While speaking at the ASEAN-India Summit held in Indonesia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended India’s full support for ASEAN centrality, which advocates that the bilateral body should be the primary forum for dialogue and cooperation among Southeast Asian countries.
He also stated that ASEAN is a “central pillar of India’s ‘Act East’ policy” and emphasised that the group has “a key role in India’s Indo-Pacific strategy”.
PM Modi’s remarks seemed to be aimed at China’s warning against a ‘new Cold War’ in ASEAN a day back. .
At the summit PM Modi stated that “India and ASEAN are connected by history and geography.”
“We also share common values, such as democracy, secularism, and respect for human rights. We are both committed to regional unity, peace, and prosperity, and we both believe in a multipolar world,” he added.
PM Modi declaration of full support for the ASEAN assumes strategic importance as concern about China’s increasingly assertive activity in the South China Sea, a vital trade route where several ASEAN members have claims that conflict with China, was high on the Jakarta summit agenda.
On Wednesday, addressing the summit, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said it is important to avoid a “new Cold War” when dealing with conflicts between countries.