RIS

  • A-
  • A
  • A+
  • A
  • A

Chairman’s Statement of the 6th ASEAN-India Summit

  1. The 6th ASEAN-India Summit was held on 21 November 2007 in Singapore and was chaired by H.E. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore. The Summit was attended by the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member Countries and H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India.
  2. We had a comprehensive review of ASEAN-India cooperation, as well as a wide-ranging exchange of views on regional and international issues. We welcomed India’s rapid engagement with the region since becoming a sectoral dialogue partner with ASEAN in 1992, and a full dialogue partner with ASEAN in 1995. We expressed satisfaction with the overall progress of ASEAN-India dialogue relations and stressed our determination to strengthen and deepen our relations.
  3. We recognised that India’s engagement with ASEAN was a pillar of India’s “Look East” policy, and that ASEAN’s leading role and centrality in all ASEAN-related architecture facilitated India’s rapid development of ties in the region. In this regard, we reaffirmed our commitment to the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership, the East Asia Summit, and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as integral components of an open and evolving regional architecture. We also highlighted the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership as a key building block for a robust architecture for regional cooperation.
  4. We welcomed India’s continued support for ASEAN’s efforts to build an ASEAN Community by 2015. We also expressed our appreciation for India’s support for the Vientiane Action Programme and to narrow the development gap within ASEAN through its various contributions, including the Initiative for ASEAN Integration and other sub-regional growth initiatives such as the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Initiative.
  5. We welcomed the Progress Report of Implementation of the Plan of Action (POA) to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity, and tasked our Ministers and officials to accelerate the implementation of the POA through concrete projects and practical cooperation.
  6. We were pleased to note that ASEAN-India bilateral trade had already reached US$30 billion, and looked forward to achieve the target of US$50 billion in 2010. We recognised that the establishment of an ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA) would anchor the strategic engagement between both sides and sustain the momentum of the relationship. We agreed that the AIFTA, when realised, would act as an important building block for a regional FTA in Asia.
  7. We were heartened by the latest progress made in negotiations of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement. We recognised that decisions on the Agreement must be made on a strategic basis, and urged that the remaining matters be handled with flexibility and resolved quickly. We agreed that ASEAN and India are committed to the speedy completion of negotiations, and look forward to the conclusion of the Agreement by March next year. Acknowledging the immense potential in ASEAN-India trade and investment relations, we re-affirmed our continuous work on the FTA, which when implemented, would further strengthen our economic partnership towards the shared goal of regional economic integration.
  8. We recalled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s proposal for dialogue on an Open Skies Agreement at the 5th ASEAN-India Summit in Cebu in January 2007 that would fully liberalise air services between ASEAN and India and foster greater interaction and movement between the peoples of Southeast Asia and India. We welcomed India’s keen interest to join the ASEAN countries in an Open Skies regime, even as we look forward to the implementation of ASEAN’s own liberalisation of air services within the ASEAN region from 2008.
  9. We also looked forward to further integration of shipping, road and rail links between Southeast Asia and India to create an “Arc of Advantage” for our region. In this regard, we welcomed the proposal to construct the Indian-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway.
  10. We further noted that there were more than 2 million tourists from India visiting ASEAN this year and 280,000 ASEAN tourists to India. There was huge potential for further growth and expansion. We noted India’s proposal to set a target of 1 million tourist arrivals from ASEAN to India by 2010 and noted India’s proposal for our officials to look into ways to facilitate bona fide business travel between ASEAN countries and India, including by simplifying the existing visa regime if feasible.
  11. We were deeply concerned over the impact of climate change on socio-economic development and the environment, particularly in developing countries. We agreed to strengthen cooperation between ASEAN and India in addressing the critical issue of climate change, including participating actively and constructively to ensure a successful outcome of the upcoming UNFCCC meetings in Bali, Indonesia.
  12. We welcomed India’s proposal to establish an ASEAN-India Network on Climate Change that would pool and share expertise and exchange best practices. In this regard, we welcomed India’s offer to set up an “ASEAN-India Green Fund” with an initial contribution from India of US$ 5 million, and looked forward to its early operationalisation.
  13. We noted that ASEAN and India shared common interests in managing transboundary issues such as maritime security, counter-terrorism and disaster relief. We agreed to increase our practical cooperation in these areas under the ASEAN-India dialogue as well as other forums such as the ARF. We highlighted the need for greater cooperation to implement the ASEAN-India Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism that was adopted in October 2003 in Bali, Indonesia.
  14. We noted India’s proposals to further extend cooperation in the field of healthcare, including: (i) making basic drugs available at low cost to public health systems; and (ii) developing a framework of cooperation in traditional medicine. We looked forward to increased cooperation between ASEAN and India in addressing the threat of avian influenza. We also noted that India would host an international conference on avian influenza in December 2007 in New Delhi, India.
  15. We expressed our appreciation for India’s contribution of US$1 million to operationalise the ASEAN-India Science & Technology Development Fund. The Fund would intensify research and development cooperation in science and information technology, and enable ASEAN to tap India’s expertise in those fields.
  16. We emphasised human resource development as another important area of cooperation to help narrow the development gap. The ASEAN Leaders expressed their appreciation to India for institutionalising the Special Course for Diplomats from ASEAN Countries, as well as for India’s establishment of Entrepreneur Development Centres and Centres for English Language Training in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam. We also looked forward to the implementation of the ASEAN-India project on education fairs.
  17. We underscored the importance of encouraging people-to-people exchanges to promote mutual understanding. We recalled PM Manmohan Singh’s proposal at the 5th ASEAN-India Summit in Cebu, January 2007, to invite 100 students from ASEAN Member Countries to experience the sights and sounds of modern and ancient India, and looked forward to the visit that would be conducted in December this year.
  18. We noted India’s proposal to establish a special programme for regular exchanges among our parliamentarians and tasked our officials to follow up on the idea. We also noted Malaysia’s proposal to explore innovative ways to encourage film production houses in ASEAN and India to jointly produce movies to promote our culture and historical background.
Paragraph