Terrorism, trade, sea dispute top agenda of ASEAN-India Summit

Kuala Lumpur: Terrorism, trade and South China Sea dispute are expected to dominate discussions at the 13th ASEAN-India Summit likely to begin later today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Southeast Asian leaders reviewing the ASEAN-India cooperation and charting out its future direction.

The Prime Minister arrived here this morning to a film star’s welcome when several ethnic Indians, who waited patiently outside his hotel for his motorcade to arrive from the airport, cheered loudly as he got out of the car while taking photos with their mobile phones.

India and the leaders of the 10 member grouping will review the new Plan of Action (2016-2020) to further enhance ASEAN-India cooperation along the politico-security, economic and socio-cultural pillars.

The two sides will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest or concern.

The ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership has acquired further momentum after the Act-East Policy by Prime Minister Modi at the 12th ASEAN-India Summit in Myanmar.

India and ASEAN have 30 dialogue mechanisms including a Summit and 7 Ministerial meetings in External Affairs, Commerce, Tourism, Agriculture, Environment, Renewable Energy and Telecommunications.

ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is India’s fourth largest trading partner.

India is the sixth largest trade partner for ASEAN.

Trade between India and ASEAN stood at USD 76.52 billion in 2014-15.

India’s exports to ASEAN were USD 31.81 billion and its imports from the grouping were USD 44.71 billion.

The ASEAN-India economic integration process got a boost with the creation of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area in July this year, after the entry into force of the ASEAN-India Trade in Services and Investment Agreements.

Negotiations on a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement involving the ASEAN countries and its 6 FTA partners including India have seen some breakthroughs and are expected to be concluded in 2016.