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PM Modi Unveils 12-Point Plan at ASEAN-India Summit

New Delhi also called for collectively raising issues being faced by Global South in multilateral fora and invited ASEAN countries to join Global Centre for Traditional Medicine being established by the WHO in India…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday attended the 20th ASEAN-India Summit here and unveiled the 12-point plan for strengthening cooperation between New Delhi and the regional bloc.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said he Prime Minister attended the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) on Thursday morning on his day-long visit to the Indonesian capital.

At the ASEAN-India Summit, Modi held extensive discussions with partners of the regional bloc on further strengthening of ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and charting its future course, the Ministry.

“The Prime Minister reaffirmed ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific and highlighted the synergies between India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). He also emphasized the need to complete the review of ASEAN-India FTA (AITIGA) in a time bound manner,” it added.

Modi also presented the 12-point proposal for strengthening India–ASEAN cooperation covering connectivity; digital transformation; trade and economic engagement; addressing contemporary challenges; people-to-people contacts; and deepening strategic engagement.

The Indian side announced that establishing multi-modal connectivity and economic corridor that links Southeast Asia-India-West Asia-Europe and also offered to share India’s Digital Public Infrastructure Stack with ASEAN partners.

It also announced ASEAN-India fund for Digital Future focusing on cooperation in digital transformation and financial connectivity and announced renewal of support to Economic and Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) to act as knowledge partner for enhancing our engagement.

New Delhi also called for collectively raising issues being faced by Global South in multilateral fora and invited ASEAN countries to join Global Centre for Traditional Medicine being established by the WHO in India.

It also called for working together on Mission LiFE and also offered to share India’s experience in providing affordable and quality medicines to people through Jan-Aushadhi Kendras.

The Indian side furthercalled for collective fight against “terrorism, terror financing and cyber-disinformation”, invited ASEAN countries to join Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and called for cooperation in disaster management.

It also called for enhanced cooperation on maritime safety, security and domain awareness and two Joint Statements, one on Maritime Cooperation, and the other on Food Security were adopted.

While addressing the ASEAN Summit, the Prime Minister said: “The 21st century is Asia’s century. It is our century. For this, it is necessary to build a rule-based post-Covid world order and efforts by all for human welfare. The progress of free and open Indo-Pacific and elevating the Voice of Global South is in the common interest of all.

“I believe that today’s discussions will lead to new resolutions for strengthening the future of India and the ASEAN region.”

He further said that today, even in an environment of “global uncertainties”, there is continuous progress in every field in our mutual cooperation.

“This is a testament to the strength and resilience of our relationship. The theme of this year’s ASEAN Summit is ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth’. ASEAN matters because here everyone’s voice is heard, and ASEAN is the epicenter of growth because the ASEAN region plays a crucial role in global development,” he said.

“’Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – ‘one earth, one family, one future’, this sentiment is also the theme of India’s G-20 Presidency.”

At the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS), the Prime Minister reiterated the importance of EAS mechanism and reaffirmed our support to further strengthening it.

Prime Minister Modi underlined India’s support for ASEAN centrality and called for ensuring a free, open and rules based Indo-Pacific and highlighted synergies of visions for Indo-Pacifi, and underscored that the bloc is the focal point of the Quad’s vision.

Th Quad comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia.

Healso called for a cooperative approach to address global challenges including terrorism, climate change and resilient supply chains for essential items including food and medicines, and for energy security.

Modi further highlighted India’s steps in the area of climate change and our initiatives such as ISA, CDRI, LiFE and OSOWOG.

The back-to-back ASEAN-India Summit and East Asia Summit are being organised by host Indonesia at India’s request since New Delhi will host the G20 Summit over the weekend.

ALSO READ-Washington to establish first-ever US-ASEAN Center

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Washington to establish first-ever US-ASEAN Center

Vice President stated that US has an enduring commitment to Southeast Asia and, more broadly, to the Indo-Pacific…reports Asian Lite News

United States Vice President Kamala Harris announced that they are establishing the first-ever US-ASEAN Center in Washington, which will facilitate official ASEAN engagements.

