Singapore was a bridge between India and ASEAN.
“Today, it is our gateway to the East, our leading economic partner and a major global strategic partner, which resonates in our membership in several regional and global forums. Singapore and India share a strategic partnership.
Sixteen Indian cities have over 240 direct flights every week to Singapore. Indians make up the third-largest group of tourists in Singapore.
“India is also an eager participant in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, seeking a comprehensive, balanced and fair agreement for all 16 participants.
“With every passing day, it is easier and smoother to do business in India. I hope that ASEAN nations, as our neighbours and friends, will be an integral part of New India’s transformation,” Modi added.