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'Powerful convergences' with ASEAN can boost cooperation:India

Press Trust of India  |  Singapore 

said today that its "powerful convergences" with the can boost cooperation and hoped that when the grouping will look West, it will see a "more confident" nation with strong economic prospects.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, while delivering the S T Lee Distinguished Lecture organised by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Indian mission here, said a grouping of 600 million people with an impressive growth record is in itself a priority for


Asserting that countries have a strong stake in the issues that matter for India, Jaishankar said the ability of and the to harmonise global contradictions and create credible meeting points will become even more important.

"and have powerful convergences that can become the basis for a higher level of cooperation," Jaishankar said in his lecture titled 'India, and Changing Geopolitics', marking 25 years of India-relations.

"We would hope that what sees looking West is a more confident nation with strong economic prospects, positive demographics, substantial unmet demands, leapfrogging capabilities, one that is active on global issues, shouldering more responsibilities and is a net security provider in the Indo-Pacific," he said.

The foreign secretary noted that has an engagement with South-East Asia in history going back millennia, adding that commerce, connectivity and culture have been its hallmark.

He stressed that India's contemporary presence is as natural in this region as it has been in the past.

"And perhaps, there can be no better testimony than in Singapore -- connected as it is to 15 Indian cities, hosting six thousand Indian companies and engaging in every conceivable sector," Jaishankar said in his lecture.

He said that India's expectation is that the silver jubilee year of India-ASAEN ties will really drive home the message that and are closely aligned in their quest for prosperity, stability and security.

Jaishankar also credited the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) for India's understanding of the people of Indian-origin in the region.

"I would credit with contributing significantly to our understanding of the role that people of Indian-origin abroad can play in India's relationship with the world. Indeed, there are few better examples of networking and bridging than the diaspora of this region," said Jaishankar.

"Not least is the catalytic role that South East Asia has played in the revival of India's historical linkages and interests," he said.

Jaishankar highlighted that "the Nalanda concept" literally started here and since then, it has emerged as an encouragement to a broader Indian embrace of its Buddhist history and heritage and a more central place for that in their bilateral people to people contacts.

He asserted that India's bilateral relationships with member states have grown in tandem with its broader regional engagement.

"Leadership level exchanges and contacts with all states have visibly deepened in the last three years and we should see that culminate on the occasion of the silver jubilee," he said.

Jaishankar also stated that has a natural interest in the growing ties between and Japan.

"also has a natural interest in the growing ties between and Japan," he said.

"Gradually and steadily, Japan has emerged as a special strategic partner with whom increasingly shares a global agenda," Jaishankar said.

The planned Shinkansen high speed rail project is the symbol of these changes, he noted.

"nations are, of course, very familiar with these developments though perhaps the scale in is of a different order," he said.

"We also see the enhanced synergy between and Japan on connectivity and maritime security as a positive for nations," said Jaishankar.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional intergovernmental organisation comprising ten Southeast Asian states.

Since its formation in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, the organisation's membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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