ASEAN leaders laud India's growing role in ensuring stability in Indo-Pacific
New Delhi: Several ASEAN leaders complimented India's growing role in ensuring peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region during their bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, external affairs ministry said on Thursday.
Modi held bilateral meetings with Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, Singaporean Premier Lee Hsien Loong and Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.
Secretary East in the external affairs ministry Preeti Saran said all the leaders Modi met talked about India's multifaceted cooperation with ASEAN and its role in ensuring peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
There have been growing concerns in the region over China ramping up its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Leaders from 10 ASEAN countries are here to attend the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit and participate in the Republic Day celebrations.
Saran said Modi, in his bilateral meetings with leaders of six ASEAN countries since yesterday, conveyed that ASEAN has been the fulcrum of India's Act East policy and that it wants to build on the cooperation.
Referring to Modi's meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart, Saran said both sides deliberated on defence and maritime security ties and emphasised on deepening cooperation in the oil and gas exploration sector.
She said soon Vietnam is going to start a direct flight service to India.
Asked whether India is going to supply Brahmos missiles to Vietnam, she did not give a direct reply but said both sides were keen on expanding defence and security ties.
Referring to Modi's talks with Suu Kyi, Saran said a host of issues including operationalisation of the Sittwe port, India's proposed housing project in Rakhine state and progress of the tri-lateral highway project figured in the meeting.
She said the two leaders also emphasised on ensuring peace and security along the Indo-Myanmar border.
In their talks, Duterte and Modi deliberated on ways to effectively counter rising threat of terrorism including through intelligence sharing between the two countries.
They particularly focused on dealing with "urban terrorism" and drug trafficking.
Duterte also evinced interest in learning from India's 'Aadhaar' project to which Modi expressed readiness to offer help.
Modi and his Singaporean counterpart Lee, in their bilateral talks, explored ways to further deepen bilateral ties including in the trade, investment and aviation sectors.
Lee is the current chair of the ASEAN grouping.
The Prime Minister invited Singapore airlines to expand its operation in India and start flight services to cities like Guwahati, Saran said.
She said Modi has accepted Singapore's invitation to attend the Shangri-La dialogue to be held in the city state in June.
In his meeting the Thai prime minister, Modi deliberated on expanding defence and security cooperation besides exploring ways to boost trade and investment ties.
Modi conveyed to his Thai counterpart that there was a convergence between India's