External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday invited companies from ASEAN countries to invest in numerous sectors in India. Addressing the ministerial session of ‘Delhi Dialogue-IX’, Swaraj said, “We place ASEAN at heart of our ‘Act East Policy’ and center of our dream of an Asian century. ASEAN and India are natural partners that share Geographical, Historical and Civilizational ties.”.
“We are making efforts on all fronts to enhance physical and digital connectivity,” said Sushma adding that future focus areas of cooperation between ASEAN member states and India can be described in term of 3C’s- commerce, connectivity and culture.”
Asserting that in the last three years, government has undertaken a number of initiatives to boost the economy, Swaraj said, “Today India is one of fastest growing major economies in the world.” She went on to say that the government has introduced a series of reforms to improve business environment in India.
Talking about the Goods and Services tax (GST), the minister said, “Recently, government launched GST, biggest tax reform since independence. These steps opened new opportunities for trade and investment into India.”
She further said, “As we celebrate 50 years of ASEAN and 25 years of ASEAN-India relationship, our discussions over the next two days therefore take on a special relevance for it provides us an opportunity to reflect on our past as well as to focus on better harnessing, the immense potential for our ritual cooperation and bringing peace and prosperity to our people.”
The Delhi Dialogue IX, themed this year on “ASEAN-India Relations: Charting the Course for the Next 25 Years”, began on Tuesday evening. Political leaders, policy makers, senior officials, diplomats, business leaders, think tanks and academicians from both sides participated in the discussions.
The Delhi Dialogue is being held every year since 2009. It is a premier annual track 1.5 event to discuss politico-security, economic and socio-cultural engagement between ASEAN and India.