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Day-1 of S Jaishankar in Thailand: Focus on Act East, Indo-Pacific and meeting 10 foreign ministers

ASEAN-India Photograph:( WION )

WION New Delhi Aug 01, 2019, 11.07 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Day one of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's Thailand visit saw a focus on Act East policy, Indo Pacific concept and meeting 10 of his counterparts. EAM is who is on 2-day visit to Bangkok speaking at the ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting called the grouping a " critical element of India's act east policy and strategy" and that "acting east is also implementing our Indo Pacific outlook and its the logical extrapolation."

India's 'act east' policy that evolved from the "look east" policy call for greater engagement with ASEAN countries. 

Talking about connectivity with ASEAN, EAM said, "India seeks greater connectedness with the ASEAN region. We envision connectivity with the region in very broad terms including physical, economic and political connectivity and close contact at people to people level."

Adding, "The historic, cultural, economic political that have existed between India and ASEAN region are the stepping stones to achieve the vision of a more connected India and ASEAN region and a closer partnership."

The ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting which was co-chaired by EAM and Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai also reviewed progress on implementation of decisions between ASEAN and India during the 25th Anniversary ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit held in New Delhi on 25 January 2018. 

The Indo-pacific concept is expected to dominate conversations in Bangkok as Delhi and Washington are both keen on it and ASEAN has also issued its outlook on it.

"I was heartened to see ASEAN recently released its outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which also supports sovereignty, transparency, good governance, a rules-based order, among many other things" US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said during his opening remarks at U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial in Thailand on Thursday.

Prime Minister Modi had spoken about India's vision Indo-pacific concept last year at Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore and this year in Maldivian parliament and said New Delhi is vision is an inclusive one. 

EAM also participated in 10th Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Ministerial Meeting and met 10 of he counterparts on the sidelines of the Asean plus gathering. These were Thai FM Don Pramudwinai, New Zealand FM Winston Peters, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy  Federica Mogherini, Japan FM Taro Kono, Filipino Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, Indonesian FM Retno Marsudi, British FS Dominic Raab, Singapore's FM Vivian Balakrishnan,  Foreign Minister of Australia Marise Payne and Chinese FM Wang Yi. 

EAM goes to China later this month for a preparatory visit for the 2nd India China informal summit that will happen by the end of this year. 

On day 2 of his visit, Jaishankar will be participating at the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (EAS FMM) & 26th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).