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In 2-day Bangkok visit, S Jaishankar holds meetings with 18 foreign ministers; discusses Indo-Pacific, Act East policy

External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar at ASEAN summit in Bangkok, Thailand. (Image courtesy: Ministry of External Affairs) Photograph:( Others )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 02, 2019, 09.23 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal Edited By: Shivani Kumar

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Friday wrapped up his two-day visit to Thailand, during which he had 18 bilateral, four multilateral meetings. He also had five pull-aside meetings.

The focus during his bilateral and multilateral meetings was on Indo-Pacific, terrorism and India's Act East policy. 

The four big meetings in which Jaishankar took part includes, ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting, the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (EAS FMM), 26th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and 10th Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Ministerial Meeting. 

At the meetings, Jaishankar called for a "collective action to secure the Indo-Pacific, where terrorism remains a common scourge" while underlining "ASEAN centrality in free, open and inclusive regional architecture." 

The focus on Indo-Pacific in Bangkok meet got more steam this year as ASEAN released its outlook on the evolving concept which China views suspiciously earlier this year.

At the ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting, Jaishankar said, India seeks "greater connectedness with the ASEAN region," envisions "connectivity in very broad terms, including physical, economic, political connectivity and close contact at the people-to-people level." 

While his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remained much talked about which came in the backdrop of American President Donald Trump's recent remarks on Kashmir. Jaishankar also met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, the new British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. He also met his Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi counterpart, Tilak Marapana and Dr AK Abdul Momen. 

The meeting between Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart ahead of his China visit on August 12, is being seen as preparatory the second India-China informal summit. The summit is set to take place by the end of this year.