January 26, 2018
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attended the 25th ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi on 25 January together with leaders of ASEAN.
“There still exists ample room for deepening the existing cooperation between ASEAN and India and further strengthening ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership in the future,” said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the plenary session of the summit.
“The peoples of ASEAN member States and the people of India have close traditional ties and share cultural affinities that go back to historic times. The civilizations of ASEAN and India have been enriched by cross cultural exchanges over the decades,” she said.
“I would like to claim that my own country, Myanmar, has the strongest cultural and historical linkages with India. The struggle to free ourselves from colonial rule established solid ties between us. Our geographical location makes Myanmar India’s important gateway to the East serving as the land bridge between India and ASEAN,” she added.
“Reflecting upon the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations, Myanmar values the tangible developments and sustained progress in multi-sectoral cooperation and strategic partnership between ASEAN and India over the past two and a half decades,” said the State Counsellor.
“We are delighted with India’s Act East Policy and growing willingness to intensify its engagements with ASEAN. This important foreign policy of India, coupled with ASEAN’s outward looking policy, has further strengthened the existing relations and cooperation between India and ASEAN,” said the State Counsellor.
India is the 8th largest trading partner of ASEAN and its trade is amounted to 2.6% of the ASEAN’s total trade.
“We are therefore confident that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will open up greater market opportunities for the ASEAN Member States and India in the near future,” said the State Counsellor.
“We are grateful to India for its unwavering support for ASEAN Connectivity initiative through its US$ 1 billion Line of Credit to enhance sea, air, land and digital connectivity,” said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
She also stressed the importance of connectivity to promote trade and people to people links, saying that Myanmar has placed the highest emphasis on infrastructure projects related to connectivity.
The State Counsellor also welcomed the extension of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway to link up with Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
“In this regard, we thank India and Thailand for their contributions towards the improvement or upgrading of roads in Myanmar, which will become part of the Trilateral Highway linking India and ASEAN,” said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
“In the bilateral context, we are pleased to see growing momentum in the further consolidation of traditional ties of friendship and bilateral relations between India and Myanmar with the frequent exchange of high-level visits,” said the State Counsellor.
“I recall with great pleasure the recent fruitful visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar in September 2017 which broadened the areas of mutually beneficial cooperation and further enhanced closer relations and friendship between our two countries and peoples,” said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
We have initiated a number of major infrastructure projects which can link India to Southeast Asia.
The State Counsellor also invited the Indian and ASEAN business communities to invest in Myanmar’s Thilawa Economic Zone and Dawei and Kyauk Phyu Deep Seaports which will give an immense boost to the connectivity and promote regional and international trade.
“Furthermore, we are confident that transport infrastructure projects such as India-Myanmar-Thai Trilateral Highway Project, Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project connecting North Western regions of Myanmar and North Eastern regions of India will serve as India’s major gateway to Southeast Asia,” said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
“On this special occasion of the 25th anniversary, we look forward to the adoption of the proposed “Delhi Declaration” which will serve as a milestone document to intensify the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership for Peace, Progress and shared Prosperity in the years ahead,” said the State Counsellor.
In conclusion, she expressed Myanmar’s commitment to work closely with fellow ASEAN Member States and India to strengthen the ASEAN-India relations and strategic partnership.