As India marks 25 years of its partnership with Asean and in keeping with its Act East Policy, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore from January 4-8, it was announced on Tuesday.
According to a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry, Sushma Swaraj will visit Thailand on January 4-5 during the course of which she will hold a meeting with Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai.
“All aspects of bilateral relations with Thailand will be discussed with particular focus on political, defence and economic ties and on further enhancing India’s engagement with Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries,” the statement said, adding that Thailand would assume the role of coordinator country for India-Asean relations in the middle of this year.
During her Indonesia visit from January 5-6, Sushma Swaraj will co-chair the fifth meeting of the India-Indonesia Joint Commission with her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi.
The Ministers will also inaugurate the second meeting of the Asean-India Network of Think Tanks. She will also call on Indonesian President Joko Widodo and have other official engagements, including an interaction with representatives of the Indian community.
The Indian Minister also meet the new Secretary General of Asean Lim Jock Hoi, the statement said, adding: “As the biggest country in the Asean region with the largest economy, Indonesia is an important partner for India including in trade and strategic matters. In recent times, there has been intensive engagement between the two countries bilaterally, as well as plurilaterally.”
It said the Joint Commission meeting and other engagements of Sushma Swaraj would enable the two countries to chart out the course of partnership during the year 2018.
She will visit Singapore from January 6-8 during which she will inaugurate the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) of Asean countries on January 7. The theme of this year’s event is “Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic Asean-India Partnership”.
Sushma Swaraj will have bilateral meetings with the leaders in Singapore and also interact with PIO delegations from Asean countries, who will be participating in the PBD.
According to the statement, the Regional PBD is a large scale event covering a wide range of sectors including political relations, economic ties and investment, tourism and culture, connectivity, start-ups and science and technology.
“PIO delegations from all Asean countries, including ministers, eminent personalities, business and socio-political leaders are participating in the event,” the statement said.
On all three legs of her visit, Sushma Swaraj will share with her interlocutors relevant information about the forthcoming Asean-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi on January 25 which marks 25 years of the establishment of Dialogue Partnership between India and the 10-nation regional bloc.
A series of events has been organized by the External Affairs Ministry over the last year to celebrate this jubilee in different Indian cities and also Asean countries, which will culminate with the Summit in New Delhi. India has also invited the leaders of the Asean countries for the Republic Day parade this year.