ASEAN-INDIA VISION STATEMENT
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
ASEAN-INDIA COMMEMORATIVE SUMMIT
NEW DELHI, INDIA
20TH DECEMBER 2012
Your Excellency Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
Your Majesty and Excellencies Heads of State and Government of ASEAN,
I join my ASEAN colleagues in expressing our appreciation to the Government and people of India for your gracious hospitality and for hosting this ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit.
I welcome the celebration of the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-India dialogue relations through a number of people centered activities. These include the ASEAN-India Car Rally, the expedition of the Indian Naval Ship, I.N.S. Sudarshini, and various seminars and business meetings both in ASEAN countries and in India.
I also commend the work of the ASEAN-India Eminent Persons Group. Its final report and recommendations, submitted during this commemorative summit, will provide our cooperation with a roadmap for greater ASEAN-India relations and cooperation.
Your Majesty and Excellencies,
As I underscored during our recent Summit in Phnom Penh, ASEAN-India partnership has been robust and mutually beneficial. It has provided us with many opportunities for deeper cooperation. Nevertheless, I believe that we have yet to tap the full potential of our partnership.
As we mark the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations, we have an opportunity to establish a new set of objectives that would further elevate our partnership. A new set of objectives that would synergize India’s “Look East Policy” and ASEAN’s Community Building efforts.
To that end, we need to set priority areas of strategic cooperation as a benchmark for the next twenty years. Hence, I wish to highlight the following pertinent points.
First, we must set a new trade target. India will remain one of ASEAN’s most important trading partners. The growing trade volume between ASEAN and India has surpassed the 2012 target. Seeing this rapid growth, I am convinced that the 100 billion trade target for 2015, as outlined in the Vision Statement, is achievable. In fact, in my opinion we should also envision a higher and more ambitious trade target for the next twenty years. I believe we can advance this through increased investment cooperation.
For this purpose, I encourage ASEAN and India to adopt policies aimed at lowering trade barriers and to provide more incentives for our business communities.
I also wish to reiterate the importance of the conclusion of an ASEAN-India agreement on services and investment which has been concluded. I have high hopes on this agreement for our future cooperation because once it is implemented it will drive a two-way investment flow between ASEAN and India. It will open up greater potential for cooperation in areas such as technology, ICT, and infrastructures, as well as in food security and energy security.
Second, we need to initiate and promote ASEAN-India cooperation in food and energy security. With a combined population of 1.8 billion, ASEAN and India must address both the strategic issues of food security and energy security.
In the case of energy security, it is estimated that the world’s energy needs will rise by 50 percent in 2030 and our region plus China is predicted to require more energy. Some of our countries will become more dependent on oil to fulfill its energy needs. It is therefore important that we cooperate in developing new and renewable energy sources.
Whereas in the case of food security, as our population is predicted by the Population Division of UNDESA to reach approximately 2 billion in 2025, we will face a pressing challenge of providing them with sufficient supply of food. This is surely not an easy task. We must address the issue of more food production, more productivity in land-use, and affordability of food prices.
Hence, I recommend that we task our relevant ministers and officials to initiate concrete efforts to address the issues of food and energy security. More joint research in the agriculture sector, and cooperation among centers of energy research in ASEAN and India should therefore be encouraged.
Third, people-to-people connectivity must be enhanced. Travel of business people and academicians as well as journalists between ASEAN and India should be fostered to take advantage of the richness of our 1.8 billion human resource potential. The number of direct flights from India to ASEAN countries and the other way around should be increased.
We should also encourage more ASEAN students to study in India. In the case of Indonesia, this is even more relevant as our histories have shown that as early as the seventh century, some kingdoms in Sumatera, Indonesia sent their youngsters to study in India.
To further encourage people-to-people connectivity, we should explore more areas of cooperation in digital connectivity, in line with the ASEAN ICT Master Plan of 2015.
Fourth, we need to promote further ASEAN-India maritime cooperation.
The geopolitical and geoeconomic map of the world keeps evolving. While the center of the global economy is shifting Eastward, the Indian and the Pacific Ocean have been and will become even more important in providing the vital sea routes for trade and commerce.
In these oceans lie the principal of oil shipping lanes, as well as the main navigational choke points for the world’s commerce. Today, much of the 90 percent of intercontinental trade and also the two-thirds of all petroleum supplies travel through these shipping lanes.
Seventy percent of the entire world’s traffic in petroleum products passes through the Indian Ocean—from the Middle East to East Asia. Moreover, the Indian Ocean accounts for one half of the world’s container traffic. Likewise, the Strait of Malacca is also one of the busiest sea lanes for merchant fleets.
Hence, the effort to maintain and promote maritime cooperation in the region, in all its aspects, must become one of our priorities. We need to develop closer cooperation to ensure maritime security and to effectively address all the challenges at sea.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
Your Majesty and Excellencies,
This is indeed the right time for us to elevate ASEAN-India dialogue relations to a strategic level of partnership. A partnership that is mutually beneficial, and would contribute positively to global peace, security, and justice.
I have every confidence that through such a partnership, we can achieve greater prosperity for our region, and at the same time, contribute to global prosperity. Such a partnership is also consistent with India’s participation in the wider regional architecture, not least in the East Asia Summit. Our closer cooperation within this regional architecture will increase our resilience to mitigate present and future challenges those that may jeopardize our progress and achievements.
In this regard, I welcome the ASEAN-India Vision Statement, which reflects our shared vision of an Asia that is peaceful and prosperous. An Asia where its peoples can deepen their bonds; building on their millennia of interactions.
As a final note, Indonesia is fully committed and ready to build a stronger relation between ASEAN and India for the decades to come.
I thank you.
Bureau for Press, Media, and Information Affairs
Speech at The ASEAN-INDIA