New Delhi(PTI): Leaders of India and ASEAN on Thursday discussed ways to boost maritime security, connectivity and trade, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that India shares the ASEAN vision for rule-based societies and pitched for freedom of navigation in the region.
The India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, with highest-level of participation from all the 10 member-countries of the grouping, began with Modi releasing commemorative stamps in the presence of ASEAN leaders to mark 25 years of Indo-ASEAN ties.
Addressing the plenary session, Modi said India shares the ASEAN’s vision for rule-based societies and values of peace.
Freedom of navigation will be a key focus of India-ASEAN in the maritime domain, he said.
The highest-level of participation at the summit comes in the backdrop of increasing Chinese economic and military assertiveness in the region.
Some experts feel that the meet can be an opportunity for India to present itself as a powerful ally to these countries in the strategic areas of trade and connectivity.
The ASEAN leaders will also be chief guests at the Republic Day on Friday which was termed by Modi as “historic and unprecedented”.
According to officials, the summit is expected to give boost to India-ASEAN cooperation in key areas of counter- terrorism, security and connectivity.
Earlier, President Ram Nath Kovind hosted a lunch in honour of 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”.
Modi had also had bilateral meetings with six ASEAN leaders, including his counterparts from Thailand and Singapore, which is the current chair of the ASEAN grouping.