Identifying terrorism and extremism as the major challenge facing the region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called on ASEAN member states for joint efforts to mitigate the menace.
“We have individually strived very hard to fight terrorism and violent extremism. It is time that we jointly address this challenge by intensifying cooperation in this crucial area,” PM Modi said while addressing leaders at the 15th ASEAN-India Summit in Manila.
The Prime Minister also stated that India will continue to lend its support to ASEAN for achieving a rules-based regional security architecture that best attests to the region’s interests and its peaceful development.
The statement is seen as a reflection of growing convergence among major players like India, US and Japan to have a coherent approach to tackle China’s aggressive posturing in the Indo-Pacific region.
Maintaining that 50 years of ASEAN is an occasion of pride, joy and a time to think ahead about its members can achieve, Modi stressed that India places the ASEAN at the core of its ‘Act East Policy.’
“Our ties with ASEAN are old and we want to further strengthen cooperation,” he added.
Modi also said 125 crore Indians are waiting to welcome the ASEAN leaders as the Chief Guests for the 2018 Republic Day.
Established in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations comprises of Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.
India and several other countries including the US, China, Japan and Australia are the ASEAN’s dialogue partners.
The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upward trend as both regions have a combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one-fourth of the global population and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion.
In the last 17 years, India’s investment in ASEAN has been estimated to be more than USD 40 billion, while investment from ASEAN to India has been over USD 70 billion during the same period.
With PTI inputs