PM Modi Heads to Indonesia for Key ASEAN-India Summit
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Indonesia for ASEAN-India Summit amid diplomatic tensions sparked by China's disputed map release.
JAKARTA: In a notable diplomatic move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is embarking on a brief trip to Indonesia to participate in the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit. Scheduled for departure on Wednesday night, PM Modi is set to land in Jakarta early the following morning.
The Ministry of External Affairs has underlined the brevity of this visit, emphasizing that PM Modi will not only review the progress of ASEAN-India relations but also provide direction to further enhance cooperation with member nations.
Of particular importance is Indonesia's cooperation in adjusting the summit's timings to accommodate PM Modi's return for the upcoming G20 Summit. Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, noted, "The prime minister will depart Delhi on the night of September 6 and return on September 7. Indonesia was kind enough to advance the timings of the EAS so that the Prime Minister could come back early."
The East Asia Summit is a significant platform for India as it brings together leaders from major countries such as the United States, Japan, and China, fostering economic and cultural ties. This year's summit is particularly noteworthy as it marks the first meeting following the elevation of the relationship between India and ASEAN to a comprehensive strategic partnership last year.
Moreover, trade relations between India and ASEAN nations hold great importance, with trade valued at $131.5 billion in 2022-23, making it the second-largest after India-EU trade. Therefore, India is poised to leverage this opportunity to strengthen trade relations among partner nations.
In addition to trade, maritime security cooperation will be a key topic of discussion.
Addressing concerns about the recent controversy sparked by the release of China's "standard" map, the Ministry of External Affairs official stressed that while it's challenging to predict discussion outcomes, issues of mutual, regional, and international concern are likely to be addressed during the event.
It's worth noting that China recently incorporated India's integral regions, including Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin, in their latest map release, which drew a strong response from India. China claims that Arunachal Pradesh is part of the Tibet region. Although President Xi Jinping will not be present at the summit, Premier Li Qiang will represent China.
In response to India's strong reaction, China urged India to remain objective and calm, asserting that this map inclusion is a routine practice under its law.
PM Modi's visit to Indonesia for the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits is strategically significant, offering opportunities to bolster trade relations and address regional concerns, including the recent map controversy with China.