Nay Pyi Taw: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that India's relations with the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are very good and the two sides can be great partners.
“ASEAN and India have the vigour and enthusiasm of their youth and wisdom and understanding of their ancient civilisations,” Modi said addressing the 25th ASEAN Summit in this capital of Myanmar.
“Rapidly developing India and ASEAN can be great partners for each other. We are both keen to enhance our cooperation in advancing balance, peace and stability in the region,” he said.
Stating that his government has been in office for six months, Modi said that India has rapidly enhanced its engagement with the east, “a reflection of the priority that we give to this region”.
“We have close bilateral relations with each of you and we treat the relations with ASEAN with the same importance,” the prime minister said.
Stating that the 10-nation bloc has established its own identity and voice in global political and economic affairs, he said that the Asia-Pacific region needed integration and cooperation.
“To achieve this extremely important goal, we look at ASEAN, not only for inspiration but also for its leadership; and you have achieved a great deal of success in leading us in that direction,” Modi said.
Describing the ASEAN community as India's neighbour, he said both sides have relations of trade, religion, culture, art and traditions that go back a long way.
Stating that the world view of the two sides is similar in many respects, Modi said: “We have no irritants in our relationship. We see encouraging opportunities and challenges in the world in similar ways.”
The prime minister highlighted New Delhi's Look East Policy while remarking that the potential of India-ASEAN ties is much higher than what it is at the moment.
“A new era of economic development, industrialisation and trade has begun in India. Externally, India's 'Look East Policy' has become 'Act East Policy',” the prime minister said.
“We greatly respect the enthusiasm with which you have extended the hand of friendship to India. Today the world and the region need a strong India-ASEAN partnership.”
Modi's speech was interrupted for some minutes due to a technical glitch.
The prime minister asked the organisers, holding the mike, "Audio problem?"
He then resumed his speech.