The Vice President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, who is on a three-day tour of Cambodia, led the Indian delegation, including the External Affairs Minister, Dr S. Jaishankar, at the 19th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia today.
In his opening remarks, the Vice President hailed the deep cultural, economic and civilizational ties that have existed between India and South East Asia from time immemorial. He stated that India-ASEAN relationship forms the central pillar of India’s ACT-EAST policy. He reiterated India’s support to ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific.
At the summit, ASEAN and India adopted a joint statement announcing the elevation of the existing Strategic Partnership to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Joint Statement also reiterated the commitment to enhance India-ASEAN cooperation in various areas such as maritime activities, counter-terrorism, transnational crimes, cyber security, digital economy, regional connectivity, smart agriculture, environment, science & technology, tourism, among other areas. The Joint Statement also proposes expediting the review of ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to make it more user-friendly, simple, and trade-facilitative.
Later in the day, the Vice President called on HM King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia at the Royal Palace and discussed India-Cambodia ties, including ways to intensify cultural cooperation.
The Vice President had a meeting with the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Mr Hun Sen, along with the Minister of External Affairs, Dr S. Jaishankar. The Vice President held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral ties including human resource, de-mining & development projects. Consequently, four MoUs and agreements were exchanged between the two countries in areas of culture, wildlife & health.
The Vice President, who is also the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, later met with the Senate President, Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Say Chhum and had a discussion on strengthening the ties among the parliamentarians of both countries, including via training programs.
Shri Dhankhar visited the National Museum, Phnom Penh and witnessed the works of Khmer art. In a message, he appreciated the artwork which ‘depicts the close civilisational links between India and Cambodia from the old times’. The Vice President, his spouse Dr. Sudesh Dhankhar, Dr S. Jaishankar and others attended a cultural event and dinner hosted by the Prime Minister of Cambodia.
On the margins of ASEAN-India Summit, the Vice President met with H.E. Mr. Pham Minh Chinh, the Prime Minister of Vietnam. Both sides reaffirmed mutual commitment to work together in the areas of trade, economy, security, culture, & synergy in the international domain.