In his speech delivered at the “Act East” dialogue in New Delhi on April 5, Dung suggested the two sides enhance physical, digital and cultural connectivity and people-to-people exchange in order to strengthen the India-ASEAN strategic partnership as well as accelerate the deployment of the “Act East” policy, in which ASEAN is identified as a nucleus and a center of “Indian Dream” in an Asian century.
Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung
According to the diplomat, the two sides need to facilitate projects and seek public-private partnership as the India-Mekong Economic Corridor, the India-Myanmar-Laos-Vietnam-Cambodia expressway; the expanded India-Myanmar-Thailand expressway will expand transport connectivity and contribute to lifting two-way trade and investment.
On cultural connectivity, especially among young people, Dung said ASEAN and India should facilitate the exchange of businesspeople, researchers and journalists to tap the potential of the region’s workforce of 1.8 billion people.
Via the Fund for Scientific and Technological Development and Innovation Forum, India could increase its assistance to ASEAN in the fields of science-technology, agriculture and English training, he suggested.
In its capacity as a coordinator of India-ASEAN relations, Vietnam pledged to work with ASEAN and India to celebrate the 25th founding anniversary of the bilateral strategic partnership and elevate the relationship to new heights, thus making important contributions to peace, stability and prosperity in the region, he said.
For his part, Secretary (East) of the Indian Foreign Ministry Preeti Saran highlighted India’s consistent policy of strengthening cooperation with ASEAN in terms of connectivity, trade, political dialogue and security, adding that the Indian government speeds up a roadmap for the implementation of the “Act East” policy until 2025 and beyond.
She expressed hope that the event would provide a platform for senior officials, policymakers, and researchers of India and ASEAN member countries to discuss measures for the building of a roadmap to promote the bilateral strategic partnership.
At the dialogue, participants attended three sessions focusing discussions on improving connectivity and India- ASEAN trade relations, Asia’s multilateralism and new defense-security structure, and Agenda 2025: Transforming ASEAN-India relations.