India, ASEAN seeks to boost ties

U.S. to provide India alternatives on security issues

New Delhi: The foreign ministers of India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Thursday discussed ways to respond to the impact of the Ukraine crisis on the regional economy and security and agreed to enhance cooperation in key areas such as trade, connectivity, defense, and cyber security.

This was the first time India hosted a special meeting with foreign ministers of Asean to mark the 30th anniversary of ties with the 10-member grouping. The meeting was co-chaired by external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan. The two-day meeting in New Delhi marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of formal “dialogue partner” relations between India and ASEAN.

Jaishankar said the process of post-pandemic recovery had been complicated by developments in Europe at a time when the Covid-19 crisis has not fully abated. “This path has become even more arduous with geopolitical 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,” he said.

Besides a proposed informal meeting of ASEAN-India defense ministers in November and a proposed Asean-India maritime exercise, the meeting discussed cooperation in countering terrorism and transnational crimes through the early finalization of senior officials meeting on these issues.

Jaishankar said Asean’s role has become more important in view of geopolitical challenges and uncertainties.

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