India to draft action plan to deepen ties with Asean

India to draft action plan to deepen  ties with Asean

Seeking deepening of ties with Asean, India on Saturday said it would soon draft a five- year plan of action starting 2016 to take the “trajectories” of common interests with the 10-member grouping to a new level and particularly emphasised on improving connectivity in the region to further boost trade and people-to-people contact.

In her address at the 12th India-Asean meeting here, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the new government in India would like to stand with the grouping and take the relationship forward so people's aspirations for growth and development could be fulfilled.

"As you are on the brink of achieving your long cherished goal of the Asean Community by 2015, I bring to you the assurance of the new Government in India that we would like to stand with you and take the trajectories of our common interests higher in the coming years, both in terms of achievement and relevance to our bilateral Asean+1 relationship and also in terms of the multilateral ambition at the regional and global levels," Swaraj said in her first engagement at multilateral fora.

Improved connectivity

Strongly pitching for improvement in connectivity, she said India wanted connectivity in all its dimensions – geographic, institutional and people-to-people. She also referred to 5Ts of government of India – Tradition, Talent, Tourism, Trade and Technology - reflecting priority areas and noted that in foreign policy connectivity precedes them all.

"To the 5Ts of the Government of India – Tradition, Talent, Tourism, Trade and Technology, I would like to reiterate the value of a 'C' before them all in foreign policy – the 'C' of connectivity in all its dimensions, geographic, institutional and people-to-people. I would like this 'C' of connectivity to translate into tangible and urgent action on the ground, bringing our capacities together to mutual benefit," she said.

The bilateral trade grew by 4.6 per cent from $68.4 billion in 2011 to $71.6 billion in 2012.

Asean's exports were valued at $43.84 billion and imports from India amounted to $27.72 billion in 2012. The target has been set at $100 billion by 2015 for Asean-India trade.

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