Jakarta, Sep 7 (EFE).- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday told the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that the “21st century is Asia’s century,” even as his country is all set to host the G20 summit in New Delhi over the weekend.
“The 21st century is Asia’s century. It is our century. it is necessary to build a rule-based post-COVID world order and efforts by all for human welfare,” Modi said in a speech to kick off a meeting with ASEAN leaders in Jakarta’s Convention Center.
The Indian leader backed an “free and open Indo-Pacific” and called for “elevating the Voice of Global South in the common interest of all.”
Modi is on a brief visit to Jakarta until Thursday night as Indonesia hosts the ASEAN leaders’ summit, with leaders from other nations also in attendance as invitees.
On Thursday he was talking part in the 20th ASEAN-India summit and the 18th East Asia Summit, which includes partner nations such as Australia, China, Japan, India, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States, apart from ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).
The Indian PM stressed that the summit would seek new resolutions to strengthen the future of India and ASEAN and said that there was a lot of scope for cooperation in areas such as maritime security, food security and naval forces.
“Our history and geography connect India and ASEAN. Along with shared values and regional unity, peace, prosperity, and a shared belief in a multipolar world also binds us together,” he insisted.
Chinese premier Li Qiang is also in Jakarta to attend the ASEAN meetings, before he heads to New Delhi to take part in the G20 summit in the place of President Xi Jinping.
Xi’s absence from New Delhi has created a buzz as he had never before skipped the event, one of the most important in the world, in his decade-long presidency.
Modi issued a message of support to ASEAN in Jakarta, even as this summit has also been marked by a key absence, that of US President Joe Biden.
“ASEAN matters because here everyone’s voice is heard, and ASEAN is the epicenter of growth because the ASEAN region plays a crucial role in global development,” the Indian leader proclaimed.
India began a formal association with ASEAN in 1992, but its first bilateral meeting with the bloc took place only in 2002.
The ASEAN and G20 summits, being held in Jakarta (Sep. 5-7) and New Delhi (Sep. 9-10) respectively, have focused the global diplomatic spotlight on Asia this week. EFE