Harris, who arrived in Indonesia on Tuesday, attended the ASEAN-US Summit and said that they have upgraded the relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, according to the statement released by the US White House.

At the ASEAN-US Summit, Harris said, “And today, I am pleased to announce that we will establish, through a public-private partnership, the first-ever US-ASEAN Center in Washington, DC. The centre will facilitate official ASEAN engagements and support further exchange between our people, businesses, and academic institutions.”

“To further strengthen our ties, I’m also pleased that our ambassador to ASEAN, Yohannes Abraham, is here in Jakarta. He has been a close advisor to President Biden and to me since we took office, and I know his leadership will help make progress on the many issues we will discuss today,” she added.

At the Summit, she acknowledged and welcomed the presence of Timor-Leste in this meeting. The United States will continue to support Timor-Leste in its path towards ASEAN membership.

“I believe, as leaders, we must address the global challenges of today while also investing in a long-term vision. We must look 10, 20, 30 years out and measure our current steps against that vision,” Harris added.

The US Vice President stated that the country has an enduring commitment to Southeast Asia and, more broadly, to the Indo-Pacific. The US is a proud Pacific power, and the American people have a profound stake in the future of the Indo-Pacific.

She said that the US-ASEAN economic cooperation represents a huge opportunity for growth for both of our markets. The defence and deterrence commitments of the United States and our security presence in the Indo-Pacific help protect our homeland and ensure regional stability.

It is therefore in the vital interest of the US to promote a region that is open, interconnected, prosperous, secure, and resilient, according to the statement.

“And I’m pleased that our collective vision for the Indo-Pacific is in strong alignment. We have a shared commitment to international rules and norms and to our partnership on pressing national and regional issues, such as the crisis in Myanmar. The United States will continue to press the regime to end the horrific violence, to release all those unjustly detained, and to re-establish Myanmar’s path to inclusive democracy, and we will continue to support ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus,” Harris said.

“More broadly, in a demonstration of the enduring and important relationship between the United States and Southeast Asia, since President Biden and I took office, we have expanded US-ASEAN ties,” she added.

The United States and the Association of Southeast Asia nations (ASEAN) support narrowing the development gap in the bloc and assisting the region’s economic recovery.

In the ASEAN-US Leaders’ Statement, both countries said that they will “support narrowing the development gap in ASEAN, including the emerging gap arising from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and assisting the region’s economic recovery to realise an inclusive, participatory, and collaborative ASEAN Community that is no longer divided by the development gaps among its members.”

US Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Jakarta on Tuesday to meet with leaders of the ASEAN, in a summit hosted by Indonesia.

In a joint statement, the US and ASEAN said that they will Promote the stability, peace, prosperity, and sustainable development of the Mekong subregion through shared initiatives under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership (MUSP), which complements the Friends of the Mekong and supports the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and the IAI Work Plan IV (2021-2025), in support of ASEAN Centrality and unity in promoting ASEAN’s sub-regional development;

To achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, the US and ASEAN said that they will “advance efforts to accelerate progress and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 by maximizing the complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through cooperation in food security, health security and the building of resilient health systems, gender equality, human rights, clean energy and climate action, smart and sustainable cities, environmental conservation, transparency, and the rule of law as well as other SDG priorities.”

“Further collaborate to accelerate clean and just energy transition and the fight against climate change; support the promotion of an inclusive community in ASEAN; and strengthen support for the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre),” the statement read. (ANI)

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ASEAN’s Unity In A Complex World

President Joko Widodo said “ASEAN unity until this day has been maintained despite differences in opinion between its member countries.”…reports Asian Lite News

Despite the growing complexity of global and geopolitical challenges, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has consistently upheld its unity and central role since its inception in 1967.

