Jaishankar pitches for ‘ASEAN unity’, constructive role in Indo-Pacific

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NEW DELHI : Batting for enhanced cooperation between India and the ASEAN countries, External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar on Tuesday highlighted that the two sides, through greater collaboration, can play a major role in the emerging regional architecture of the Indo-Pacific.

“We support ASEAN unity, ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN outlook on Indo-Pacific. India truly believes that a strong and unified ASEAN can play a constructive role in the emerging regional architecture of the Indo-Pacific,” EAM Jaishankar said in a virtual address at the first ASEAN Future Forum on Tuesday.

“The synergy between India’s Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and the ASEAN outlook on Indo Pacific (AOIP) that is reflected in our ASEAN India leaders joint statement provides a strong framework for cooperation, including and addressing challenges to comprehensive security,” he added.

Invoking the G20 summit hosted by India last year under its presidency of the grouping, Jaishankar said the time has arrived for the Global South to assume a greater role in international affairs.

“We also believe that the time has come for the global south to present its perspective and assume a greater role in international affairs. During our G-20 presidency last year, we held virtual Voice of Global South summits with the participation of several ASEAN member states,” he said.

“Today, a multipolar Asia and a multipolar world are increasingly self-evident. This brings to the fore an ever-important role of ASEAN and India in dealing with the realities of the emerging world order. It underlies the need for greater cooperation and coordination between India and ASEAN,” he added.

Stressing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Jaishankar voiced concern over the growing security challenges in the Indo-Pacific, saying that it was important that the freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded commerce were respected and facilitated by all.

“India’s initiative of security and growth for all in the region SAGAR is aimed at contributing towards peace and stability in the region. Friends, it is vital that freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded commerce are respected and facilitated by all. The 1982 UN Convention on the Laws of Seas provides a comprehensive legal framework and serves as the constitution of the seas, one within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out,” the External Affairs Minister said.

“Upholding the enclose is a common and collective endeavour. Besides our efforts towards mitigation, adaptation and response capacities to deal with the impact of climate change and disasters and global challenges such as transnational crimes, terrorism, cyberattacks, human trafficking and health and food security. The digital era and increasing use of artificial intelligence have resulted in a premium being put on trust and transparency affecting our concept of security,” he added.

The ASEAN Future Forum got underway on Tuesday in Hanoi under the presidency of Vietnam.

The theme of the forum this year is ‘Towards Fast and Sustainable Growth of a People-Centered ASEAN Community’. The event, this year, is aimed at fostering a cohesive and dynamic ASEAN business community in the digital era. (ANI)

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