Your Excellency Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith,
This is my third India-ASEAN Summit. I am delighted to renew close bonds of friendship that we have nurtured with ASEAN over the years. I would also like to thank you for the excellent arrangements and for the warmth of your welcome.
The visit to the beautiful heritage city of Vientiane reminds me of deep historical and cultural links that the city shares with India. I also commend Vietnam for its able leadership of ASEAN-India relations as the Country Coordinator.
Our engagement with ASEAN is not just about a solid base of shared civilizational heritage. It is also driven by our common strategic priorities of securing our societies and bringing peace, stability and prosperity to the region. ASEAN is central to India's 'Act East' Policy. And, our ties are a source of balance and harmony in the region.
The substance of our strategic partnership covers all three major segments of ASEAN activities-security, economic and socio-cultural. And, the ASEAN India Plan of Action for the period 2016-2020 has served us well in fulfilling our objectives. We have already implemented 54 out of 130 activities identified in the Plan of Action.
Enhancing connectivity in all its dimensions- physical, digital, economic, institutional and cultural-is at the heart of India’s strategic partnership with ASEAN. And, readiness to link our economic success, and share development experiences with ASEAN nations, especially the CLMV countries, drives our engagement.
In face of growing traditional and non-traditional challenges, politico-security cooperation is a key emerging pillar of our relationship. Rising export of terror, growing radicalization through ideology of hatred, and spread of extreme violence define the landscape of common security threats to our societies. The threat is local, regional and transnational at the same time. Our partnership with ASEAN seeks to craft a response that relies on coordination, cooperation and sharing of experiences at multiple levels.
Next year will be a historic milestone in our ties. We will celebrate 25 years of our Dialogue Partnership, 15 years of our Summit Level interaction and 5 years of our Strategic Partnership.
The celebrations will be launched at an ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers' Meeting in 2017. We would also host a Commemorative Summit on the theme "Shared Values, Common Destiny.” A host of other events - a Business Summit; CEOs Forum; a car rally and sailing expedition; and cultural festivals are also planned. I look forward to working with all of you to make this commemoration a success.
Thank you very much.