1/7/2018 3:53:51 PM
|written By : Team India Se|
As India commemorates 25 years of Asean-Indian partnership by hosting leaders of the 10 South-east Asian countries at its Republic Day celebrations, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said that this partnership is crucial for the success of Asia.
Addressing the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations here in Singapore, she said the whole of the South-East Asia is on the rise in partnership with each other and the “Asean region is integral to Asia’s success and to a possibility of an Asian century.”
She said that while she has always been intrigued by the interconnected histories and interlinked future of India and Asean, Swaraj highlighted the potential in this partnership.
While the trade agreement between India and ASEAN nations as the most “ambitious” one, she added that North-east India would be an important link between the two. “Our North-east region will prosper when it is better connected to south-east Asia and when North-east becomes our pitch to South-East Asia, we will be closer to realising our hopes for India and Asean ties,” she said.
The trilateral highway project connecting India to Thailand is one such effort. There are plans to extend this to other Asean countries.
“Today 16 Indian cities are connected to Singapore, a trilateral highway project from India to Thailand is making progress and we plan to extend this further to connect India with other Asean countries,” Swaraj said here.
Both India and the Asean face common challenges and there his need to tackle them. These include creating skills for the digital age, generating jobs in the age of disruption, meeting the need of rapid urbanisation, protecting the bio-diversity, making the energy sources cleaner and pulling together the knowledge for productive agriculture
Talking about Singapore which is a financial centre where more than 6000 Indian companies are registered, Swaraj said, “Singapore has also been a political, economic and intellectual bridge between India and Asean. It is now one of the major strategic partners in the gateway to the East. Not just Singapore, but the whole Asean in is on the rise, in partnership with each other and rest of the world." she added.
Earlier delivering his welcome address, India’s High Commissioner to Singapore, HE Jawed Ashraf said, “Singapore is the window to heritage of the timeless ties between India and South-east Asia. The PBD’s theme, ‘Ancient Route, New Journey’ is a motif for our connected histories, common destiny and collected endeavours. This (PBD) is different. As our External Affairs Minister said it should also be a platform for advanced Asean India ties and invest the huge wealth of the diaspora’s talent for the benefit of India and Asean.”