HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday afternoon consented to attend the 12th Asean-India Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
The summit was attended by Heads of State and Government of Asean and Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of the Republic of India.
During the summit, U Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and Chairman of the 25th Asean Summit and Related Summits, invited His Majesty as the Country Coordinator for Asean-India Relations to deliver his titah.
His Majesty congratulated the Indian Prime Minister on his election and valued India’s ‘Look East Policy’ over the past 20 years.
His Majesty further stated that Asean is committed to enhancing strategic relations, with India’s continued support for Asean’s leading role in the regional architecture as well as Asean Community Building.
According to His Majesty, Asean and India have seen good progress in relations. Economic cooperation continued to be an important aspect of Asean-India relations.
Asean welcomed the recent signing of the Asean-India Trade in Services and Investment Agreements, which completes the Asean-India Free Trade Area and further increases Asean-India economic linkages.
In order to enhance connectivity, His Majesty said Asean and India must continue to build on the cooperation to further benefit from geographical proximity. The Trilateral Highway Project involving India and four other Asean member states is one of the current projects Asean and India are working on.
On building friendship and close linkages between the people of both regions, His Majesty said the Delhi Dialogue has seen six years of success as one of the premier forums between Asean and India for discussions on regional and international issues of mutual importance.
Additionally, the Asean-India Centre launched last year could support the work of their officials by not only promoting Asean-India relations, but also by providing insight and analyses, particularly on political-security issues of strategic importance.
His Majesty added that looking to the future, there is great potential to further implement Asean-India strategic partnership, as laid out in the Vision Statement.
His Majesty expressed his confidence that Asean and India will surpass the targeted trade volume of US$100 billion by 2015. In light of this, Asean and India should perhaps consider setting ambitious trade targets beyond 2015. Moving forward, Asean and India should continue the strengthening of their Free Trade Area, which would further complement efforts in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and therefore, Asean looks forward to working with India in moving this process.
To maximise the potential in their trade relations as well as people-to-people ties, His Majesty suggested Asean and India should further strengthen connectivity. Asean and India should look into revitalising the old maritime trade routes between the Southeast Asian region and India, as well as intensify work on aviation connectivity.
His Majesty further added that one area under the socio-cultural pillar where Asean and India could further strengthen their cooperation would be disaster management. Both regions are prone to natural disasters and the sharing of best practices and experiences would improve regional preparedness and reduce vulnerabilities and further ensure the safety and well-being of the people in Asean and India.
His Majesty believed that strengthening Asean-India political security cooperation would also bring balance to the strategic partnership, particularly with the increased threat of terrorism. Maintaining global and regional peace and security would be of utmost importance. Asean and India should therefore deepen the work together under the Joint Declaration to combat international terrorism, and at the same time, work together on other areas of common concern such as cybercrime, trafficking in persons and maritime security.
His Majesty emphasised that the new Plan of Action would be the overarching platform to launch a broader range of their cooperation, building upon the many achievements, and guided by the Asean-India Vision Statement.
His Majesty looked forward to seeing the Plan of Action chart future cooperation beyond 2015.
In concluding his titah, His Majesty assured PM Modi of Brunei Darussalam’s commitment, as country coordinator in carrying out the endeavor and in strengthening Asean-India strategic ties and friendship.
The Heads of State and Government of Asean and PM Modi also discussed matters related to the future direction of the relationships and cooperation between the Asean member states and India at the bilateral or multilateral level, while reviewing the implemented and future cooperation between relevant countries.