India to host Asean foreign ministers’ 2-day special meeting, starts June 16

Published on Jun 09, 2022 09:45 PM IST

The special meeting of the foreign ministers of India and the Asean states will be the first such event to be hosted by New Delhi, and will be preceded by the Asean-India senior officials meeting on June 15.

The external affiars ministry said Asean is central to India’s Act East policy and its vision for the wider Indo-Pacific (HT File Photo)
The external affiars ministry said Asean is central to India’s Act East policy and its vision for the wider Indo-Pacific (HT File Photo)

NEW DELHI: India will host a special meeting with foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in New Delhi during June 16-17 to mark the 30th anniversary of relations with the 10-member grouping and to discuss ways to boost cooperation in future

The meeting, which will also mark the 10th anniversary of India’s strategic partnership with Asean, will be co-chaired by external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan. The year 2022 has been designated as the Asean-India friendship year.

With regard to the participation of Myanmar in the upcoming event, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the meeting will be held according to the “Asean format”. He added that Myanmar’s participation “will be as per the Asean consensus in this regard”.

Since the military coup in Myanmar last year, Asean has pushed for the restoration of democracy and an end to the crackdown on political leaders and activists. As part of this approach, Asean has come up with a format whereby Myanmar can have only non-political representation in meetings and events of the grouping.

People familiar with the matter said Myanmar’s permanent secretary for foreign affairs, Chan Aye, has been invited to represent the country at both a senior officials’ meeting and the foreign ministers’ meeting.

Three members of Asean - the Philippines, Laos and Thailand - are not expected to be represented by their foreign ministers, the people said. These countries will send junior ministers or senior officials for the meeting. The Asean secretary-general will also participate in the meeting.

Asean-India dialogue relations began with the establishment of a sectoral partnership in 1992, which graduated to a full dialogue partnership in December 1995, a summit-level partnership in 2002, and a strategic partnership in 2012.

“Asean is central to India’s Act East policy and its vision for the wider Indo-Pacific. This multi-faceted partnership encompasses many sectoral dialogue mechanisms and working groups that meet regularly at various levels and include annual summit, ministerial and senior officials’ meetings,” the external affairs ministry said.

India-Asean collaboration is guided by the plan of action for 2021-2025 adopted two years ago.

This special meeting of the foreign ministers of India and the Asean states will be the first such event to be hosted by New Delhi. It will be preceded by the Asean-India senior officials meeting on June 15.

The meetings will coincide with the Delhi Dialogue, a premier track 1.5 dialogue, which will be hosted by India during June 16-17. The theme of this year’s dialogue is “Building Bridges in the Indo-Pacific” and the ministerial session will be attended by Jaishankar and Asean ministers.

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