Bangkok, Aug 1 : External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday called for greater ASEAN-India strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific, saying that engagement with the 10-nation Southeast Asian grouping is a critical element of India's Act East policy which now also means implementing its Indo-Pacific outlook.Jaishankar, who co-chaired the ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting with his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai, had "substantive discussions" on furthering the partnership in the Indo Pacific, especially on connectivity and maritime cooperation. "Had substantive discussions on furthering ASEAN-India strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific with a special emphasis on sustainability, connectivity & maritime cooperation," he said after the meeting.
"Acting East is now also means implementing our Indo-Pacific outlook," he said, adding that India wants broader connectivity with the region, building on its strong civilizational links. The Act East policy emphasizes connectivity, commerce and culture for greater ASEAN-India integration and prosperity.India has welcomed ASEAN's outlook on the Indo-Pacific unveiled in June this year, saying that it finds "important elements of convergence with our own views, especially from the standpoint of principles, as well as its approach and ASEAN's listing of areas of cooperation.
"ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.During a separate bilateral meeting with the Thai foreign minister, Jaishankar discussed expanding our maritime partnership, BIMSTEC cooperation and partnering in ACMECS (Ayeyawady- Chao Phraya- Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy) initiated by Thailand in 2003 which aims to create prosperity along the borders, and to create jobs, income, and reduce inequality in the sub-region.
Thailand holds the ASEAN Chairmanship.Jaishankar also had a "good exchange of views" with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono.He also had a meeting with Deputy PM and Foreign Minister of New Zealand Winston Peters and had a "good conversation on our shared Indo-Pacific approach. Both sides agreed to upgrade economic and political ties.UNI