The statement was voiced by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in his opening speech of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta on Tuesday (September 5), when he emphasized that “ASEAN unity until this day has been maintained despite differences in opinion between its member countries”, ANTARA news agency reported.

Indonesia is holding the ASEAN chairmanship in 2023, with the theme of “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth.” The vision of Indonesia’s chairmanship is to build a resilient, adaptive, and inclusive ASEAN.

The 43rd ASEAN Summit is taking place in Jakarta on September 5-7, following the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, in May 2023, it was reported.

The summit is drawing participation from delegates representing 22 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Russia as partner countries of ASEAN. The Timor-Leste leader is also attending the summit as an observer.

In his opening speech of the 43rd ASEAN Summit’s plenary session, Jokowi underscored that ASEAN unity does not mean that there are no differences in opinion between member countries.

He noted that Indonesia, as a country with diverse ethnicities, cultures, languages, and religions, views unity as harmony despite differences, including differences in opinion.

“Because differences in opinion, in fact, nurture democracy. It shows that we, as a family, are on an equal footing,” he stated, it was reported.

Jokowi then pushed ASEAN to further bolster its cohesiveness, boldness, and agility to optimally face current global challenges.

“ASEAN needs long-term tactical strategies that are relevant and in line with the expectations of communities,” he stated.

By retaining ASEAN’s position as a center of growth, Indonesia expects that the bloc will continue to be a relevant actor not only to the communities in Southeast Asia but also in the surrounding regions.

In his opening speech, Jokowi described ASEAN as an “ark” that is responsible for the well-being of its population of hundreds of millions.

Hence, he urged all ASEAN leaders to ensure that the ark is capable of persistently navigating the oceans amid emerging “storms” or challenges.

Speaking on the same lines as Jokowi, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi called on the unity and cooperation of the bloc in navigating any challenges, including in resolving the Myanmar issue.

“ASEAN can only steam forward in full power if we can ensure a peaceful and lasting solution in Myanmar,” she stated at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) on Monday (September 4).

Apart from the firm solidity of ASEAN, Jokowi also highlighted the principle of equality that is respected in the region.

He pointed out that equality has become a “rare thing” in the world, considering the several injustices and conflicts that continue to occur due to the absence of equality.

“However, in ASEAN, things are different. Equality is, in fact, the primary value that we respect and uphold together in the framework of unity and togetherness, so that the big ship of ASEAN can continue to sail,” he affirmed.

He said the ASEAN that is unified will be able to become a major actor in realizing global peace and growth.

At the same time, as the chair of ASEAN 2023, Indonesia seeks to strengthen the institutional capacity and effectiveness of ASEAN, so the region will be able to respond to the challenges in the next 20 years.

At the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo, ASEAN heads of state and government echoed the importance of the bloc in maintaining unity and centrality while engaging with external partners.

ASEAN leaders expressed commitment to “enhance mutual trust and confidence, strengthen an open, transparent, inclusive, and rules-based regional architecture that upholds international law” while engaging with its partners.

Moreover, in strengthening its unity, ASEAN member countries have agreed to advance the use of their local currencies for bilateral transactions and enhance digital payment interconnectivity within the bloc.

The increase in local currency transactions (LCT) aims to support economic stability by encouraging the use of local currencies in bilateral transactions among ASEAN countries.

The agreement on bolstering LCT aligns with ASEAN’s objective of achieving centrality, aiming to strengthen the region and enhance its independence in the future.

The implementation of LCT is expected to contribute positively to export-import activities, investment, cross-border payment transactions, such as the cross-border QR payments, as well as support securities trading.

According to a statement released by Bank Indonesia, LCT has been implemented by Indonesia and several countries in the region, namely Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and China.

Singapore and South Korea have also agreed to implement LCT with Indonesia.

So far, Indonesia, through its ASEAN Chairmanship this year, has striven and upheld the significance of equality in ASEAN, as the bloc has the role of a “stabilizer” amid global geopolitical tensions.

