13th ASEAN-India Summit held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Who: 13th ASEAN-India Summit
Where: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
What: Held
When: 21 November 2015

The Thirteenth ASEAN-India Summit was held successfully on 21 November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Theme of the summit wasOur People, Our Community, Our Vision.

The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak as Malaysia holds the chair for the year 2015.

The summit was participated by the Heads of ASEAN Member States and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. The Secretary General of ASEAN was also a participant of the summit.

Major Highlights of the13th ASEAN-India summit
• The ASEAN Leaders welcomed India’s initiatives, namely the Act East Policy and Make in India
• ASEAN Leaders encouraged India to work with ASEAN to realise the vision and goals outlined in the ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together.
• They looked forward to further enhancing ASEAN-India relations through the new Plan of Action 2016-2020 adopted at the ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur in August 2015. This includes cooperation in areas like science and technology, renewable energy, food security, tourism, climate change and connectivity.
• ASEAN leaders welcomed India’s announcement of a 1 billion US dollar Line of Credit for ASEAN Member States to undertake connectivity related projects under the ASEAN-India Strategic partnership.
• They also expressed their interest in availing the Line of Credit to, inter-alia, realise the Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity.
• They looked forward for signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the ASEAN-India Centre (AIC)and its early operationalisation.
• It called on all partied to work towards for early conclusion of a balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnerships Agreement, which is beneficial to all and is comprehensive in nature.
• It also called for convening of the 1st Meeting of the ASEAN-India Working Group on Regional Air Services Arrangements for the further negotiations of an ASEAN-India Air Transport Agreement based on ‘open skies’ principles covering both air freight and passenger services.
• The leaders also called further discussion on the ASEAN-India Maritime Transport Agreement to strengthen maritime connectivity.

The 14th ASEAN-India Summit to be held Lao PDR in 2016. 12th ASEAN-India Summit was held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on 12 November 2014.

Comment/Analysis
India’s partnership with ASEAN has successfully moved from a Sectoral Dialogue Partnership in 1992 to a Summit Partnership in 2002 and to a Strategic Partnership in 2012.

The ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership acquired further momentum after the enunciation of the Act-East Policy by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 12th ASEAN-India Summit in Myanmar in November 2014.

As of now India and ASEAN have 30 dialogue mechanisms including a Summit, which have been taking place since 2002.

India has been actively participating and making positive contribution to numerous ASEAN-led mechanisms. These include among others ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) and East Asia Summit (EAS).

On the economic front, ASEAN is India’s fourth largest trading partner. India is, in turn, the sixth largest trade partner for ASEAN. Trade between India and ASEAN stood at 76.52 billion dollars in 2014-15 as against the aim set in 2012 to achieve 100 billion US dollars mark.

To give a fillip to India-ASEAN bilateral trade, a Free Trade Agreement in Goods was signed in 2009 and in Services and Investment in 2014. Besides, India is also part of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), which includes ASEAN and its six FTA partners.

The growth pole of Asia is shifting. A stronger ASEAN–India partnership would enhance our participation in global economic governance and work towards building a common position, voice and visibility in addressing global governance issues.