Asean connect: Sushma holds meet with Governors of northeastern states. As India boosts its trade, connectivity and people-to-people ties with southeast Asia under the Act East Policy, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday held an interactive meeting with the Governors of the northeastern states and the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.Stating that acting east through India’s northeastern region, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that Sushma Swaraj chaired the interactive discussion with the Governors of the northeastern states and the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to synchronise the views of the northeastern states into the Asean-centric Act East Policy.“The interactive discussion will feed into the deliberations at the Asean-India Commemorative Summit 2018 marking 25 years of Asean-India dialogue relations featuring an enhanced role for the northeastern region, India’s gateway to the Asean,” Kumar said.This year marks the silver anniversary of the dialogue partnership between India and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).To mark the conclusion of a series of events celebrating this milestone, an Asean-India Commemorative Summit will be held in New Delhi on January 25, 2018, which is expected to be attended by the leaders of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.These leaders will also attend next year’s Republic Day celebrations collectively as chief guests.The India-Asean relationship was elevated to that of a Strategic Partnership in 2012 during the 20th anniversary Commemorative Summit in New Delhi.Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the 15th India-Asean Summit in the Philippines’ capital Manila during which he reaffirmed New Delhi’s commitment to strengthen ties with southeast Asia.Trade between India and Asean stood at $71 billion in 2016-17 and comprised 10.85 per cent of India’s total trade with the world.
Asean and India together comprise a population of 1.85 billion, one-fourth of the global population, and a combined GDP of $3.8 trillion.Investments in India from Asean countries in the last 17 years had been over $70 billion, accounting for 17 per cent of FDI. Indian investments in Asean is over $40 billion.The signal effort under the India-Asean connectivity initiative is the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and talks are underway to extend this to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam as well.Several projects on people-to-people connectivity are held annually to increase interaction between India and the Asean community.–IANS
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