ALSO READIndia-Asean summit: Modi, leaders to discuss naval drill & key developments Modi in Manila for ASEAN Summit: Bilateral trade, investment top agenda Busy time ahead for Modi Identify new areas of nurturing India, Asean relations Asean leaders at Republic Day 2018: India's stakes high as RCEP hangs fire
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India shared the Asean’s vision for rule-based societies, peace and freedom of navigation in the region. Ten leaders of the Asean, who are chief guests at the Republic Day celebrations, and Modi discussed ways to boost maritime security, connectivity and trade. While, some of the Asean members have maritime disputes with China in East and South China seas, India has land border dispute with its northern neighbour. China, however, downplayed India’s hosting of Asean leaders on the occasion of its 69th Republic Day. China, however, criticised Indian media reports that inviting Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders was aimed at countering its influence. “We hope all countries can work together for peace, stability and development of the region,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Beijing. “I want to say that on the Indian side, India media is not very confident and they do not trust us,” she said. Addressing the plenary session of the India-Asean Commemorative Summit, the PM stressed on maritime cooperation.
During bilateral meetings with the Asean leaders, Modi told them that he invited them as the Asean was at the “fulcrum” of India’s ‘Act East policy’, and their presence in New Delhi underscored the importance they attached to India-Asean relations. Modi termed their presence as “historic and unprecedented”.The PM also spoke with them about importance of the Asean in the regional security architecture. The India-Asean summit comes at a time when the countries in the region, including non-Asean members like Japan, have concerns over increasing Chinese economic and military assertiveness. The 10 Asean leaders who are in New Delhi are Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Malaysian Prime Minister Nazib Razak, Brunei Darussalam's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind hosted a lunch in honour of the Asean leaders, who along with Modi, also participated in a retreat session during which the leaders had a “free and frank” discussion on “maritime cooperation and security”.