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Elon Musk Brings Starlink to Indonesia

Musk, who is visiting Indonesia for the first time, is scheduled to launch Starlink alongside the country’s President Joko Widodo….reports Asian Lite News

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Sunday arrived in Indonesia where he aims to launch his satellite-based internet service Starlink.

Musk, who is visiting Indonesia for the first time, is scheduled to launch Starlink alongside the country’s President Joko Widodo.

“I had the opportunity to pick up Elon at the Airport this morning, then discuss some of his agendas while he’s here and of course some important collaborations. One of them is the inauguration of Starlink internet service capable of reaching all corners of Indonesia,” Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan wrote on his official Instagram account.

“Through the availability of internet access throughout the province, the digitalisation in the implementation of healthcare and education in Indonesia can continue to improve,” he added.

The minister also mentioned that the tech billionaire will also be speaking at the World Water Forum, which will be held in Bali.

Earlier this month, Starlink warned users of a “degraded service” as the biggest geomagnetic storm struck the Earth due to solar activity.

“Starlink is currently experiencing degraded service. Our team is investigating,” the company wrote on its website.

Musk also highlighted the severity of the storm in a post on X, saying that it has put Starlink satellite fleet under intense pressure and described it as “the biggest in a long time”.

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Lawrence Wong Sworn In as Singapore’s PM

Wong, 51, is the first prime minister of Singapore born after the country’s independence in 1965…reports Asian Lite News

Lawrence Wong took his oath of office as Singapore’s fourth Prime Minister at the Istana, the country’s presidential palace, on Wednesday.

In the inauguration speech, Wong expressed gratitude to Lee Hsien Loong, who served as the prime minister for the past two decades and remains in the new cabinet as a senior minister, reports Xinhua News Agency.

Wong, 51, is the first prime minister of Singapore born after the country’s independence in 1965. He said that the handover also signifies a passing of the baton across generations.

Wong said one of his priorities is to identify and bring younger talents in their 30s and 40s to the team, and his leadership style will differ from previous generations.

“We enjoyed unprecedented peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific since the end of the Cold War. Unfortunately, the era is over,” Wong stressed while expounding on his external views.

Facing growing conflict, rivalry, protectionism and nationalism, Wong said Singapore will adapt to the changes and continue to be friends with all.

“We value the centrality of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and its efforts to foster regional cooperation and integration. We hope for stable U.S.-China relations and will continue engaging both powers,” he noted.

He also vowed to improve trust within local society, and push the country forward with common purpose and shared resolve.

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Indonesian President-Elect awarded Order of Zayed

His Excellency Subianto conveyed the greetings of His Excellency President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, along with his wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of the UAE…reports Asian Lite News

President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan received His Excellency Prabowo Subianto, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Indonesia and the President-elect, at Qasr Al Shati in Abu Dhabi.

During the meeting, His Excellency Subianto conveyed the greetings of His Excellency President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, along with his wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of the UAE. In return, His Highness extended his best wishes for further prosperity and development to His Excellency President Widodo and the friendly people of Indonesia.

His Highness extended his congratulations once more to His Excellency Prabowo Subianto on his recent victory in the Indonesian presidential elections. His Highness expressed his best wishes for His Excellency Subianto’s success in guiding his nation through the forthcoming period and in meeting the aspirations of his people. Furthermore, His Highness the President emphasised his keen interest in leveraging the robust strategic ties between the UAE and Indonesia to deepen cooperation and foster shared development and prosperity.

During their meeting, His Highness and the Indonesian Defence Minister discussed bilateral relations, particularly in defence and military affairs, and ways to enhance them for the benefit of both nations. They also exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan awarded His Excellency Prabowo Subianto the Order of Zayed during the meeting in recognition of his sincere efforts and his role in enhancing cooperation between the UAE and Indonesia.

In response, the Indonesian Defence Minister expressed his appreciation to His Highness, as well as his pride in receiving this medal named after the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a revered global humanitarian figure. He also expressed his hope for continued development and growth in the relations between the two countries to fulfil their mutual aspirations.

