ASEAN, India boost strategic partnership in new period

16:08 | 05/09/2014 Cooperation

(VEN) - In the current global context, the interests of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India are coinciding. The next five to ten years will be an important time for relations between the two parties, particularly after the ASEAN becomes a full community and India becomes a global power, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh said at the opening session of the third Round Table on ASEAN- India Network of Think-Tanks (AINTT) held from August 25-26 in Hanoi.

The Look-East policy creates impetus for development

Relations between ASEAN and India have developed rapidly in the last two decades, from sectoral to comprehensive dialogue relations and strategic partnership in 2012. In addition, India’s Look-East policy which was initiated in 1991 has promoted relations between India and ASEAN countries, and these relations have brought about good economic outcomes.

The two parties concluded a framework agreement on comprehensive economic cooperation in October 2003 and an Agreement on Trade in Goods (TIG) in August 2009 contributing to creating a favorable environment for bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation. The TIG took effect in 2010 and then the two parties completed their negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) on services and investment, a drive towards official conclusion of the agreement.

As a result, ASEAN and India have achieved remarkable results in economic and trade exchange. Two-way trade increased by 4.6 percent from more than US$68 billion in 2011 to almost US$72 billion in 2012 and US$74 billion in 2013. Of this, ASEAN sold US$41 billion worth of goods to India and bought US$33 billion worth of goods from this market. On this growth momentum, the two parties will try to increase bilateral trade revenues to US$100 billion by 2015 and US$200 billion by 2020.

Economic foundation for strategic partnership

Pham Binh Minh said that the ASEAN-India partnership was upgraded at the right time and in compliance with the process of globalization and integration for sustainable development.

International integration is becoming wider and deeper through a series of FTAs and major alliances. Both ASEAN and India want a peaceful and stable area as both of them are driving towards a new development period and are accelerating their pace of economic reforms for sustainable development. “Both parties are facing opportunities to build a stronger strategic partnership in the 21st century,” said Pham Binh Minh.

He also said that both sides needed to enhance cooperation to cope with common challenges which are firstly associated with maritime security and safety, anti-terrorism and network security. He asked the two parties to continue support and closely tie with each other at international forums like the United Nations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said that the economy would provide a foundation for the strategic partnership. Accordingly, the two parties will continue implementing the ASEAN-India Action Plan for 2010-2015, particularly cooperation in information technology, space, science and technology, and agriculture. Food security and energy are among top priorities for India and ASEAN.

Leaders of the two parties agreed to further their efforts to boost economic and trade alliance in the near future to provide a basis for the strategic partnership. This will play a decisive role in maintaining an Asia-Pacific region as an engine for global growth on the basis of effectively implementing their commitments within the ASEAN-India FTA and promoting negotiations on a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP)./.

By Nguyen Huong