PM Yingluck backs upgrade of ASEAN-India ties to strategic partnership


NEW DELHI, Dec 21 — Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday expressed Thai government support for upgrading ASEAN-India ties to a strategic partnership level.     

Ms Yingluck, attending the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi, said building and expanding linkages are important keys to the partnership between the two sides as sea, air and land networks will eventually increase trade and investment.

India hosted the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi on December 20 and 21 to mark the 20th anniversary of the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership and the 10th anniversary of the ASEAN-India Summit-level partnership. The theme of the summit is ‘ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace and Shared Prosperity’.

India-ASEAN trade has grown more than ten times in the ten years since the annual summits began.

After implementation of the FTA for goods, trade grew by 41 per cent in India’s 2011-2012 fiscal year. Two-way flows in investment have also grown rapidly to reach US$43 billion over the past decade.

“The ASEAN leaders highly valued the effective cooperation that India has made with the grouping in strengthening regional connectivity and linkage and building an ASEAN Community,” she said.

Ms Yingluck said India’s “Look East” Policy and ASEAN’s “Look West” policy were matching connectivity to mutual benefit.

During the summit, the leaders adopted a Declaration of Vision to lift bilateral ties to a strategic partnership level. The document defines major directions for the development of the ASEAN-India relations and the effective and full implementation of their cooperation in various fields ranging from politics, security to culture, society and development cooperation.

The two sides affirmed their determination to fulfill the goal of $100 billion in two-way trade by 2015, and decided to sign the agreements on trade, services and investment on an early date.

They also reached a high level of consensus on active participation in the negotiations on agreements on trade, services and investment, paving the way to establish a comprehensive ASEAN-India Free Trade Area and creating favourable conditions for the two sides and partners to negotiate the Regional Partnership (RCEP), fostering linkages in the fields of air, sea and land transport, digital technology, and the building of a Mekong-India Economic Corridor.

The two sides also agreed to cooperate in developing small- and medium-sized enterprises, human resources development, and in coping with challenges in climate change, food and energy security, urbanisation, natural disaster management and fighting the drug trade.