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Xi’s France Visit Met with Protest, Tibet, Xinjiang Rights in Focus

Activists advocating for Tibet and Xinjiang, regions where the United Nations has raised concerns about potential crimes against humanity, were also present on the streets of the capital….reports Asian Lite News

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival in France, Paris on Sunday witnessed a display of activism as campaigners for Tibet and Xinjiang gathered to highlight concerns over human rights abuses in these regions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is on his first journey to Europe in half a decade, with the visit expected to revolve around Russia’s war in Ukraine and economic tensions between Beijing and Brussels. His itinerary commences in France, where he is scheduled to engage in discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday in Paris, before proceeding to the Pyrenees region, Al Jazeera reported.

Following his time in France, Xi will journey to Serbia and Hungary, nations that have preserved strong connections with Russia despite its extensive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Chinese state media reported on Xi’s arrival in Paris, depicting streets adorned with both Chinese and French flags and groups of Chinese nationals welcoming their president. However, amidst the festive atmosphere, campaigners for Tibet and Xinjiang, where the United Nations has raised concerns about potential crimes against humanity, also took to the streets of the capital.

Activists advocating for Tibet and Xinjiang, regions where the United Nations has raised concerns about potential crimes against humanity, were also present on the streets of the capital.

The European Union’s imposition of targeted sanctions on certain Chinese officials and companies over the situation in Xinjiang in March 2021 elicited strong reactions from Beijing.

Human Rights Watch urged French President Macron to publicly address these issues during Xi’s visit to Paris, calling for the release of individuals arbitrarily detained, including Ilham Tohti, an Uyghur economist and recipient of the Sakharov Prize.

The organisation emphasised that Macron should also raise concerns about Tibet and Hong Kong, highlighting the repression faced by Tibetan children in boarding schools and the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong due to draconian security laws.

“President Macron should make it clear to Xi Jinping that Beijing’s crimes against humanity come with consequences for China’s relations with France,” Maya Wang, the acting China director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement. “France’s silence and inaction on human rights would only embolden the Chinese government’s sense of impunity for its abuses, further fuelling repression at home and abroad.”

In a meeting at the Elysee Palace on April 30, Macron was pictured with Penpa Tsering, the president of the Tibetan government-in-exile, who urged him not to forget Tibet. The agenda between the two presidents was expected to address various international crises, but advocates stressed the importance of including discussions on human rights issues.

“We understand that the agenda between the two presidents will be dense given the many international crises such as in Ukraine and in the Middle East, but this must not be done at the expense of exchanges on human rights, which are in a deplorable state throughout the country as well as in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet, where a latent conflict has been going on for over 60 years and poses a threat to regional and international security,” Vincent Metten, the EU policy director for the International Campaign for Tibet said in a statement, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Freedom House’s 2024 report on Freedom in the World revealed Tibet’s dismal score of zero out of 100, indicating a severe decline in freedoms over the past eight years.

Maryse Artiguelong, the vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), said: “The conflict in Ukraine highlights the threat posed to international order and security by authoritarian regimes such as Russia and the People’s Republic of China. Their aggressive foreign policies and repressive domestic policies are inextricably linked: Anyone who does not oppose China’s human rights violations risks one day facing its aggressive foreign policy.”

France has emphasized that the conflicts in Ukraine and other regions, including Beijing’s neutral stance on Ukraine but failure to condemn Moscow’s invasion, will be significant topics of discussion during the talks, Al Jazeera reported.

Macron, known for his assertive stance on European security, will urge Xi to exert influence on Russian President Putin regarding the situation in Ukraine.

To underscore European unity, von der Leyen will participate in Monday’s discussions, scheduled to commence shortly after 11 am (09:00 GMT). Besides the Ukraine conflict, Europe is troubled by Chinese commercial activities, prompting an inquiry into China’s subsidies for electric vehicle makers amid worries about unfair competition and adverse effects on European firms.

Prior to Xi’s departure last week, Lin Jian, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Beijing was ready to “work with France and the EU to take this meeting as an opportunity to make the China-EU relations more strategic, stable, constructive and mutually beneficial, promote steady and sustained progress in China-EU relations, and contribute to the prosperity of both China and Europe and a peaceful world.”

