ASEAN Secretary-General Pitches For Stronger Relationship With India
© AP Photo / Adek Berry/PoolLeaders and delegate members attend the 20th ASEAN-India Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 6, 2023.
© AP Photo / Adek Berry/Pool
Relations between India and ASEAN have experienced a positive headwind in recent years, with the Southeast Asian geopolitical bloc publicly backing deeper ties with New Delhi.
ASEAN Secretary-General Dr Kao Kim Hourn has pitched for a stronger relationship with India.
"We want a stronger relationship with India. Look at the positive side (of the relationship)," Dr Kao said in New Delhi.
The top ASEAN official also stated that the present Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the bloc was under review, and the two sides were looking to conclude it by 2025.
India-ASEAN inked the FTA in 2009 with implementation taking place the following year. However, India demanded a review of the FTA to remove barriers and prevent the pact's misuse by one party.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanded the completion of the ASEAN-India FTA review at the earliest.
During the last fiscal, trade between India and ASEAN member states, comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, rose to $132 billion.
If one breaks it down, the value of India's exports to ASEAN nations stood at $44 billion, while imports had a $68 billion share in the overall trade between the two sides.