PM Modi to embark on ‘short’ visit to Indonesia for ASEAN-India, East Asia Summits today, why it matters?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Image Source : PTI/FILE Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to leave for Indonesia to attend the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and 18th East Asia Summit on Wednesday night, where he is scheduled to hold multiple meetings with his counterparts. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, it is a “short” visit where PM Modi will land in the national capital, Jakarta early in the morning.

Addressing a special press conference on Tuesday, Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, stressed that the Prime Minister will review the progress in ASEAN-India relations and provide them direction to further enhance the cooperation.

Indonesia adjusted timings for PM Modi: MEA 

The official said Indonesia has agreed to adjust the timings so that PM Modi could return to New Delhi for the upcoming G20 Summit.

“The prime minister will depart Delhi on the night of September 6 and return on September 7,” Kumar told media persons.

“Indonesia was kind enough to advance the timings of the EAS so that the Prime Minister could come back early,” said Kumar. “Earlier the meeting of EAS was scheduled for the afternoon but later it was adjusted a little bit. From 9 am to 10 am, there will be an ASEAN-India Summit and after a gap of 15 minutes, the EAS meeting will be held,” he added.

What is ASEAN?

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a group of ten nations– Brunei Darussalam, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Besides, the ten influential nations, India, the US, China, Japan and Australia are its dialogue partners. The bloc was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok. The ASEAN Summit is held twice annually at a time to be determined by the Chair of the ASEAN Summit in consultation with other ASEAN Member States. The summit is to be hosted by the ASEAN Member State holding the ASEAN Chairmanship. The First ASEAN Summit was held in Bali, Indonesia on 23-24 February 1976. This year Indonesia is hosting the summit in its capacity as the current Chair of the ASEAN.

Why does it matter for India?

The event is significant for India as it is a platform where leaders of major countries such as the US, Japan and China meet and expand their ties- both economically and culturally. 

According to MEA, this year, summit is “special” as it is the first meeting after the elevation of the relationship between the two sides to a comprehensive strategic partnership last year.

Besides, the ministry said that the trade relations between India-ASEAN nations are significant– $131.5 billion in 2022-23– which is the second largest after India-EU trade. Therefore, the Indian side will definitely grab the opportunity to boost trade relations among the partner nations. 

Besides, the MEA said the PM will also discuss maritime security cooperation.

Will PM Modi raise the Chinese map controversy?

While responding to the question of whether the recent controversy erupted following the release of the so-called “standard” map by the Chinese side, the official underscored that there are chances that the issue would be discussed during the upcoming event but added he could anticipate the outcome.

“It is difficult to anticipate what would be discussed when the leaders meet. But issues which are of mutual concerns, regional and international would come up,” he added. Notably, from the Chinese side, President Xi Jinping will not be present at the summit and instead, Premier Li Qiang will attend the event.

Earlier last week, China enraged New Delhi by incorporating India’s integral regions such as Arunachal Pradesh, and Aksai Chin in their latest edition of the map released. The map released on the website and social media platforms of the state news publication, Global Times, included the disputed areas including Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin region, Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea under their territory.

It is worth mentioning China claims Arunachal Pradesh is a part of the Tibet region. This prompted India to respond aggressively. However, later, China urged India to “stay objective and calm” and desist from “over-interpreting” the issue claiming it is a “routine practice” by its law.

Also Read: Indonesia adjusts timings of ASEAN Summit so that PM Modi can return back to India for G20 meet: MEA

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