The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Thursday complimented the progress in the recently-concluded ASEAN summit, and lauded the cooperation and integration in forging the broader regional cooperation and integration.
“I have said on many occasions that our engagement with ASEAN remains the cornerstone of our ‘Look East’ Policy. We admire the progress in ASEAN cooperation and integration, and ASEAN leadership in forging broader regional cooperation and integration. We firmly believe that ASEAN centrality in that process is important for the evolution of a cooperative, rule-based open and inclusive regional architecture,” Dr. Singh said in an interview to an Indonesian newspaper, Kompas.
Singh complimented Indonesia’s leadership role in ASEAN and ASEAN-centric processes. “We have elevated our relationship to the level of a strategic partnership during the Commemorative Summit we held in New Delhi in December last year. Our engagement with ASEAN covers the full spectrum of political, security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation,” he said.
Singh also said that he looked forward to a blooming relationship between India and ASEAN, and mentioned steps that the country would take to bring itself closer to the international community. “We are actively engaged in connectivity initiatives - both physical and institutional - to bring India and the ASEAN closer, including through our initiative to build the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and our support to the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity,” he said. Manmohan Singh left for Indonesia from Brunei earlier, where he will be accompanied by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.
In his departure statement, Singh said: “My visits to Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia will further intensify our engagement to our East, which has been at the forefront of our foreign policy, and contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia Pacific.”