NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj, will undertake her first visit of the year 2018 to three South East Asian countries - Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore - from 4-8 January.
The visit is aimed at giving further boost to bilateral relations the South East Asian countries within the framework of India's Act East Policy.
"On the first leg of this visit, EAM Swaraj will be in Thailand on 4-5 January. She will hold an official meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Don Pramudwinai, who will also host a dinner in honour of EAM," the MEA said in a statement.
While in Thailand, Swaraj is expected to discuss bilateral relations, with particular focus on political, defence and economic ties and on further enhancing India's engagement with the ASEAN countries.
Thailand will assume the role of coordinator country for India-ASEAN relations later this year.
During the visit to Indonesia on 5-6 January, EAM Swaraj will co-chair the 5th meeting of India-Indonesia Joint Commission with her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, who will also host a banquet in the EAM's honour.
The two ministers will also inaugurate the second meeting of ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks.
As the biggest country in the ASEAN region with the largest economy, Indonesia is an important partner for India, including in trade and strategic matters. In recent times, there has been intensive engagement between the two countries bilaterally, as well as plurilaterally.
The Joint Commission meeting and other engagements of EAM will enable the two countries to chart out the course of partnership during the year 2018.
During the last leg of her trip, Swaraj will inaugurate the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) of ASEAN countries on January 7 in Singapore.
The theme of the event is "Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic ASEAN-India Partnership". She will have bilateral meetings with the leaders in Singapore and also interactions with the PIO delegations from ASEAN countries, who are participating in the PBD.
During her trip, the EAM will also share with her interlocutors the relevant information about the forthcoming ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, which marks 25 years since the establishment of Dialogue Partnership between Indian and ASEAN.