Following his visit to France, Xi will travel to Serbia, arriving in Belgrade on the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Chinese Embassy. He will engage in discussions with President Aleksandar Vucic. The bombing occurred during the NATO air campaign against Serb forces in Kosovo, resulting in three casualties and sparking outrage in China.

Despite not being an EU member, Serbia has attracted substantial investment from China, which is now its largest single source of investment. Ahead of the trip, Lin, the MOFA spokesperson, described the relationship between the two countries as “ironclad,” according to Al Jazeera.

“The bombing remains a significant topic for Chinese officials, who use it to support narratives that question the values of liberal democracies,” Stefan Vladisavljev, programme director at Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society wrote in an online analysis, adding, “For Serbia, the visit presents an opportunity to strengthen its position as China’s main partner in the Western Balkans.”

Xi will proceed to Budapest on May 8, marking the conclusion of his Europe trip. There, he will hold talks with Hungarian President Viktor Orban, known for his close ties with Russia within the EU.

Hungary’s policies, which have drawn concern from other EU members, have seen the country aligning more closely with Beijing and Moscow. Recently, Hungary signed a security cooperation agreement with China permitting Chinese police officers to operate in areas with significant ethnic Chinese populations or popular Chinese tourist destinations. This move has sparked apprehension, particularly among exiles and dissidents elsewhere in Europe.

Additionally, Hungary is a member in China’s Belt and Road Initiative since 2015. Discussions between Xi and Orban are expected to cover topics such as the ongoing construction of a high-speed rail link between Budapest and Belgrade, Al Jazeera reported. (ANI)

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Return the ASEAN Sea to Southeast Asia

Geographically, the nomenclature ‘South China Sea’ makes no sense, as the territories comprising South China are not fronting the waters of that important waterway, writes Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat

In its relentless effort to ignore international law and expand its boundaries, the CCP (or Chinese Communist Party, as the organisation prefers to be known) uses any excuse that it can either locate or invent to justify such aggression. Sometime in the past, almost certainly as a consequence of other countries going by maps originating from within China, what ought to be known as the ASEAN Sea was named the South China Sea.

Geographically, such a characterisation makes no sense, as the territories comprising South China are not fronting the waters of that important waterway. Instead, it is countries comprising ASEAN that front its waters, which is why the term “ASEAN Sea” ought to be adopted by cartographers in place of “South China Sea”. Given the wariness that members of ASEAN barring the Philippines deal with CCP expansionism, it comes as no surprise that even that group of countries avoids the suggestion that the so-called “South China Sea” be more accurately renamed as the ASEAN Sea.

In fact, such a shift would be entirely consistent both with the facts as also with international law. Whenever the CCP talks of “upholding international law”, what that means in practice is the PRC doing whatever the CCP decides is in its interest, and ignoring any other consideration, including international law. After the Philippines succeeded in getting a verdict from the relevant international body that a swathe of ocean and island space was within its territorial rights, that judgment was swept aside by Beijing as being of no consequence. It is unfortunate that in effect, not just other members of ASEAN but the broader international community ignored the manner in which the PRC was trampling on international law in the matter.

In effecting a change in nomenclature of the nature suggested above, it is the US that ought to take the lead, and perhaps the day is not far off when the House of Representatives and the Senate votes affirmatively in favouring of giving the ASEAN Sea its correct name, and sends the legislation up to the President of the US for his signature. At the very least, such a move would draw more attention by major powers of the need to roll back the manner in which the PLA has sought to establish a chokehold over the ASEAN Sea. Should there be any blockage of commerce in that waterway by the PRC military, the same would constitute a hostile act towards the international community. It would need to be met with countervailing force so as to ensure that the waters of the sea remain open to all countries, including of course the PRC.

