From Maritime to Act East Policy: The Delhi Dialogue Commences
New Delhi –
With the Minister of External Affairs – Sushma Swaraj, delivering the keynote address at the 10th edition of the Delhi Dialogue, a variety of pertinent trans-national issues concerning India and other members of the ASEAN were discussed and deliberated upon. One particular issue that stood out among the rest was the maritime partnership.
The importance of this subject is evident as the very theme of this year’s Delhi Dialogue is “Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Co-operation”. Swaraj highlighted that the Summit recognized the importance of the India and ASEAN partnership in maritime affairs with respect to security and sustainability of the oceans and seas.
Also addressing the plenary session was the Minister of State for External Affairs – Gen. VK Singh, who lauded the theme of the Summit as apt and relevant. He further stressed on India’s new Act East Policy which he felt was more “action-driven and result-oriented” than the previous Look East Policy. With reference to the India-ASEAN maritime ties, Singh was optimistic when he said that he firmly believes that this co-operation will “set the tone for future of Indo-Pacific region”.
The Act East Policy, as per Singh, was beyond economic integration and included political, social and cultural dialogue at a much deeper level. It permitted the blending of foreign policy was hence was the new paradigm of development. Carrying out the responsibility of giving welcome remarks, Secretary (East), Preeti Saran highlighted how the Delhi Dialogue has developed into a useful forum to deliberate and develop upon all aspects of ASEAN – India relations.
India has maintained a history of solid maritime co-operation with multiple ASEAN countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand. There was also a ‘Shared Vision of India-Indonesia Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific’ plan unveiled in May between India and Indonesia to boost regional maritime co-operation.
*Rayan Bhattacharya is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team