India looking to host ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, India Updated: Feb 27, 2022, 09:55 PM(IST)

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Cambodia's Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Laos's Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith and ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi porst for group photo as they attend the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Photograph:( Reuters )

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The meeting comes even as India and Asean are looking to review free trade agreements in goods so that Indian goods get more market access

India is looking to host an Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) grouping foreign minister (FMs) meet later this year. This year marks 30 years since India began its engagement with ASEAN. India first became a "sectoral dialogue partner" of the 10-country grouping in 1992.

This was elevated to a full dialogue partnership in December 1995. The relationship was further elevated with the convening of the ASEAN-India Summit in 2002 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Since then, the ASEAN-India Summit has been held annually.

The meeting comes even as India and Asean are looking to review free trade agreements in goods so that Indian goods get more market access. Recently the second ASEAN India digital ministerial meet virtually. India, of course, has many times reaffirmed the "Asean centrality" when it comes to its vision for the Indo Pacific.

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At the Opening Session of the EU Ministerial Forum on Indo-Pacific in Paris last week, External Affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar said, "EU’s strategy is consistent with India’s vision of a free, open, balanced and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, anchored in ASEAN centrality, as outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Singapore in 2018."

Engagement continues in several areas, from defence to covid crisis to culture. Amid the covid crisis, India contributed $1 million to Covid's ASEAN response fund. Last week several projects were inaugurated on India and ASEAN Buddhist linkages.

These included Buddhist Jataka Tales translated into Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese languages. The digital exhibition titled " Bodhicitta: Interweaving Buddhist Art Traditions from India Across Asia” curated by National Museum was displayed as well at the event.

Cambodia is the chair of the ASEAN grouping this year and will be holding the ASEAN summit and summits with partners like India. This is the 3rd time Cambodia is the chair of the ASEAN.

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