Foreign ministers of India and the ASEAN nations on Thursday agreed to work towards a “meaningful and substantive” comprehensive strategic partnership even as the two sides explored ways to navigate the implications of the developments in Ukraine on trade and regional security.

In his opening address at a special meeting of India-ASEAN foreign ministers in Delhi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar referred to the “geopolitical headwinds” triggered by the Ukraine crisis and its knock-on effects on food, energy security and prices of fertilisers and commodities as well as the impact on logistics and supply chains.

In the meeting, the two sides resolved to expand cooperation in key sectors such as trade, connectivity, defence, vaccine production and clean energy, and agreed to review the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to ensure a more user friendly, simple and trade facilitation.

The visiting foreign ministers also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed various aspects of cooperation between the two sides.

India hosted the conclave to mark the 30th anniversary of its relations with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and it was attended by foreign ministers of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam while Lao PDR, Philippines and Thailand sent representatives of their foreign ministers.

There was no representation from Myanmar as it is learnt that India did not invite the Myanmarese foreign minister in sync with ASEAN’s consensus following the military coup in that country last year that engagement with it should be at the non-political and non-military level.

Source: TREND News Agency

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