The Asian century requires the creation of a rules-based post-Covid-19 world order, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday as he proposed a 12-point plan to bolster cooperation between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Addressing the Asean-India Summit in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Modi said the two sides have a common interest in amplifying the voices of the Global South and ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific. India is determined to work together with all Asean members to achieve these goals, he said.
The 12-point plan unveiled by Modi for strengthening Asean-India cooperation covers areas ranging from connectivity to digital public infrastructure (DPI) and counter-terrorism. It envisages establishing multi-modal connectivity and an economic corridor that links India, Southeast Asia, West Asia and Europe.
Under the plan, India offered to share its DPI expertise with Asean partners and announced an “Asean-India fund for digital future”.
The Indian side further announced the renewal of support to the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia (ERIA).
The Indian side called for collectively raising issues of the Global South at multilateral forums and offered to share the country’s expertise in providing affordable and quality medicines through the Jan-Aushadhi Kendras.
It also called for a collective fight against terrorism, terror financing and cyber disinformation, cooperation in disaster management, and bolstering collaboration in maritime safety and security and domain awareness.
Other measures included in the plan are traditional medicine, India’s Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)
“The 21st century is the century of Asia. This is our century. This requires the creation of a rules-based post-Covid world order, and everyone’s effort for human welfare,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi.
“We all have a common interest in amplifying the voices of the Global South,” he added.
Asean-India cooperation is making steady progress in every field “even in an environment of global uncertainties”, Modi remarked. India and the 10 Asean states are connected by history and geography, shared values, peace, prosperity, and a shared belief in a multipolar world, he said.
“Asean is the central pillar of India’s Act East policy. India fully supports Asean centrality and Asean’s outlook on the Indo-Pacific,” he said.
During the summit, Modi announced India’s decision to open an embassy in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste. Xanana Gusmão, the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, attended the summit as an observer.
Modi is on a brief visit to Jakarta to attend the Asean-India Summit and East Asia Summit, which are being organised back-to-back by host Indonesia at India’s request since New Delhi will host the G20 Summit over the weekend.
Modi is not expected to hold any bilateral meetings in Jakarta.