Through its resilient cohesiveness, ASEAN can realize its vision of becoming the world’s epicenter of growth, benefiting its 680 million people.

ALSO READ-ASEAN Vows To Boost Food Security

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ASEAN Vows To Boost Food Security

The minister said the comprehensive discussion on LRBFR will be held at the 45th ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) Meeting in October 2023…reports Asian Lite News

The leaders of the Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) countries have united in commitment to enhance food and nutrition security in the region as an effort to proactively address potential crises.

“This declaration focuses on two strategies to handle the food crisis. The first strategy is ASEAN’s quick action in dealing with the food and nutrition crisis,” Indonesian Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo noted in an official statement on Wednesday.

The second strategy is increasing ASEAN’s preparation to anticipate future food crises by strengthening the resilience and sustainability of the agriculture and food system, he remarked.

According to Limpo, the declaration was a proposal from the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF). In AMAF, the ASEAN agriculture ministers see the need to respond to global challenges ranging from rapid population growth, recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to geopolitical tensions and increasing the intensity of climate change.

Strategies in realizing food security and nutrition in responding to the crisis will be carried out through several steps, including encouraging each ASEAN member country to strengthen local resource-based food reserves (LRBFR) as a foundation to build joint food reserves in ASEAN dedicated to emergency preparedness and response, he noted.

The minister said the comprehensive discussion on LRBFR will be held at the 45th ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) Meeting in October 2023.

“We need an increase in food supply to ensure the availability of adequate, affordable, and nutritious food, especially for the most vulnerable groups of people in ASEAN,” he remarked.

In addition, the minister stated that ASEAN ministers will strengthen the emergency food assistance program and the mechanism for releasing emergency rice reserves under the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserves (APTERR) framework.

Moreover, AMAF members have agreed to develop an action plan for the ASEAN Regional Guideline on Sustainable Agriculture as a guideline for implementing sustainable agriculture guidelines in each ASEAN country, he revealed.

“Facilitation of access to finance for small-scale farmers, adequate supply of fertilizers, and investments to realize resilience to the impacts of climate change and sustainable agriculture will also continue to be improved,” he remarked.

Programs to address food loss and waste (FLW), such as Food Rescue, Save Food, and Food Bank, will also continue to be promoted intensively, Limpo noted.

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‘ASEAN Keen On Indo-Pacific Collaboration’

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment made the statement during the ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) in Jakarta…reports Asian Lite News

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is ready to collaborate with all partners in the Indo-Pacific region by upholding the principle of equality, according to Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment.

He made the statement at the closing of the ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) in Jakarta on Wednesday, ANTARA news agency reported.

“Developing countries are not second-class countries. They also have the right to survive,” he said.

The minister further noted that maintaining sovereignty and mutually beneficial ties, as well as maintaining peace and stability, while achieving a profitable economy and social justice, will be essential cooperation tasks in the region.

He said he hoped that the forum had provided greater understanding about ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific and that the attendees would take good memories to their home countries.

The AIPF, which was held on September 5 and 6, 2023, was part of the implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). The forum was a flagship event organized by Indonesia as part of its ASEAN chairmanship in 2023, it was reported.

It served as a platform for the public and the private sector to share, engage, and collaborate inclusively in unlocking the potential of the ASEAN and Indo-Pacific regions and driving their economic growth.

The AIPF was attended by around 2 thousand participants from 51 countries. It was expected to open up further opportunities and build more robust connectivity between ASEAN and Indo-Pacific countries.

The Indo-Pacific accounts for more than 60 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and around half of global trade. It also functions as an essential economic center that encourages trade, investment and innovation.

Meanwhile, located at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, ASEAN is ready to become the hub of economic activities in the coming decades, in line with the theme of Indonesia’s 2023 ASEAN chairmanship, “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”, it was reported.

