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India-ASEAN conclave: Foreign ministers agree on unified response to global issues

India News

As External Affairs minister S Jaishankar flagged the “geopolitical headwinds” triggered by the Ukraine crisis and its knock-on effects on food, energy security, prices of fertilisers and commodities as well as logistics and supply chains, foreign ministers of India and ASEAN countries on Thursday agreed to uphold multilateralism in jointly responding to the regional and global challenges.

With Myanmar not participating in the India-ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting, the joint statement issued after the meeting did not mention the situation in the country.

In a statement obliquely referring to China’s assertiveness in the region, the statement said that they reaffirmed the “commitment to multilateralism founded on the principles of the international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other relevant UN treaties and conventions, maintain an open and inclusive regional cooperation framework, support ASEAN Centrality in the evolving rules-based regional architecture, uphold multilateralism in jointly responding to regional and global challenges”.

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Jaishankar said that India fully supports a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN with a central role in the Indo-Pacific and both sides should identify a new set of priorities while navigating the “arduous path” arising from developments in Ukraine.


Ties with region’s key grouping

ASEAN, a 10-nation grouping, is considered one of the most influential groupings in Southeast Asia. India and several other countries, including the US, China, Japan and Australia, are its dialogue partners. The ASEAN-India dialogue relations started with the establishment of a sectoral partnership in 1992. This graduated to full dialogue partnership in December 1995 and summit-level partnership in 2002.

India is hosting the two-day conclave to mark the 30th anniversary of its relations with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar.

Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, saying such actions if unchecked can threaten the “whole system of peace and stability which we have depended on for the basis of our growth, development and prosperity over many decades”.

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