Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the centrality of the 10-nation ASEAN bloc in India’s plan to scale up its ‘Look East’ policy to an upgraded ‘Act Easy Policy’. In his opening statement at the 12th ASEAN summit here on Wednesday afternoon, Modi said: “My government has been in office for six months and the intensity and (the) momentum with which we have enhanced our engagement in the East, is a reflection of the priority that we give to this region… A new era of economic development, industrialization and trade has begun in India. Externally, India’s ‘Look East Policy’ has become ‘Act East Policy’,” Modi said.
Modi said that he believed that “we are entering in a new era in the India-ASEAN partnership”. The prime minister also said that he is
looking forward to discussing with ASEAN leaders how to take “our relationship to a new level, which will supplement our deepening
bilateral ties with each member”.
On Wednesday, Modi is slated to meet the President of South Korea and the premiers of Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore for bilateral
meetings. He is also slated to meet Myanmar opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi. Earlier, on Wednesday morning, the ASEAN Summit opened with the anthem of the organization, following which the summit’s host, Myanmar’s president U Thein Sein cautioned that one year before the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community, which is supposed to create a common market, “challenges remain in implementing the remaining 20 per cent of the targets and addressing the issues that will emerge in the post-2015 ASEAN Community.”
He also stated that ASEAN “needs to play a greater role in the international arena by taking a more united stand in addressing issues
of common concern and interest.” The ASEAN meeting will be followed on Thursday by the 9th East Asia Summit. US President Barack Obama is to attend the summit, along with such other leaders including China’s premier, South Korea’s president and the prime ministers of Australia, Japan and Russia.