It needs to be said that in its response to the ongoing Cold War 2.0 with CCP-controlled China, the US establishment has been hesitant, almost timid, in a manner that is the opposite of its approach towards Cold War 1.0 with the USSR. The recent passage by the US Congress of legislation involving Tibet is an indication that such timidness may finally get replaced with an approach essential not to lose but to prevail in the new Cold War, just as took place in the previous Cold War. The CCP has taken away two-thirds of the territory of Tibet and affixed it to provinces in China. Hence the international community needs to ensure that maps produced within major democracies reflect the correct boundaries of Tibet rather than what the CCP claims to be the boundary of what it ironically terms the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

What is meant by the use of the term “autonomous” is that the region is governed autonomously from the Tibetan people. Indeed, the demographics of the whole of Tibet have been altered in a transparent effort to ensure that the Tibetan population gets reduced to a smaller and smaller minority in their own land, exactly as is happening in other parts of the PRC where ethnic minorities once formed the majority of the population. Mahatma Gandhi advised the British people to open their island to Hitler rather than resist him, for, in his view, Soul Force would ensure that the dictator of Germany during 1933-45 would undergo a conversion in his approach to humanity, and rediscover the humanity in himself.

Where Tibet is concerned, the gentle approach of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet, since the exile of His Holiness in 1959, has been met not by reciprocity from the CCP but in a steady erosion of the territory, traditions and the very identity of Tibet. The flame of the ancient and wondrous culture of Tibet has however been continuing to give its light in Dharamshala, where His Holiness has been residing since 1959, a flame that is to the benefit of human civilisation. The CCP has insisted that His Holiness acknowledge the new, much diminished boundaries of Tibet before holding talks, a condition that it knows would be impossible for the Dalai Lama to accept.

Beijing, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivers an important speech at the New Year gathering held by the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 31, 2020. (Xinhua/Ju Peng/IANS)

President Biden will need to sign into law the legislation on Tibet that has been passed in the US House of Representatives a short while ago, assuming the Senate stands by the Tibetan people in the way the House of Representatives have. Both the Senate and the White House are on test in the matter, and countries that are alarmed by PRC expansionism are looking to see whether Washington has the same resolve in the new, and deadlier, Cold War as was shown in the previous contest with the USSR.

People in the PRC have seen the way in which the economic situation has been worsening as a consequence of the aftershocks generated by the international and domestic aftershocks caused by the numerous acts of expansionism and other forms of aggression by the CCP leadership. Such aggression is entirely contrary to the innate culture of the Chinese people, yet so far, lack of resolve on the part of the US in particular has allowed the CCP free rein. Cold War 2.0 with the PRC requires even more of the same commitment and strength of will that was needed to win Cold War 1.0 with the Soviet Union. Giving the ASEAN Sea its rightful name would be a good way to strengthen the process of resisting rather than indulging CCP expansionism and contempt for international law.

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Myanmar Grants Amnesty to 3,000 Prisoners for New Year


Included in the released group were 3,303 citizens of Myanmar and 36 individuals from other countries, comprising 13 Indonesians and 15 Sri Lankans….reports Asian Lite news

Myanmar’s State Administration Council granted amnesty to more than 3,000 prisoners on Wednesday, the first day of the traditional Myanmar New Year.

Among them were 3,303 Myanmar nationals and 36 foreign prisoners, including 13 Indonesian nationals and 15 Sri Lankan nationals, the council said as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

The amnesty is to mark Myanmar’s traditional New Year’s Day, bringing joy to the people and looking forward to positive relations with respective countries, while addressing humanitarian concerns, it added.

In a separate pardon order, the council reduced the sentences by one-sixth for some prisoners jailed across the Southeast Asian country.

It’s a customary practice for Myanmar to pardon prisoners annually to celebrate its traditional new year.

Last year, more than 3,000 prisoners were released on Myanmar’s traditional New Year’s Day.

ALSO READ: India Urges Immediate Evacuation from Myanmar’s Rakhine State

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India Urges Immediate Evacuation from Myanmar’s Rakhine State

The MEA spokesperson said that there is a lot of fighting happening there, underscoring that the security situation is not conducive at all in Rakhine State….reports Asian Lite News

Amid the deteriorating security situation in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, the Ministry of External Affairs said that it has told all the Indians to evacuate and move away from there.

