Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held bilateral talks with his counterpart from Thailand Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on strengthening cooperation in strategic areas of trade, defence and security. Modi also held meetings with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the current chair of the ASEAN grouping, and Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Hassanal Bolkiah. The prime minister has had bilateral meetings with six ASEAN leaders since yesterday.
These meetings on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit to mark the 25 years of Indo-ASEAN ties, come in the backdrop of increasing Chinese economic and military assertiveness in the region. In a series of tweets after these meetings, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “Our ‘Act East’ complementing Thailand’s Act West policy! Prime Minister Modi met with PM of Thailand.”
Constructive dialogue on economic and commercial exchange, connectivity, defence and security, cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges took place, he said. Kumar also tweeted, “Strategic partnership rooted in commercial, cultural and people-to-people contacts!…Modi had a productive discussion with Singapore’s Lee Hsien loong on economic and commercial ties, FinTech, tourism, enhanced connectivity and Smart Cities.”
On Modi’s meeting with Brunei’s Sultan, Kumar tweeted, “Bolstering ties with Brunei Darussalam! the prime minister…and his Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah had positive discussion on cooperation in defence and security, energy, ICT, education, health and space.” On the eve of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit to celebrate 25 years of the India-ASEAN partnership, Modi had held bilateral meetings with Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday.