ASEAN-India ties have withstood the test of time, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said

India fully supports a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday, adding that its role was more important than ever before.

He was speaking at the two-day Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi. The meeting marks the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-INDIA dialogue relations and the 10th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership.

In his opening remarks, EAM Jaishankar described ASEAN as a beacon of regionalism, multilateralism and globalization. He pointed out that it had successfully carved out a niche for itself in the region and provided the foundation for the evolving strategic and economic architecture in the Indo-Pacific.

According to EAM Jaishankar, ASEAN’s role today "is perhaps more important than ever before given the geopolitical challenges and uncertainties that the world faces". He added that India fully supports a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN, one whose centrality in the Indo-Pacific is fully recognised.

"The strong convergence of the AOIP and the IPOI is a testimony to our shared Vision for the region," he pointed out.

He stated that ASEAN-India ties have withstood the test of time and grown stronger with each passing decade.

"Our Sectoral Partnership of 1992 matured into a Summit level Partnership in 2002 and further evolved into a Strategic Partnership in 2012. As we enter the fourth decade of our relationship, our ties too must respond to the world that we confront," he said.

A better connected India and ASEAN would be well positioned to promote decentralized globalization and resilient and reliable supply chains that is so needed by the international community, EAM Jaishankar added.

He pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic had not fully abated, adding that there was much ground yet to be covered towards post-pandemic recovery

According to him, the path towards post-pandemic recovery "has become even more arduous with geo-political headwinds which we face due to developments in Ukraine and its knock on effects on food and energy security, as well as fertilizer and commodities prices, and logistics and supply chain disruptions".

"Under the current global uncertainties, as we review our journey of the last 30 years and chart our path for the coming decades, it is important that we identify a new set of priorities while ensuring the early realization of our ongoing initiatives," EAM Jaishankar noted.