“We had issued an advisory for the Rakhine State, where the situation there is very delicate, the security situation has deteriorated. We told all Indian nationals to evacuate themselves and move away from there and we also told our nationals who are there or otherwise from anywhere else not to travel to that part,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in a media briefing on Friday.

“The situation in Myanmar remains a cause of concern because of the deterioration in the security situation,” he said.

The MEA spokesperson said that there is a lot of fighting happening there, underscoring that the security situation is not conducive at all in Rakhine State.

Asserting that India wants peace and stability in Myanmar, Jaiswal asserted by saying, “There is a lot of fighting happening there, and the security situation is not conducive, but we call upon all sides.”

“We want peace and stability in the country, we want constructive dialogue in the country, and we want inclusive federal democracy to be established through dialogue and through constructive engagement…” he went on to say.

In February, India issued an advisory for Indian citizens, advising them not to travel to the Rakhine state of Myanmar amid a deteriorating security situation.

The Ministry of External Affairs cited the deteriorating security situation, disruption of means of telecommunications, including landlines, and severe scarcity of essential commodities in Rakhine State.

“In view of the deteriorating security situation, disruption of means of telecommunications, including landlines, and severe scarcity of essential commodities, all Indian citizens are advised not to travel to the Rakhine State of Myanmar,” the MEA advisory had stated.

It also advised the Indian citizens who are in Rakhine State to leave the state immediately.

Notably, a fresh uptick was noticed in incidents of violence in Myanmar recently. This came after three ethnic minority forces launched a coordinated offensive last October, capturing some towns and military posts. The experts called it the ‘biggest test’ for junta since taking power in 2021.

This also led to a huge influx of people from Myanmar into the state of Mizoram along the Indo-Myanmar border after the Myanmar army launched airstrikes in the bordering areas.

Myanmar marked the third anniversary of the military coup on February 1, where the military seized power in a coup three years ago. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Martial Law Imposed in Eastern Myanmar Townships

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Martial Law Imposed in Eastern Myanmar Townships

According to the media report, the council said on Wednesday in its order statement that the martial law was imposed to ensure security…reports Asian Lite News

Myanmar’s State Administration Council imposed martial law in Momeik and Mabein townships in Shan state of eastern Myanmar, media reported.

According to the media report, the council said on Wednesday in its order statement that the martial law was imposed to ensure security, uphold the rule of law, and maintain peace and stability in the region, Xinhua news agency reported.

Subsequently, in its separate order, the council granted administrative and judicial power for the townships to the commander of the northern command to effectively carry out the works on security, law enforcement, and peace and stability of the region, the report added.

Myanmar has remained under a state of emergency, which was initially declared in February 2021 for one year and subsequently extended five times, each for six months, until end of July this year.

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Prabowo Subianto claims victory in Indonesian polls

Despite no official declaration, Subianto holds a significant lead in preliminary tallies, positioning himself to lead the world’s third-largest democracy….reports Asian Lite News

Indonesia’s Defence Minister, Prabowo Subianto, claims victory in presidential election based on unofficial counts, sparking controversy. His opponents remain defiant, refusing to concede defeat.

Despite no official declaration, Subianto holds a significant lead in preliminary tallies, positioning himself to lead the world’s third-largest democracy.

However, his candidacy evokes memories of Indonesia’s authoritarian past, with allegations linking him to human rights abuses during his military tenure.

Despite controversies, Subianto aligns himself with the current popular President Joko Widodo, emphasizing continuity.

Criticisms persist regarding his military record, including accusations of kidnappings and human rights violations. Unofficial tallies suggest Subianto secured a substantial majority, raising concerns among his detractors.

Prabowo’s running mate, 36-year-old Gibran Rakabuming Raka, is also considered a “controversial” candidate, as per Al Jazeera.

Prabowo is the head of Gerindra, a nationalist, right-wing populist political party, and has the backing of a coalition of other parties including Golkar and the National Mandate Party (PAN).

