'ASEAN must fight India's rising influence'
Malaysia's Dy PM Najib Razak has said ASEAN shouldn't feel threatened by India and China.india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 15:06 IST
Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak has said that Southeast Asian countries must transform themselves to combat the rising economic influence of China and India in the region, a local newspaper reported.
Razak said that the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations must "work harder" at structural reforms "to make the 21st century the ASEAN century," said the New Straits Times.
He said that the group shouldn't feel threatened by India and China, the fastest growing economies in Asia, because of ASEAN's enormous market size and its growing influence.
ASEAN countries - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - represent more than 548 million people.
"India, for instance, may be bigger than ASEAN put together in terms of population," Najib was quoted as saying. "But our purchasing power is still higher. The per capita income of the people of ASEAN is far greater than that of India."
Najib has also warned of the disparities between ASEAN member nations and the need to help less developed countries catch up with the more developed ones.