US India Global Review 2018

celebration is unprecedented. Your collective presence here has also touched the hearts of my 1.25 billion fellow Indians. It highlights the importance of our Strategic Partnership, placing ASEAN at the centre of India’s Act East Policy. Our friendship has been nur- tured by our shared cultural and civilizational linkages. The Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic, continues to be a valuable shared legacy in ASEAN and the Indian subcontinent. We have organised a Ramayana Festival with troupes from ASEAN countries, to show- case our common cultural treas- ure through this great epic. Other major religions, including Buddhism, also bind us closely. Islam, in many parts of South East Asia has distinctive Indian connections going back several centuries. We have also jointly released a set of commemorative stamps, to celebrate our common heritage. Your Majesty, Excellencies, This Summit is the grand finale of our joint year-long commemo- rative activities, organized in India and in ASEAN countries, which provides us a valuable opportunity to review our journey so far and chart our future path. This objective, in my view, is best served through free and friendly discussion among us. Your Majesty, Excellencies, Since 1992, our partnership has evolved from sectoral dia- logue to strategic partnership. Today, we have thirty sectoral dia- logue mechanisms and seven ministerial level interactions, in addition to annual Summit meet- ings. We have made excellent progress in implementing the objectives of the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity, through five year plans of action. The progress in implementing our third Action Plan for the period 2016-2020 is commendable. Capacity building projects have been undertaken through the ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund, the ASEAN-India Green Fund, and ASEAN-India Science and Technology Fund. Your Majesty, Excellencies, India shares ASEAN’s vision of peace and prosperity through a rules-based order for the oceans and seas. Respect for internation- al law, notably UNCLOS is critical for this. We remain committed to work with ASEAN to enhance practical cooperation and collaboration in our shared maritime domain. During the Retreat Session, we had an opportunity to discuss ASEAN-India cooperation in mar- itime domain, as one of the key focus areas for growth and devel- opment of the Indo-Pacific region. Indeed, Maritime cooperation has been an integral part of our discourse throughout our com- memorative activities, with the theme resonating in the ASEAN India Connectivity Summit, in the Workshop on Blue Economy, as well as in regular dialogue mecha- nisms. Humanitarian and Disaster Relief efforts, Security coopera- tion, and Freedom of Navigation will be key focus areas for our Maritime cooperation. The Connectivity Summit was also an affirmation of the linkages that India shares with ASEAN through land, air, maritime, cultur- al, civilizational and people-to- people relations that date back centuries. Your Majesty, Excellencies, Information and Communications Technology will forge new bonds of digital connec- tivity among us. These could include new areas of cooperation in a regional high- capacity fiber optic network, and a national rural broadband networks to digitally connect remote areas. India offers to undertake a pilot project on rural connectivity, which would create digital villages in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam. Success of this project could be replicated in other ASEAN countries. We also offer a training pro- gramme on Telecom and Networking Technologies, to share best practices in Policy, Regulation and Technological Development for Information and Communication Technology pro- fessionals from ASEAN countries. In order to deepen our under- standing and cooperation in finan- cial matters, I propose a dialogue on digital financial inclusion and investment promotion and infra- structure. Combating terror financing jointly is yet another important area where we could work collec- tively. Your Majesty, Excellencies, Our 70 billion dollars trade has grown 25 times over 25 years. 17 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW APRIL-JUNE 2018 The Connectivity Summit was also an affirmation of the link- ages that India shares with ASEAN through land, air, maritime, cul- tural, civilizational and people-to-people rela- tions that date back centuries.

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