Of India & ASEAN....

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for enhancing cooperation with Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to tackle terrorism, and underlined the need for settling territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea through peaceful means.
On a day when the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2249 against IS, Modi sought to extend international cooperation against terrorism with Asean. “Terrorism has emerged as a major global challenge that affects us all here.We have excellent bilateral cooperation with Asean members. We should see how we can enhance our cooperation at the regional and international level, including through support for the adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism,“ Modi said in his opening remarks at the Asean-India Summit in Kuala Lumpur. In one of its rare moves, UNSC said in its resolution on Friday evening that IS constituted an “unprecedented“ threat to international peace and security , calling upon member states with the requisite capacity to take “all necessary measures“ to prevent and suppress its terrorist acts on territory under its control in Syria and Iraq.
Taking care to flag India's position on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, Modi said, “India shares with Asean a commitment to freedom of navigation, over flight and unimpeded commerce, in accordance with accepted principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Territorial disputes must be settled through peaceful means.“
Modi said India hopes that all parties to the disputes in the South China Sea will abide by the guidelines on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and redouble efforts for early adoption of a `code of conduct' on the basis of consensus. He suggested evolving specific plans for cooperation with the 10-member Asean in key areas of maritime security, counter-piracy and humanitarian and disaster relief.
India will soon extend electronic-visa facility to all Asean countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), Modi said. For the first time, the PM acknowledged the delay in completing the India-Myanmar-Thailand transnational highway , with the deadline moving from 2016 to 2018, just another example of poor Indian delivery of declared targets.
India is also willing to let Asean take the lead in developing regional architecture.By the end of this year, Asean will become a single “community“, a concept borrowed from Europe. “As our rapidly transforming region navigates its way through uncertain times to a peaceful and prosperous future, we look forward to Asean leading the way in defining the regional architecture,“ PM said.
India intends to set up an Asean-India Innovation Platform to facilitate commercialisation of low-cost technologies, technology transfer and collaborative research and development projects, he said.“We also propose to commit a Line of Credit of $1 billion to promote projects that support physical and digital connectivity between India and Asean,“ the PM said.
“We can also draw confidence from the progress in our framework of cooperation.The entry into force of our Trade in Services and Investment Agreements in July 2015 is a major step forward,“ he added. Modi said Asean-India looked forward to progress in negotiations for a balanced and ambitious `Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement' that covers goods and services as well as investments.
India is the sixth largest trade partner for Asean. Trade between India and Asean stood at $76.52 billion in 201415. India's exports to Asean were $31.81 billion and its imports from the grouping were $44.71 billion. India-Asean's cooperative space project to be located in Vietnam, he said, is making concrete progress. “ I assure you of its early completion,“ he added.

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