India will host the foreign ministers of ASEAN countries from June 16-17 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its relations with the 10-nation group.
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Arindam Bagshi said Myanmar’s participation in the ASEAN-India foreign ministers meeting would be based on the gathering rules, which is seen as an indication that the country’s foreign minister is unlikely to be in New Delhi.
ASEAN’s position on including Myanmar in multilateral forums in the wake of that country’s military coup last year has been that it should be on a non-political level.
“India will host the Special Meeting of the ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers (SAIFMM) from June 16 to 17 to mark the 30th anniversary of our dialogue relations and the 10th anniversary of our strategic partnership with ASEAN,” Baghi told a press briefing.
He said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan will co-chair the meeting.
Singapore’s foreign minister is India’s country coordinator in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Baghti said foreign ministers of other ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretary General would participate in SAIFMM.
2022 has been designated as the year of friendship between ASEAN and India. Asked about Myanmar’s participation, Baghe said it would be in accordance with ASEAN rules.
There were indications that India was unlikely to invite Myanmar’s foreign minister to the meeting and instead would invite an official. On 1 February last year, Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup and imposed a state of emergency after arresting Nobel Prize winner Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy.
The country witnessed massive protests in the aftermath of the coup. The international community strongly criticized the coup. Dialogue relations between ASEAN and India began with the establishment of a Sectoral Partnership in 1992 which transitioned to a Full Dialogue Partnership in December 1995, a Summit-level Partnership in 2002, and a Strategic Partnership in 2012.
“Today, the strategic partnership between ASEAN and India rests on a solid foundation. ASEAN is central to India’s policy towards the East and its vision for the broader Indo-Pacific region,” Bagshi said. “This multi-faceted partnership includes many sectoral dialogue mechanisms and working groups that meet regularly at various levels and include the annual summit, ministerial meetings and senior officials,” he said.
Ongoing cooperation between India and ASEAN is guided by the Action Plan 2021-2025 adopted in 2020. While the ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM), hosted by the ASEAN President, is an annual event, SAIFMM will be the first India to host FMM from ASEAN and India in New Delhi.
SAIFMM will precede the 24th Senior Officials Meeting from ASEAN and India on June 15. SAIFMM will accompany the 12th edition of the Delhi Dialogue, the main 1.5 track dialogue in the ASEAN Calendar and India, which will be hosted by India in June. 16-17.
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