Boosting India-ASEAN Economic Collaboration

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently attended the annual ASEAN-India summit and the 18th East Asia summit held in Jakarta, Indonesia. During the visit, Modi unveiled an extensive 12-point proposal designed to enhance collaboration between India and ASEAN member countries. As India continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the post-COVID world order, businesses should closely monitor India-ASEAN developments and explore avenues for collaboration and growth in this vast market landscape.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the 20th annual ASEAN-India summit and the 18th East Asia summit held in Jakarta on September 7. During the visit, he presented a comprehensive 12-point proposal aimed at deepening cooperation between India and ASEAN nations. The move underscores India’s commitment to fostering stronger ties with ASEAN economies across various sectors. It offers significant opportunities for businesses to expand their footprint in Southeast Asia, improve regional trade and commercial ties, tap into prospects emerging from their ongoing digital transformation, and stay relevant in matters concerning geopolitics.

Moreover, the recent ASEAN-India Summit also witnessed the adoption of two crucial joint statements, one focusing on Maritime Cooperation, and the other addressing Food Security. These statements mark significant developments in the ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. During the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged in extensive discussions with ASEAN partners, laying the groundwork for the future course of this strategic partnership.

Modi’s 12-point proposal

The 12-point proposal covers a wide range of areas crucial for business and economic engagement, reflecting India’s commitment to fostering robust ties with its ASEAN partners.

  • Enhanced connectivity: One of the focal points of the proposal is the establishment of enhanced connectivity. This includes the creation of a multi-modal connectivity and economic corridor linking Southeast Asia, India, West Asia, and Europe. This move is expected to boost trade and investment opportunities for businesses in these regions.
  • Digital transformation: Prime Minister Modi offered to share India’s digital public infrastructure stack with ASEAN partners. This initiative aims to facilitate digital transformation across sectors, promoting innovation and efficiency in businesses.
  • Digital Future Fund: To further strengthen digital cooperation, Modi announced the ASEAN-India Fund for Digital Future. This fund will focus on fostering collaboration in digital transformation and financial connectivity, potentially opening up new avenues for businesses in the digital sector.
  • Research support: India pledged renewed support to the Economic and Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) as a knowledge partner. This move will enhance research and development opportunities for businesses and promote informed decision-making.
  • Advocating for the Global South: The proposal emphasized the need to collectively raise issues faced by the Global South in multilateral forums, signaling India’s commitment to ensuring the interests of developing nations are heard.
  • Traditional medicine center: India invited ASEAN countries to join the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine, established by WHO in India. This offers opportunities for cooperation in healthcare, including traditional medicine, a potential growth area for businesses.
  • Mission LiFE: Prime Minister Modi called for cooperation on Mission LiFE, offering avenues for businesses to contribute to health and environmental sustainability efforts.
  • Affordable medicines: India’s offer to share its expertise in providing affordable and quality medicines through Jan-Aushadhi Kendras could benefit businesses in pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution.
  • Counterterrorism cooperation: The proposal called for collective action against terrorism, terror financing, and cyber-disinformation, promoting a secure environment for businesses.
  • Disaster resilience: India invited ASEAN countries to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, enhancing disaster preparedness and response capabilities, which can be vital for business continuity.
  • Disaster management: Cooperation in disaster management can reduce business risks in the face of natural disasters, ensuring smoother operations.
  • Maritime security: Enhanced cooperation on maritime safety, security, and domain awareness is vital for businesses engaged in maritime trade and logistics.