Commemorating 20 years of ASEAN-INDIA PARTNERSHIP – February 6th, 2013
What is Asean?
On August 8, 1967 Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand joined together to form ‘ASEAN – The Associations of Southeast Asian Nations’ by signing the ASEAN Declaration in Bangkok, Thailand. Brunei Darussalam, Vietanam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia then joined ASEAN over the period of time thus making it as ten member states of ASEAN.
After its economic reforms in 1990s, India became a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992, and that got upgraded to full dialogue partnership in 1996 and since 2002, India has been having annual summits with ASEAN.
India hosted the Asean-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi on December 20-21,2012, with the theme being ‘ASEAN-India partnership for Peace and Shared Prosperity’ to mark the 20th anniversary of the dialogue-level partnership and the 10th anniversary of the Summit –level partnership with ASEAN.
ASEAN – India functional co-operation includes co-operation across various sectors such as trade, science & technology, human resource development, space sciences, agriculture, new and renewable energy, information and communication technology, telecommunications, transport and infrastructure, tourism and culture.
India and ASEAN further strengthened its co-operation in the area such as the cultural, educational and academic fields in bolstering the contacts of people and initiatives such as Youth Exchange Programmes, Special Training Courses for ASEAN Diplomats, Media Exchange Programmes and the ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks Meeting. India has established Centres for English Language training (CELT) and Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDC) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV countries).
Since then, India has been taking active participation in the ASEAN talks and activities with its relations being strengthened. There is also an opinion that, apart from the economic cooperation, there are still more areas that are to be tapped.
Two symbolical events – ‘ASEAN India Car Rally 2012’ and ‘The Sudarshini Shipping Expedition’ have been organized to commemorate the anniversary of this partnership.
ASEAN –India Car Rally
The 2nd edition of the ASEAN-India Car Rally took place from 26 November to 21 December 2012.We understand that the rally that started in Indonesia with over 120 rallyists travelled more than 8,000 km over 22 days going through eight ASEAN countries which ended in India.
The ceremonial flag off of the ASEAN –India car rally 2012 took place on the 28 November 2012 at the F1 Pit Building in Singapore. Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, Mr K: Shanmugam and Mr PS Raghavan, Additional Secretary (DPA), Ministry of external affairs flagged off the rally at 9:30 am. The event had an overwhelming response with over a few hundred people attending that included students and others. Mr K. Shanmugam, Mr PS Raghavan, Mr Adi Godrej and the CII’s president addressed the gathering.
The enthralled gathering waved relentlessly at the rallyists for their safe conduct when they set off on their 31 Mahindra XUV 500 sports utility vehicles. It was indeed a festive mood!
INS-Sudarshini – ‘The shipping expedition
INS –Sudarshini, a sail training ship of Indian navy that is on a six month long ‘Asean Voyage’ visited Singapore between 29 January and 13 February 2013. The ‘three masted barque’ that implies that the ship is square rigged on fore & main mast and fore & aft rigged on mizzen mase. The ship carries a total of twenty sails (08 square sails, 10 fore and aft sails and 02 storm sails) with a total sail area of 965 sq.m and displacement of 517 tonnes.
‘Sudarshini’ meaning a beautiful lady in Sanskrit was berthed at the VivoCity Promenade.
The official sources tells ‘The ship undertakes sail training of cadets/under trainee officers and has the capability to accommodate 30 cadets/under trainee officers at any given time. The ship provides abundant opportunities for developing physical and moral courage, esprit-de-corps, learning basic seamanship and getting one’s ‘sea legs.’
India has a long time maritime relationship with Asia and this ship is retracing the sea routes developed during the 10th and 12th South East Asia. Sudarshini will touch 13 ports in nine countries to foster India’s relations with ASEAN in her 195 day long voyage in her endeavour to ‘Build Bridges across the Oceans’. She will back in her home port Kochi by Mrach 29, 2013.
ASEAN- India Seminar on Master plan on ASEAN connectivity and Public-Private partnerships (MPAC):
The above seminar that was aimed to bolster social and economic dimensions of the ASEAN community took place on the 27th November 2012 at Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore.
Mr PS Raghavan, Additional Secretary (DPA), Ministry of External Affairs, India in his opening speech, highlighted the growing connectivity in regard to Trade and co-operative projects between ASEAN and India over the past two decades.
Mr Simon Wong, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after presenting Singapore’s views on the MPAC, urged that Asian countries should join hands on different projects.
The session two concentrated on providing details on the broad key actions and the 15 priority projects in the MPAC and the third session was on ‘dealing with challenges’ that involved discussions between financers and developers on some of the challenges facing MPAC projects and how to overcome those.