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India, Asean discuss further strengthening of ties

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New Delhi: India and ASEAN nations discussed further strengthening of their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the field of Maritime Cooperation, Health Cooperation, Cyber Security, Fintech, Economic Engagement, Food and Energy Security, during a meeting of senior officials in Jakarta.

Secretary (East), Saurabh Kumar was in Jakarta from March 7-8 to attend the annual ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting (AISOM) and East Asia Summit Senior Officials’ Meeting (EAS SOM).

The AISOM was held on March 7 and was co-chaired by Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East) and Albert Chua, Permanent Secretary of Singapore. Singapore is the Country Coordinator of India for ASEAN.

The meeting was attended by the Senior Officials from other ASEAN Member States and Timor Leste as Observer of ASEAN. The SOM reviewed the ASEAN-India Partnership across three pillars -political-security, economic and socio cultural engagements.

The SOM Leaders also discussed further strengthening of ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the field of Maritime Cooperation, Health Cooperation, Cyber Security, Fintech, Economic Engagement, Food and Energy Security. The meeting also exchanged views on regional and international issues of importance, an official statement said.

Secretary (East) attended the EAS SOM meeting on March 8. The Meeting was chaired by EAS SOM Leader of Indonesia, Sidharto Suryodipuro and saw the participation of Senior Officials from 18 EAS Participating Countries(10 ASEAN Member States and 8 Dialogue Partners of ASEAN including Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, RoK, Russia and the US) and Timor Leste as Observer of ASEAN. The Meeting discussed strengthening of the Leaders-led EAS platform, implementation of AOIP, and regional and international issues including the developments in South China Sea, Korean Peninsula, Myanmar and Ukraine.

Secretary(East) in his intervention underlined the key role played by EAS as a leading mechanism for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. He noted the strong convergence between Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative and ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific and expressed support for Indonesia’s initiative of Indo-Pacific Forum and EAS Workshop on Costal Economy.

During the visit, Secretary (East) also had bilateral meetings with his counterparts on the sidelines of the SOM meetings. Overall, Secretary (East)’s visit to Indonesia was fruitful and strengthened India’s bilateral and multilateral engagements in the Indo-Pacific, it added.

The Association of South East Nations comprises 10 nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia

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