Although Prabowo and Gibran do not have Jokowi’s explicit endorsement, as the incumbent president is supposed to remain neutral, they are seen as the “continuity” candidates.

Prabowo has also said he plans to build three million new homes in rural, coastal and urban areas, and launch a free lunch programme for schoolchildren in a policy designed to combat stunting.

Meanwhile, Indonesians’ main concern continues to remain the cost of living and being able to provide for themselves and their families.

Economic growth slowed to 5.05 per cent in 2023 compared with 5.3 per cent the year before, mostly as a result of weak exports and lower commodity prices, Al Jazeera reported citing Statistics Indonesia.

With people under 40 making up about half the total number of registered voters, employment is a key concern.

According to Statistics Indonesia, the unemployment rate in August 2023 was 5.32 percent and the average monthly wage across Indonesia was 3.18 million rupiahs (USD 203).

As per Al Jazeera, other issues include human rights and democratic decline in Indonesia, with student protests flaring across university campuses in recent weeks as staff and students at some of Indonesia’s largest and most prominent universities including Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta and Universitas Indonesia have spoken out about the need for fair and transparent elections.

The process at the polling stations was overseen by about seven million election officials and independent workers.

In a stark fact, more than 890 election workers died following the exhaustive polls in 2019.

There are more than 8,20,000 polling stations across Indonesia, an archipelago made up of some 17,000 islands, and the count starts as soon as voting closes.

Many polling stations used a “quick count” – based on a sampling method – to give an early indication of where things are headed.

Any legal complaints by any of the candidates involved, including the three sets of presidential and vice presidential hopefuls, will need to be filed within 35 days of the election.

On his previous two outings, Prabowo challenged the result through Indonesia’s Constitutional Court.

Among the voters, about 52 per cent of registered voters are under the age of 40, and about a third of the total are under the age of 30, making the “youth vote” an important one.

This year, 49.91 per cent of registered voters are male and 50.09 per cent are female.

Members of the Indonesian police and the military were banned from voting.

Presidential candidates need 50 per cent of the overall vote and at least 20 per cent of votes in each province in order to claim victory. Political parties need four per cent of the vote in order to enter parliament.

If no single candidate passes the 50 per cent threshold, the top two candidate pairs will go into a second and final round on June 26. The new president will take oath in October.

ALSO READ: ASEAN Invites India Back to RCEP

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ASEAN Invites India Back to RCEP

ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn is leading the ASEAN Secretariat delegation on a working visit to India….reports Asian Lite News

The door for India to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) remains open, said ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn on Wednesday, expressing hope that New Delhi will reconsider its participation in the world’s largest trade deal.

When asked whether ASEAN sees any willingness on India’s part to reconsider the trade deal, the ASEAN Secretary General enunciated that he does not think there is an absolute no from the Indian side on the matter and that the two sides would continue to engage with each other.

ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn is leading the ASEAN Secretariat delegation on a working visit to India.

In an interview with ANI, the secretary general shared the progress of RCEP and the discussion with India on this matter.

Signed in 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a free trade agreement among the Asia-Pacific nations of Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

India, which took part in the initial negotiations, later decided to opt out.

“…The door remains open (for India) and we believe that there’s an opportunity to work together, of course, through bilateral FTA, between ASEAN and India on the one hand, but of course, also the opportunity to do so…And of course, we still welcome in the house and we hope India will continue to look at ourselves ourself. You know, in the long term,” Kao Kim Hourn said.

“I don’t think that India is an absolute, no matter if it is all about flexibility. It’s about practicality. It’s about mutual interest. So I think as long as we continue to engage with one another, this engagement approach is important,” he added.

The RCEP was conceived at the 2011 ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia, while negotiations were formally launched during the 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.

The RCEP Agreement, which entered into force on January 1, 2022, is an ASEAN-led initiative that creates the world’s largest free trade area in terms of the parties’ combined gross domestic product (GDP), which is almost a third of the world’s GDP, and the market size, as the parties’ combined population accounts for almost one-third of the world’s population.

Moreover, RCEP comprises the ten ASEAN Member States, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. (ANI)

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