Your Excellency Vivian Balakrishnan, Co-Chair and Foreign Minister of Singapore
Excellencies, Dear Colleagues from ASEAN Member States,
A very good morning to all of you. Welcome to Delhi and to this meeting.
Let me start by conveying my sincere thanks to Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his colleagues from Singapore, our Country Coordinator, for their steadfast support and cooperation in furthering ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership. I also commend Cambodia for their Chairship of ASEAN at a time when global order is facing multiple challenges and stresses.
It is heartening that we are meeting in person for this first ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi. Even so, the Covid pandemic has not fully abated and there is much ground yet to be covered as we walk towards post-pandemic recovery. This path has become even more arduous with geo-political headwinds which we face due to developments in Ukraine and its knock on effects on food and energy security, as well as fertilizer and commodities prices, and logistics and supply chain disruptions.
ASEAN has always stood tall as a beacon of regionalism, multilateralism and globalization. It has successfully carved out a niche for itself in the region and provided the foundation for the evolving strategic and economic architecture in the Indo-Pacific. ASEAN’s role today is perhaps more important than ever before given the geopolitical challenges and uncertainties that the world faces. India fully supports a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN, one whose centrality in the Indo-Pacific is fully recognised. The strong convergence of the AOIP and the IPOI is a testimony to our shared Vision for the region.
ASEAN-India ties, anchored in history and nurtured by common ethos, have withstood the test of time and indeed, grown stronger with each passing decade. Our Sectoral Partnership of 1992 matured into a Summit level Partnership in 2002 and further evolved into a Strategic Partnership in 2012. As we enter the fourth decade of our relationship, our ties too must respond to the world that we confront. A better connected India and ASEAN would be well positioned to promote decentralized globalization and resilient and reliable supply chains that is so needed by the international community.
Under the current global uncertainties, as we review our journey of the last 30 years and chart our path for the coming decades, it is important that we identify a new set of priorities while ensuring the early realization of our ongoing initiatives. I look forward very much to our discussions today on the whole gamut of our collaborative agenda.
Thank You, Mr. Co-Chair and thank you Excellencies and Colleagues.