India and ASEAN joint summit to be held in New Delhi summit

Highlights:

  • India and the 10-member ASEAN group’s meet to be held in India’s capital New Delhi on January 25.
  • Both are hoping to strengthen ties with physical connectivity playing a bigger role in linking the regions, and enhancing opportunities for bilateral trade and travel, when they meet in New Delhi.
  • The leaders of the ASEAN will also be strategic issues such as revival of the quadrilateral cooperation among US, Japan and Australia, and deeper security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The forthcoming commemorative summit on the theme is ‘Shared Values, Common Destiny’.
  • The meet will discuss the progress achieved so far in some of the crucial projects, such as the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport corridor and the 3,200-km India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, which have been moving very slowly for more than a decade now.
  • The 3,200 km-long road begins at the India-Myanmar border town of Moreh (in Manipur) and passes through several Myanmarese towns including, Tamu, Kalewa, Yargyi, Monya, Mandalay, Meiktila, Myawaddy and finally reaches Mae Sot in Thailand.
  • The four-lane highway is part of the proposed Asean East-West Corridor.
  • There is also a plan to link this road with the Trans Asian Highway-1 that runs from Japan (via ferry) to Turkey, where it connects the European highway after traversing through the Asian continent.
  • ASEAN wants extension of trilateral highway to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. With the Chinese moving fast, we are nowhere there.
  • The government recently approved an agreement to facilitate border crossing between India and Myanmar.
  • The pact will facilitate regulation and harmonisation of already existing free movement rights for people residing in the border areas of both countries.
  • Also on the agenda would be the Rs 500-crore project development fund announced by India to start investments in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (also known as CLMV countries).
  • The CLMV countries cover 32% of the geographical area of the Asean region and account for about 9% of ASEAN’s GDP.
  • The summit will also seek to address the most contentious part of the relationship, which is bilateral trade between India and Asean.
  • ASEAN is India’s fourth largest trading partner. Bilateral trade between India and Asean reached $70 billion in 2016-17, up from $65 billion in 2015-16.
  • India will be hosting leaders from Asean comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.