New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed an economic corridor and a multi-modal connectivity that will connect Europe to South-East Asia via India and West Asia at the 20th India-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit. A multi-modal connectivity can be described as the carriage of goods using at least two modes of transport.
The annual summit brings the Asean bloc (consisting of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and six other nations (India, Australia, Japan. New Zealand, Russia and the United States). PM Modi also proposed closer digital ties between the nations at the summit, which was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, between September 2 to 7.
India-Asean relations were elevated to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2022, and this is the first edition of the summit to be held since. Both sides also adopted two joint statements – food security and maritime cooperation.
While addressing the leaders of the 10-nation bloc, PM Modi insisted on improved cooperation in addressing contemporary challenges and strategic engagements, the Ministry of External Affairs was quoted as saying.
The completion of a review of the Asean-India free trade agreement, in a time-bound manner, was also proposed by PM Modi.
PM Modi also discussed technological collaborations and offered to share with Asean Nations India’s Digital Public Infrastructure Stack, a name given to a set of open APIs and digital public goods, established by the Indian government, like Unified Payment Interface (UPI), Aadhaar, DigiLocker, Co-Win, UMANG and Government e-Marketplace (GeM).
He announced the Asean-India fund for Digital Future, which will focus on financial connectivity, digital transformation and renewal of support to the Institute of Asean and East Asia (ERIA). ERIA is an economic and research institute that will be acting as a knowledge partner for the proposed Digital Future.
The bloc was also requested by Modi to work with India and make a joint effort to fight cyber-disinformation, terrorism and terror financing. Both sides communicated about the plan of action to effectuate the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2021-2025).
Modi also extended the offer to share the experience India has in providing quality and affordable medicines to everyone via Jan-Aushadhi Kendras.
PM Modi assured the bloc that India continues to remain committed to uplifting the voice of the Global South.