Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Thursday co-chair a virtual summit between India and 10-nation ASEAN that is expected to focus on measures to recover from the economic turmoil triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and ways to further broadbase the strategic ties.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the summit will review the status of ASEAN-India strategic partnership and take stock of progress made in key areas such as connectivity, maritime cooperation, trade and commerce, education and capacity building.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region, and India and several other countries including the US, China, Japan and Australia are its dialogue partners.
The summit is taking place amid China's aggressive behaviour in the disputed South China Sea as well as in eastern Ladakh. A number of ASEAN countries have territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.
Along with Modi, the 17th India-ASEAN summit will also be co-chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
"The leaders will discuss ways to further strengthen ASEAN-India engagement and in this context will note the adoption of ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2021-2025). COVID-19, post-pandemic economic recovery and important regional and international developments will also be discussed at the summit," the MEA said in a statement.
The 10 member countries of ASEAN are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Prime Minister Modi attended the 16th ASEAN-India Summit in Bangkok in November last year.
"ASEAN-India strategic partnership stands on a strong foundation of shared geographical, historical and civilisational ties. India's Act East Policy, underlining ASEAN centrality, reflects the importance, India attaches to engagement with ASEAN," the MEA said.