Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday underscored India's long history of relations with South-East Asia, and conveyed hope for further progress of India's relations with the ASEAN countries.
'I'm confident that ASEAN countries look at India as a country that has much to offer in terms of demography, proactive regime, economic and trade opportunities, and leapfrogging capabilities," Pradhan said at the inaugural session of 25 years of India-ASEAN Partnership.
Pradhan said the country's upgrade from the 'Look East' to 'Act East' policy with the ASEAN at the core, was among the earliest initiatives of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.
"India embarked on the policy of 'Look East' for a long time. However, our Prime Minister has given further impetus by initiating the policy of 'Act East', to galvanise relations with the economically vibrant ASEAN region. The upgrade from the Look East to Act East policy, with the ASEAN at the core, was among the earliest initiatives of the Modi government," Pradhan added.
Pradhan also talked about the deep interactions seeped in history with South-East Asia.
"Our interactions over centuries have extended beyond Indonesia to include expressions of shared heritage and culture that are dotted across the region and find expression in strands of everyday life of the people. Historically and culturally, the links between India and South-East Asia have been deep and profound," Pradhan said.
Minister of State Jitendra Singh, who was also present at the event, touched upon practical initiatives for overall economic development of the North-East and its economic integration with the larger region. He emphasised the importance of north-east as an important engine of future growth for India.
The inaugural session was attended by the ambassadors of Philippines to India, Teresita C. Daza and Vietnam to India, Ton Sinh Thanh.
The conference titled India-ASEAN Partnership at 25 was organised by the Kalinga International Foundation (KIF), a think tank that brings together the east and north-eastern region of India with our neighbours, the ASEAN states and the wider Indo-Pacific region. (ANI)