Calling on ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) nations to be an integral part of New India's transformation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has in an op-ed piece said both ASEAN and India have an opportunity and responsibility to chart out a steady course in uncertain and turbulent times.
Maintaining that ASEAN and India have shared values and a common destiny, Prime Minister Modi said on the occasion of India's 69the Republic Day, that he saw his decision to host ASEAN leaders for a commemorative summit in New Delhi and their acceptance to attend as an "unprecedented gesture" of their goodwill and a sign of a partnership of great promise for the benefit of 1.9 billion people, which is about one-fourth of humankind.
"India-ASEAN partnership may be just 25 years old, but India's ties with South-East Asia stretch back more than two millennia. Forged in peace and friendship, religion and culture, art and commerce, language and literature, these enduring links are now present in every facet of the magnificent diversity of India and South-East Asia, providing a unique envelope of comfort and familiarity between our people.
"More than two decades ago, India opened itself to the world with tectonic changes. And, with instincts honed over centuries of interaction, it turned naturally to the East. Thus began a new journey of India's reintegration with the East. For India, most of our major partners and markets - from ASEAN and East Asia to North America - lie to the East. And, SouthEast Asia and ASEAN, our neighbors by land and sea, have been the springboard of our Look East and, since last three years, the Act East Policy.
"Along the way, from dialogue partners, ASEAN and India have become strategic partners. We advance our broad-based partnership through 30 mechanisms. With each ASEAN member, we have a growing diplomatic, economic and security partnership. We work together to keep our seas safe and secure. Our trade and investment flows have multiplied several times. ASEAN is India's fourth largest trading partner; India is ASEAN's seventh.
"Over six million strong Indian diaspora in the region - rooted in diversity and steeped in dynamism - constitutes an extraordinary human bond between us.
"India and ASEAN are doing much more. Our partnership with ASEAN-led institutions like East Asia Summit, ADMM+ and ARF are advancing peace and stability in our region. India is also an eager participant in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, seeking a comprehensive, balanced and fair agreement for all 16 participants.
"The strength and resilience of partnerships come not just from the arithmetic of numbers, but also from the underpinnings of the relationship. India and ASEAN nations have relations free from contests and claims. We have a common vision for the future, built on the commitment to inclusion and integration, belief in sovereign equality of all nations irrespective of size, and support for free and open pathways of commerce and engagement.
"ASEAN-India partnership will continue to grow. With the gift of demography, dynamism, and demand - and with rapidly maturing economies - India and ASEAN will build a strong economic partnership.
"India's North-East is on a resurgent path. Links with Southeast Asia will accelerate its progress. In turn, a connected North-East will be a bridge to ASEAN-India ties of our dreams.
"At 70, India exudes the spirit, enterprise, and energy of its young population. As the fastest growing major economy in the world, India has become the new frontier of global opportunities and an anchor of stability of the global economy. With every passing day, it is easier and smoother to do business in India.
"We have the potential to pursue higher ambitions and address the challenges of our times: from infrastructure and urbanization to resilient agriculture and a healthy planet. We can also use the power of digital technology, innovation, and connectivity to transform lives at unprecedented speed and scale," Prime Minister Modi said.
The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar took to Twitter to inform that the op-ed by Prime Minister Modi has been published in 10 languages in 27 newspapers of ASEAN countries.
"27 newspapers in 10 languages in 10 ASEAN countries! Op-Ed by PM @narendramodi on the historic occasion of 69th Republic Day & Asean-India Commemorative Summit. The exceptional gesture of friendship nurtured by shared culture & civilizational linkages! List at http://mymea.in/cvp," he tweeted.
27 newspapers in 10 languages in 10 ASEAN countries! Op-Ed by PM @narendramodi on the historic occasion of 69th Republic Day & Asean-India Commemorative Summit. Exceptional gesture of friendship nurtured by shared culture & civilizational linkages! List at https://t.co/gzhB5n1lIf pic.twitter.com/A4rpI0caZS— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) January 26, 2018