India puts ASEAN region at the centre of its engagement: Indian PM Modi


NEW DELHI, Nov. 13: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday made a strong pitch for greater cooperation between India and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asia Nations), which would power both regions to mutual economic growth and overall development.

"In the near future, south Asia and southeast Asia will be the development engine of the world,"  Indian PM Modi said said at theASEAN business and investment summit in Manila, Philippines.

"Government of India's 'Act East policy' puts this (ASEAN) region at the centre of our engagement," he added.

PM Modi went on to say that the task of transforming the country is proceeding at an "unprecedented scale" and invited the 10-member bloc to participate in India's growth story.

The Indian prime minister said the focus of his government has been to make India a global manufacturing hub and initiatives like Start Up India and Stand Up India ensure to make youngsters job creators, and not merely job seekers.

Speaking about the reforms that are changing the economic landscape of India, PM Modi said demonetisation has transformed India into a less-cash economy while the unified tax regime of GST has given a huge boost to the ease of doing business in the country.

"India has climbed 30 places in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business index. This is the biggest jump by any country this year and is a mark of India's long term growth trajectory. The world is taking notice of India," he said.

The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upswing in the last few years with focus being on ramping up cooperation in the areas of trade and investment as well as security and defence.

"The ASEAN Business and Investment Summit will boost the close cooperation to enhance trade ties with ASEAN member-states, which constitutes a significant 10.85 per cent of our overall trade," PM Modi had remarked previously.

Before departing for Philippines on Sunday, the Prime Minister had said that his participation at the ASEAN-India summit was aimed at strengthening the politico-security, economic and socio-cultural pillars of our country's engagement with the ten-nation grouping.

"My participation in them symbolises India's commitment to continue deepening relationship with ASEAN Member States, in particular, and with the Indo-Pacific region, in general, within the framework of my Government's Act East Policy," he had said.

The ASEAN grouping comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

ASEAN and India comprise a total population of 1.85 billion people, which is one-fourth of the global population. The combined GDP has been estimated at over $3.8 trillion.




Trade between India and ASEAN stood at $65.04 billion in 2015-16, and investment from ASEAN to India has been over $70 billion in the last 17 years, accounting for more than 17 per cent of the country's total FDI.


TOI With inputs from PTI

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