India, ASEAN countries promise to boost cooperation against terrorism
19th ASEAN-India Summit

Phnom Penh: India and ASEAN countries vowed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership and enhance cooperation against terrorism after Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar addressed the 19th ASEAN-India Summit here on Saturday.

Dhankhar is in Cambodia for his three-day visit. This year marks the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations and is being celebrated as the ASEAN-India Friendship Year.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an international organisation that has 10 member countries in Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The ASEAN member states and India sought to strengthen cooperation on cybersecurity by establishing new dialogue platforms between India and the ten-member bloc.

In a joint statement, they acknowledged the deep civilisational linkages, maritime connectivity, and cross-cultural exchanges between Southeast Asia and India which have grown stronger over the last 30 years, providing a strong foundation for ASEAN-India relations.

Before addressing the summit, Dhankhar and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen held discussions on ways to further enhance bilateral ties, including in areas like human resources, de-mining and development projects.

In the joint statement, India and ASEAN nations declared to enhance cooperation in the digital economy through a series of regional capacity-building activities in digital transformation, digital trade, digital skills and innovation, as well as Hackathons.

They also said that they would enhance cooperation in smart agriculture including the exchange of best practices in the use of new technologies to develop a future-ready, resilient, and sustainable food supply.

“We will explore cooperation such as city-to-city partnerships between ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) and Smart City Mission of India by fostering exchanges of best practices and capacity-building to help build cities that are resilient, innovative, well-connected, and technologically advanced,” the statement read.

It said that ASEAN and India will strengthen healthcare for their people by increasing collaboration in public health, including in areas of research and development and public health emergency.

They sought to expedite the review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to make it more user-friendly, simple, and trade-facilitative, and work together to forge resilient supply chains, explore cooperation on a single window platform to enhance trade facilitation and integration.

They also said that they would further enhance ASEAN-India cooperation in the space sector including through the establishment of tracking, data reception and processing stations in Vietnam and Indonesia, and encourage cooperation between ASEAN and Indian space industry players, including in new areas of collaboration.

The member states of ASEAN and India decided to revive tourism and related industries which have been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic through effective implementation of the ASEAN-India tourism work plans.

On November 13, Dhankhar will participate in the 17th East Asia Summit which comprises the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and its eight dialogue partners – India, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.

At the East Asia Summit, leaders will discuss ways to further strengthen the East Asia Summit mechanism, as well as matters of regional and international interest and concerns including maritime security, terrorism and non-proliferation.

Also read | The foreign policy fallout of COVID-19


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