India, ASEAN countries call for peace and stability in South China sea and ensure freedom of navigation and overflight
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ten ASEAN countries have affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, safety and security in the South China Sea and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight. An official statement issued at the end of the 18th India-ASEAN Summit said that both sides noted the importance of promoting a rules-based order in the region including through upholding adherence to international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The discussions between the two sides covered all regional and international issues of common interest and concern, including terrorism. The two sides announced their decision to celebrate 2022 as ”India-ASEAN Friendship Year” to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their partnership.
Addressing the Summit, Prime Minister Modi emphasized that the unity and centrality of ASEAN has always been an important priority for India. Mr Modi asserted that the special role of ASEAN is embedded in India’s Act East Policy and Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
Mr Modi said, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people faced a lot of challenges. He said, this challenging time was also a test of India-ASEAN friendship. The Prime Minister said, India-ASEAN relations withstood the test of time during the COVID period.
Mr Modi highlighted India’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic in the region. He also reiterated support for ASEAN’s initiatives in this regard. India has contributed medical supplies worth 2 lakh dollars to ASEAN’s humanitarian initiative for Myanmar and 1 million dollars for ASEAN’s Covid-19 Response Fund.