Modi furthers India’s ‘Look East’ policy on sidelines of ASEAN meet
Modi met Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, President of Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo and Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha on the sidelines of ASEAN – India Summit.

Modi with Japanese premier Abe

Bangkok (NVI): Taking India’s ‘Look East Policy’ forward in a big way, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met several ASEAN leaders here and renewed New Delhi’s pledge to work towards bettering bilateral, cultural, economic and defence ties with South East Asian nations and jointly act against terrorism.

Modi met Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, President of Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison,Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha on the sidelines of ASEAN – India Summit here on November 3.

Meeting with Thailand PM

In his meeting with Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha, Modi discussed ways to expand the cooperation between the two countries.

PM Modi tweeted about his meeting with Prayut Chan-o-cha, saying “had an excellent meeting with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. We talked about ways to expand cooperation between India and Thailand. I also thanked him for the wonderful hospitality of the people as well as Government of Thailand.”

Meeting with Japan PM

In the meeting with Abe, third in the last four months, the two leaders reviewed the progress on Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project and reaffirmed their commitment to advance mutual efforts to facilitate the smooth implementation of the project.

The leaders welcomed that the inaugural 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue will take place later this month in India. They agreed that the Dialogue will help provide impetus to the bilateral security and defence cooperation between the two sides.

The two Prime Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on a rules-based order. They agreed to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation, including in third countries, for achieving the shared objective of peace, prosperity and progress of the Indo-Pacific region.

Meeting with Suu Kyi

In the meeting with Suu Kyi meeting, Modi particularly emphasized that the speedy, safe and sustainable return from Bangladesh of displaced people to their homes in Rakhine State was in the interests of the region, the displaced persons, and all three neighbouring States: India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

With regard to the situation in Rakhine, following the completion of the first Indian project to build 250 prefabricated houses–which were handed over to the Myanmar Government this July–PM expressed India’s readiness to carry out more socio-economic projects in this State.

The two Leaders agreed that a stable and peaceful border was an important anchor for the continued expansion of our partnership. Prime Minister emphasized the value India attaches to Myanmar’s cooperation in ensuring that insurgent groups do not find space to operate across the India-Myanmar border.

He emphasized the priority India attaches to Myanmar as a partner at the crossroads of India’s Look East Policy and the Neighbourhood First policies. Towards this end, he emphasized India’s continuing commitment to improve physical connectivity to and through Myanmar to Southeast Asia, including through building road, port and other infrastructure. India would also continue to strongly support the expansion of capacity for Myanmar’s police, military and civil servants, as well as its students and citizens.

The leaders agreed that people to people connectivity would help expand the base of the partnership, and therefore welcomed the expansion of air connectivity between the two countries, and the growing interest of India’s businesses in Myanmar, including the plans of the Government of India to host a business event for the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) in Yangon at the end of November 2019.

Meeting with Indonesian President

In the meeting with President of Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo,
Modi said India was committed to work with Indonesia to strengthen ties in the areas of defence, security, connectivity, trade and investment and people-to-people exchanges.

Noting that India and Indonesia are close maritime neighbours, both leaders reiterated their commitment to work together for peace, security and prosperity in order to achieve their shared vision on maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. The two leaders discussed the threat of extremism and terrorism and agreed to work closely bilaterally and globally to tackle this menace.

India attaches high priority to its bilateral relationship with Indonesia, with which we share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. This year, India and Indonesia are also commemorating the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations.

Meeting with Australian PM Scott Morrison

In a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, both the leaders had engaging conversation on deepening the friendship between India and Australia.

The two leaders also discussed preparations for a substantive outcome during the Australian Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to India in January 2020.

Meeting with Vietnamese PM

In a meeting with Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, The two leaders reviewed steps to strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Vietnam.

Modi also conveyed best wishes on Vietnam assuming the Chair of ASEAN next year.

-nad