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Opening Remarks by Minister of State for External Affairs at the 13th ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur (5 August 2015)

August 06, 2015

Your Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah;

Your Excellency Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of VietNam;

Your Excellency Mr. Hor Narmhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Cambodia;

Your Excellency General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand;

Your Excellency Ms. Retno L.P. Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia;

Your Excellency Mr. Le Luong Minh, Secretary General of ASEAN/ Ambassador V. P. Hirubalan, Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for Political Security Community;

Distinguished Leaders of Delegations from Lao PDR, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • It is a privilege to be amongst our ASEAN friends today. I would like to, at the outset, convey my appreciation to our hosts, Malaysia, for the very warm welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation, as well as for the excellent arrangements made for our meetings.
  • I would also like to express my gratitude to Brunei Darussalam for their very able stewardship as Country Coordinator for India over the past three years. We have made significant strides in taking our strategic partnership to new heights during this period. As the baton passes on to Viet Nam after today’s meeting, we look forward to working closely with our Vietnamese colleagues to build upon the progress achieved in the past years and realise the full potential of our partnership in bringing greater peace, progress and prosperity to our people.
  • The year 2015 is a crucial milestone for ASEAN. The ASEAN Summit in November will see the coming together of ASEAN as a close-knit ASEAN Economic Community and the enunciation of ASEAN’s collective vision for the next decade. India fully supports the eight-point vision that Prime Minister Dato' Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Abdul Razak has set out for ASEAN to achieve during Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in this landmark year.
  • This year also has special significance for the ASEAN-India strategic partnership. We set up our independent Mission to ASEAN in March, which, I believe, will help bring more focus, synergy and momentum to our engagement with ASEAN and towards furthering our 'Act East Policy'.
  • We will also be endorsing today the new Plan of Action (POA) for the period 2016-2020 that has been finalised by our officials, after thorough deliberations, to give shape to the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and shared Prosperity. We look forward to adoption of the POA by our Leaders at the 13th ASEAN-India Summit in November 2015.
  • I am glad that the new Plan of Action is both ambitious and aspirational, while being pragmatic and reflective of our shared desire to substantially expand our collaborative agenda into newer areas. It will build upon the Plan of Action for the period 2010-15, under which, I am happy to note, we have been able to implement a large number of mutually beneficial initiatives.
  • These documents, along with the Vision Document adopted by our Leaders at the 2012 Commemorative Summit in New Delhi and the Report and Recommendations of the ASEAN-India Eminent Persons’ Working Group, will provide direction and inspiration to our functional cooperation over the next five years.
  • I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can further our collaborative agenda. The ASEAN-India partnership has come a long way since 1992 and the journey ahead holds significant promise and potential. With our collective will, determination, and sincere endeavour, I have no doubt that we can achieve far greater heights and impart a genuinely strategic dimension to our relationship.

Thank You.