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‘ASEAN Integral to India’s Indo-Pacific Strategy’

The Prime Minister also said that India supports the regional bloc’s outlook on the Indo-Pacific…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the centre point of India’s Act East Policy.

He made the remarks while addressing the ASEAN-India summit in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Saying that the ASEAN region will also play a key role in India’s Indo-Pacific initiative, he noted: “Even in an environment of global uncertainties, our mutual cooperation is making steady progress. This is a testimony to the strength and resilience of our ties.

“‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – One Earth, One Family, One Future – is the theme of India’s G20 presidency.”

The Prime Minister also said that India supports the regional bloc’s outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

“Our (India-Indonesia) partnership is entering its fourth decade. At such a time, co-chairing the ASEAN-India Summit is a matter of pride for me.

“Our history and geography unite India and ASEAN. Along with it, our shared values, regional integration, and our shared belief in peace, prosperity and multipolar world also unites us,” Modi observed.

He went on to say that the ASEAN is the epicentre of growth and plays a crucial role in global development.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister was welcomed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo on his arrival at the summit and prior to that, had also met members of the Indian diaspora.

The Prime Minister is on a day-long visit to Indonesia to attend the ASEAN-India summit and the 18th East Asia Summit.

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Jaishankar Holds Talks with Indonesian Counterpart at ASEAN Summit

EAM Jaishankar’s meeting with his Indonesia Counterpart was focused on the East Asia Summit and G20 summit…reports Asian Lite News

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi as he arrived in Jakarta to attend the ASEAN Summit on Wednesday.

EAM Jaishankar’s meeting with his Indonesia Counterpart was focused on the East Asia Summit and G20 summit which is being hosted by India this year, informed the Indian Minister’s post on X.

Taking to X, Jaishankar said, “Arrived in Jakarta to attend ASEAN Summit-related meetings. Delighted to meet my friend @Menlu_RI again. Our discussions focused on the East Asia Summit and the G20 Summit.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Indonesia to attend the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) on Wednesday.

PM Modi will leave for Indonesia on Wednesday (September 6) evening and will return to New Delhi late in the evening on the following day.

The Prime Minister will be in Jakarta at the invitation of the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo. Both the ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) will take place on September 7 (Thursday).

Indonesia, the current chair of ASEAN, made adjustments to the schedule for both summits to facilitate Modi’s early return. PM Modi’s visit to Indonesia comes ahead of the G20 Summit to be held in New Delhi on September 9-10 under India’s Presidency this year.

Indonesia is part of the G20 ‘troika’ as it had the presidency of the grouping last year.

The forthcoming ASEAN-India Summit will be the first Summit since the elevation of ties between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations bloc of countries to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2022.

The foreign ministry said that the the Summit will review the progress of India-ASEAN relations and chart the future direction of cooperation.

This year the ASEAN Summit will be chaired by Indonesia under the theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth.” This theme indicates that Indonesia expects the ASEAN to be relevant and significant as the centre of economic growthAccording to a statement, the East Asia Summit would provide an opportunity for leaders of ASEAN countries and its eight dialogue partners, including India, to exchange views on issues of regional and global significance.

In August, ASEAN-India Economic Ministers met in Indonesia and the main agenda of this year’s meeting was the timely review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) which was signed in 2009.

A joint committee agreed to a regular, quarterly schedule of negotiations, which would conclude the review of the ASEAN-India FTA in 2025.

In 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Jakarta at the invitation of Indonesian President Widodo. During this visit, both leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in all areas by establishing a New Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to take the bilateral relationship between Indonesia and India into a new era. (ANI)

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Widodo: Myanmar Junta Fails to Gain Public Trust

President Joko Widodo highlighted that Indonesia, as the 2023 chair of ASEAN, has conducted more than 145 engagements with as many as 70 relevant stakeholders in Myanmar….reports Asian Lite News

Jakarta has found public distrust towards the ruling military junta based on intensive engagements with the relevant stakeholders in Myanmar, said Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

He highlighted that Indonesia, as the 2023 chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has conducted more than 145 engagements with as many as 70 relevant stakeholders in Myanmar, a member country of ASEAN, ANTARA news agency reported.

