New Delhi, 17 June 2022 (TDI): The Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting in Commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations was held on Thursday. Singapore and India co-chaired the meeting.

The Foreign Ministers from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, as well as delegates from Lao PDR, the Philippines, and Thailand, attended the meeting. In addition, the ASEAN Secretary-General, Lim Jock Hoi also attended the Dialogue.

The main goals of Covid-19 were discussed, as well as health, trade, commerce, physical and digital connectivity, education, and capacity building.

Parties also discussed the implementation of the ASEAN-India Joint Statement on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

Plan of Action

Due to new trends and developments in the Indo-Pacific region, they decided to look into how their respective Indo-Pacific plans in maritime security, connectivity, and the Blue Economy could work together.

The parties agreed on using the ASEAN-led channels that are already in place, to strengthen and expand the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership so that both sides can benefit in all areas of political, security, economic, social, cultural, and development cooperation.

Additionally, the continuation to advance the successful execution of the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress, and Shared Prosperity Plan of Action (2021–2025) was also discussed.

Also, to implement the ASEAN-India Joint Statement on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific AOIP for Regional Peace, Stability, and Prosperity.

Similarly, India’s Track 1.5 Dialogue on Cyber Problems with ASEAN, which has been ongoing since 2019, the meeting resolved to deepen ASEAN-India collaboration on cyber and related issues through the planned G-2-G ASEAN-India Cyber Dialogue.

Besides, to strengthen defense cooperation through the ADMM-Plus (ASEAN’s top defense consultative and cooperative framework), and to welcome the proposed ASEAN-India Defense Ministers Informal Meeting in November 2022, as well as the proposed ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise, came under deliberation.

Meeting’s Strategic Purpose

Not long ago, Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia announced a friendship with “no bounds” and a 5,000-word manifesto for a new world order in early February.

In fact, Xi has increased his support for Russia. The two countries performed their first combined military training since the invasion of Ukraine late last month.

In the same way, they opened a new cross-border bridge in the Russian Far East this month in the hopes of increasing bilateral trade.

Changes like these are worrying for countries like the ASEAN states that depend a lot on trade and regional stability.

“The sharpening superpower rivalry between the US and China has direct implications for all of us,” said Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Foreign Minister.

The more logical role for India to play would be to swiftly expand trade links. Moreover, ASEAN will have to decide whether New Delhi can fulfill the economic and security roles that it requires.