New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will depart for Jakarta on Wednesday for the 20th ASEAN India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit scheduled for September 7. The Prime Minister will return late evening on September 7, just before the G20 Summit in New Delhi.

“At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, Prime Minister will visit Jakarta for the 20th ASEAN India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit scheduled for the September 7,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Secretary (East) Saurabh Kumar said during a special briefing ahaed of PM Modi’s visit to Jakarta, Indonesia.

The MEA Secretary (East) said: “Prime Minister will depart Delhi on the night of September 6 and return late evening on the September 7. Given that the G20 Summit follows shortly after the ASEAN Summit, it will be a short visit.”

Kumar said India appreciates the Indonesian Government for making adjustments to the ASEAN meeting schedule so as to facilitate Prime Minister's program and his early return.

PM Modi will participate in the ASEAN India Summit along with heads of state or government of the ASEAN member states. East Asia Summit brings together ASEAN members and eight Dialogue Partners, which are Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.

This comes as the 9th ASEAN India Summit to be attended by PM Modi. The Summit is the first one after the elevation of India ASEAN relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership which happened last year.

During the summit, PM Modi will review the progress in ASEAN India relations, according to the MEA Secretary (East).

“India's relations with ASEAN are a central pillar of our Act East policy as well as of India's vision of the wider Indo Pacific. India and ASEAN have a comprehensive engagement covering a wide array of areas at all levels, including seven Ministerial engagements. Besides several official level ones,” he said.

Kumar further said that: “India and ASEAN share similar vision for the Indo Pacific and are committed to building on the synergy between ASEAN's outlook on the Indo Pacific and India's Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative. This year, Indonesia is the Chair of ASEAN. The theme of their chairship is 'ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth'.”

Within this framework, Indonesia organized a flagship event, ASEAN Indo Pacific Forum, to implement ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific. The event is focused on increasing connectivity of ASEAN to the Indo-Pacific by involvement of businesses and industry.

India contributed to this by organizing a panel discussion on digital public infrastructure and its importance for enhancing digital transformation and inclusivity.

The India ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership aims to further deepen practical cooperation in areas including maritime, cybersecurity, digital economy, as well as in new and emerging areas of cooperation. In May this year, India and ASEAN organized their first maritime exercise.

The first ASEAN India Defence Minister's meeting was held in November last year. “Trade and business to business ties are integral to our relations with ASEAN. The fifth ASEAN India Business Summit was held in March this year in Kuala Lumpur, with the aim to enhance business connectivity and supply chain resilience,” the MEA Secretary (East) said during the media briefing.

On the East-Asia summit, he said: “It is the the foremost of the ASEAN centered mechanisms in the IndoPacific. Since its inception in 2005, it has played a significant role in providing a platform for dialogue and discussion on matters of strategic importance to the region.”

“India, as the founding member of the East Asia Summit, has been committed to strengthening of the mechanism and making it more effective to deal with contemporary challenges” he said.

The MEA said the new East Asia Summit plan of action, which was adopted during the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Minister's meeting in July this year also prioritizes cooperation in the Indo Pacific. At the forthcoming East Asia summit, PM Modi and other leaders will discuss ways to further strengthen the EAS mechanism, as well as exchange views on matters of regional and international interest.