World Economy

ASEAN to Remain India’s Top Partner

ASEAN to Remain India’s Top PartnerASEAN to Remain India’s Top Partner

With trading and investment between ASEAN and India continuing to flourish, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes ASEAN will remain the country’s largest investment partner.

“After a temporary decline, our trade increased to about $76.5 billion in 2014-2015 and so has investments in both directions, Bernama reported.

“Much of the potential for economic partnership remains untapped. I am confident that our trade and investment will expand as our economies grow,” he said at the opening of the ASEAN-India Summit in Kuala Lumpur Saturday which was attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Modi said the entry into force of the trade-in-services and investment agreements in July 2015 was a major step forward.

“We also look forward to progress in negotiations for a balanced and ambitious Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement that covers goods and services as well as investments.

“Connectivity is the pathway to shared prosperity. The trilateral highway project linking India to Myanmar and Thailand, is making good progress and should be completed by 2018,” he said.

 Credit Line Increased

Modi also said India proposed to commit a $1 billion line of credit to promote projects that support physical and digital connectivity between India and ASEAN.

Meanwhile, India’s partnership with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam in capacity building projects would also expand via a project development fund to develop manufacturing hubs in those countries, said Modi.

“We will enlarge the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund from the current $1 million to $5 million.

“We also intend to set up an ASEAN-India Innovation Platform to facilitate commercialization of low cost technologies, technology transfer and collaborative research and development projects,” he said.

The Indian prime minister also said India’s cooperative project in space technology, to be located in Vietnam, was making concrete progress. “I assure you of its early completion,” he said.

On research and innovation, Modi said efforts must cover a range of common challenges such as massive urbanization and mega cities; skills for the future; food security; water; and, affordable healthcare.

India also planned to offer over 100 training slots in renewable energy in their institutions to ASEAN member states, he said.

 India’s Contributions

Earlier, in his opening remarks at the summit, Najib said ASEAN recognized India’s various contributions in accelerating its community building process that would strengthen ASEAN-India partnership in the long-run.

The Malaysian prime minister said ASEAN valued India’s unwavering support and active participation in numerous programs and plans as a vital mechanism and platform for both to exchange views on global and regional issues.

“This will ensure active coordination between India and ASEAN member states. I look forward to further enhance that cooperation at this summit,” said Najib.