India contributes 1 million USD to Covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund
On November 12, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cochaired India-ASEAN summit along with the Vietnamese Prime Minister Ngyuyen Xuan Phuc. ASEAN is Association of South East Asian Nations. During the summit, PM annoucned that India is to contribute 1 million USD to COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund.
The summit reviewed the status of India-ASEAN strategic partnership. It focused on key areas such as maritime cooperation, connectivity, trade and commerce, capacity building and education. ASEAN is considered as an influential grouping as the ASEAN region has high potential for upcoming markets. The region is expected to grow at an average of 5.2% by 2022. It is to become the world largest single market by 2030. Therefore, India, China, Japan and Australia are competing with each other to grab their place in the market.
The ASEAN summit is being held amid China’s aggressive behaviour in the South China sea.
During the summit, India and ASEAN adopted “ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2021-2025)”. The ten members of ASEAN include Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar.
Why is ASEAN important to India?
India is to develop the North East Region by building its trade and connectivity with the ASEAN countries through air, land and water. This is the prime focus of Act East Policy of India. In order to improve its trade with ASEAN, India has increased its linkages with countries such as Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. India has signed an agreement to build 1,400 km trilateral highway that will connect India, Myanmar and Thailand. The Kaladan Multimodal Transport Project is under implementation. The project will link Sittwe port with the state of Mizoram. There are plans to connect New Delhi and Hanoi in Vietnam.
ASEAN is the fourth largest trading partner of India. India’s overall trade with ASEAN stands at 10.6% of overall trade of the country.