“… and Indonesia has witnessed developing trust among one stakeholder and another, except the military junta,” the President observed in his opening speech at the retreat session of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta.

Indonesia is leading the regional bloc this year and has adopted “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth” as the theme of its chairmanship. The engagements it has conducted with Myanmar have demonstrated its commitment, as the ASEAN chair, to maintaining Southeast Asia as a peaceful and stable growth centre, it was reported.

In his speech, President Widodo called on ASEAN to continue to push Myanmar to carry out inclusive national dialogue as a concrete implementation of the “Myanmar-owned and Myanmar-led crisis settlement mechanism.”

During its chairmanship, Indonesia has approached various parties in Myanmar, including the National Unity Government (NUG), which is a shadow government formed by the opposition junta, the State Administrative Council (SAC) formed by the military, ethnic resistance organizations (EROs), and civil society in Myanmar, to pave the way towards inclusive dialogue.

Inclusive dialogue is part of the Five-Point Consensus (5PC) agreed upon by ASEAN leaders and the chief of the Burmese military junta, Min Aung Hlaing, which aims to assist in resolving the ongoing political and economic crises sparked by the junta’s coup against the elected government.

However, since its formulation in April 2021, the consensus has not been genuinely implemented to put an end to the ongoing crises on account of the junta’s unwillingness to do so.

For that reason, ASEAN leaders are planning to make the most of the 43rd summit to review the implementation of the consensus, at the recommendation of their foreign affairs ministers.

For the sake of ASEAN interests, as one family, ASEAN must be bold to evaluate itself, openly discuss problems, and collectively find solutions to the crises plaguing Myanmar, Widodo said.

He then emphasized that it will require tactical and extraordinary measures on the part of ASEAN to push all Burmese stakeholders, including the military junta, to genuinely implement the Five-Point Consensus.

“Regarding the 5PC implementation, I would like to reiterate that the 5PC constitutes ASEAN’s collective effort, as a family. The 5PC, agreed upon by ASEAN leaders in Jakarta on April 21, 2021, will serve as ASEAN’s main guidelines,” he affirmed, it was reported.

ALSO READ: Indonesia Urges ASEAN Unity on Myanmar Issue

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‘ASEAN EV Cooperation Mechanism In Final Stages’

Indonesia is hosting the ASEAN Summit from September 5–7, 2023, in Jakarta, as the chair of the regional bloc this year….reports Asian Lite News

Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry is finalising a mechanism for cooperation in the development of an electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem in the Southeast Asian region, Chief of the Presidential Staff Moeldoko has informed, ANTARA news agency reported.

“The Foreign Affairs Ministry is currently deliberating the format (for the cooperation),” Moeldoko said on Tuesday during a visit to the media center set up for the 43rd Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Indonesia is hosting the ASEAN Summit from September 5–7, 2023, in Jakarta, as the chair of the regional bloc this year. This is the second regional summit that has been organized by Indonesia this year.

According to Moeldoko, the government is currently deliberating on whether the cooperation will take the form of partnerships covering both the upstream and downstream sectors or simply the upstream sector.

In the upstream sector, ASEAN countries can cooperate in setting up infrastructure for EV owners in the region where they can recharge vehicle batteries, he said.

Meanwhile, in the downstream sector, member countries could coordinate to ensure that their resources can support the development of the EV battery industry in Southeast Asia.

At the previous summit in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara Province, in May, the bloc’s leaders produced the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Developing the Regional Electric Vehicle Ecosystem.

The leaders made the declaration considering that ASEAN countries hold promising reserves of resources that are vital for developing an EV ecosystem in the region. A suitable ecosystem for EVs is expected to position ASEAN as a crucial player in the global EV supply chain.

