Terming the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region as an integral part of India”s Act East Policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India is keen to strengthen partnership in the fields of maritime security, blue economy and humanitarian aid and proposed $1 billion Line of Credit (LoC) for boosting physical and digital connectivity with the 10-bloc economically rising Southeast Asian region.
Addressing the India-ASEAN Summit, Modi said the Association of South East Asian Nations is an “integral part of our Act East Policy and will always remain. An integrated, united and progressive ASEAN is in the interest of India.”
He also welcomed the Indo-Pacific outlook between India and the ASEAN and said that India”s Act East Policy is a key part of the Indo-Pacific vision.
He said India is keen to increase surface, maritime, air connectivity and digital links with the ASEAN.
“For physical and digital links $1 billion LoC is available. Our intent is to boost innovation, research, tourism, trade and people-to-people links between the two sides,” Modi said.
“And to achieve this objective, India is ready to increase its partnership with ASEAN countries,” he added.
He said by implementing the decisions taken at the India-ASEAN Commemorative summit and the informal summit in Singapore, has helped bring more depth to the relations.
He proposed increasing cooperation in the fields of agriculture, ICT, science, research, and engineering. He also said the ASEAN-India FTA had helped increase the ties and make the trade more balanced.
Modi is in Bangkok to attend ASEAN-related summits.
ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. The grouping is the seventh largest economy in the world and is expected to become the fourth largest by 2030.
The ASEAN-India FTA signed in 2009 has trebled trade between the two sides, taking it to $81 billion in 2018. ASEAN members are India”s fourth largest trading partner.
The two sides have set a $200 billion trade target by 2022.