India, ASEAN hold summit in wake of China aggression in Indo-Pacific region

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

With an eye on China, India and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) has underlined the principles in the Indo-Pacific region that embraces ASEAN centrality — “openness, transparency, inclusivity, a rules-based framework, good governance, respect for sovereignty, non-intervention, complementarity with existing cooperation frameworks, equality, mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual benefit and respect for international law.”

This was part of the joint statement issued after the India-ASEAN summit, which was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The joint statement called on respect for the UN Charter, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and other relevant UN treaties and conventions.

This is significant in the wake of China’s aggressive postures in the Indo-Pacific region.

ASEAN’s unity and centrality have always been an important priority for India, Modi said on Thursday and announced that 2022 will be celebrated as the “ASEAN-India Friendship Year” to mark 30 years of their partnership.

Addressing the India-ASEAN Summit virtually, he said India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and ASEAN’s Outlook for the Indo-Pacific are the framework for their shared vision and mutual cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

 “History is a witness that India and ASEAN have had vibrant relations for thousands of years. Shades of that are visible in our shared values, traditions, languages, texts, architecture, culture, food. Therefore, the unity and centrality of ASEAN have always been an important priority for India,” he said.

ASEAN was established in August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.