Moreover, three ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand – are investing significant efforts to promote the growth of the eco-friendly vehicle industry.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo officially inaugurated the 43rd ASEAN Summit at the Jakarta Convention Center on Tuesday.

The summit is being held under the theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth,” reflecting Indonesia’s determination to retain ASEAN as a center of economic, political, and sociocultural growth.

As this year’s chair, Indonesia is also striving to achieve its vision of making Southeast Asia a reckoned institution in the global arena, which is capable of handling challenges, seizing opportunities, as well as promoting and preserving regional peace and stability.

ASEAN consists of 10 member states: Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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Trade, Maritime Security Top Modi’s ASEAN Agenda

The ASEAN and India are likely to unveil a new initiative to expand maritime security cooperation….reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to evaluate India’s engagement with the 10-nation ASEAN during a summit in Jakarta on Thursday. Strengthening India’s trade and security partnerships with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is expected to take centre stage in Modi’s discussions with the bloc’s leaders.

The ASEAN-India Summit will be the first summit since the elevation of ties between the two sides to a comprehensive strategic partnership last year.

The two sides are expected to unveil a new initiative to expand maritime security cooperation, people familiar with the matter said, PTI reported.

Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Indonesia visit for the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summit ‘important’ just two days before the G20 Summit, the Indian ambassador to ASEAN Jayant Khobragade on Tuesday said that the visit shows how India gives importance to this region and to ASEAN centrality.

“The Prime Minister of India is coming here, despite of G20 Summit. This shows the kind of importance that we give to this region. When we talk about Act East policy, as you know in the early 90s, we had the Look East policy, then our Prime Minister of India in 2014 gave us the Act East policy, then again it evolved into Indo Pacific Oceans initiative, and it became a more comprehensive,” Khobragade said while speaking to ANI here.

“We always give importance to ASEAN centrality. And when we say ASEAN centrality, which means, it’s complex of many things. It’s about connectivity, trade, investment, people-to-people contact. I must also mention the civilisational connection between India and ASEAN, if you go to different countries here you will see, like many monuments, which you can relate to, so, if you take this sum total, then you realize how important this region is and therefore there has always been the focus of the government of India, on this region,” he added.

Speaking further about how the summit becomes more significant given China’s expansionist policy and aggressive stance in the Indo-Pacific, the envoy emphasized the importance of UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and that India wants the region to grow and prosper.

“This region is very important for trade which happens mainly through maritime routes. Now, if there is no freedom of navigation, there could be problems. Therefore, we have always emphasised that UNCLOS which is the Convention, is like a constitution about the freedom of navigation, etc. So, we reiterate the importance of that, because we want this region to grow to prosper”, said the envoy.

Speaking about the India – ASEAN trade relationship, the envoy highlighted that India’s trade was worth $130 billion during 2022-23.

“If you look at the calendar year, then this financial year it (trade) was like around 130$ billion total trade, just next to European Union. So second largest, but like, all FTAs, this ASEAN India – Free Trade Agreement also needs to be contemplated and therefore, that review is happening. The Ministry of Commerce is fully involved in it and you need negotiation with their counterparts. We hope that this review is quite complex, you know, so they already have identified the priority area etc. And they desire to complete it by 2025”, said the envoy.

Prime Minister will depart Delhi on the night of September 6 and return late evening on September 7. Given that the G20 Summit follows shortly after the ASEAN Summit, it will be a short visit.

Earlier during the briefing, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Secretary (East) Saurabh Kumar said India appreciates the Indonesian Government for making adjustments to the ASEAN meeting schedule so as to facilitate the Prime Minister’s program and his early return.

PM Modi will participate in the ASEAN India Summit along with heads of state or government of the ASEAN member states. East Asia Summit brings together ASEAN members and eight Dialogue Partners, which are Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.

This comes as the 9th ASEAN India Summit to be attended by PM Modi. The Summit is the first one after the elevation of India’s ASEAN relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership which happened last year. (with inputs from agencies)

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