New Delhi, MINA – With the clear intent of giving a push to India’s ‘Act East’ policy, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will undertake her first overseas visit in 2018 to South-east Asian countries of Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore from 4-8 January, The Statesman reported.
Her visit to the resource-rich region, which is also being feverishly wooed by China, is taking place ahead of the visit of ten ASEAN leaders to India as chief guests at the Republic Day parade.
On the first leg of the visit, Swaraj will be in Thailand on 4-5 January to hold talks with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and other leaders.
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 countries, the External Affairs Ministry said. Thailand will assume the role of coordinator country for India-ASEAN relations in the middle of 2018.
During the visit to Indonesia on 5-6 January, The Indian minister will co-chair the 5th meeting of India-Indonesia Joint Commission with her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi. The two ministers will also inaugurate the second meeting of ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks. Swaraj will also meet the Indonesian President and other leaders, including new Secretary General of ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi.
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 at the bilateral and multilateral levels.
During her visit to Singapore on 6-8 January, Swaraj will inaugurate the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) of ASEAN countries on 7 January.
The theme of the event is “Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic ASEAN-India Partnership”. She will have bilateral meetings with the leaders in Singapore and also interactions with PIO delegations from ASEAN countries, who are participating in the PBD.
On all three legs of her visit, Swaraj will share with her interlocutors relevant information about the forthcoming ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit which marks 25 years since the establishment of Dialogue Partnership between Indian and ASEAN. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)