India is working towards improving digital connectivity between India and ASEAN. This was stated by Shri Manoj Sinha, Hon’ble Minister of State for Communication (Independent Charge), Government of India. Shri Sinha was speaking at the Valedictory Session of the ASEAN - India Connectivity Summit being organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs and the ASEAN - India Centre at RIS in New Delhi today. According to Mr. Sinha, digital connectivity between the two regions will benefit a lot of lives.
He pointed out that India was already connected digitally with the ASEAN region with Singapore as a hub. Given the rapid growth in digital services, this needed to be strengthened.
Talking about India’s experience with the Digital India program, he stated that India was keen to learn from the best practices followed by countries in the ASEAN region to strengthen digital connectivity within the country.
Mr. Tauch Chankosal, Secretary of State, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Cambodia stated that India and ASEAN need to work together to facilitate cross-border trade in order to boost growth. He reiterated Cambodia’s commitment to working towards India-ASEAN connectivity. He stated that maritime connectivity was key to boosting India - ASEAN connectivity. To facilitate maritime connectivity, Cambodia was in the process of negotiating with private investors to create a private highway to and from its major ports.
Ms. Preeti Saran, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs stated that connectivity would determine how India and ASEAN will grow in the future and it is with this in mind that India is undertaking several initiatives related to connectivity with the ASEAN region. She was of the view that the three “C’s” - Commerce, Culture and Connectivity will define India’s relationship with South East Asia.
Some of the connectivity related initiatives that India was undertaking included building of roads in to link India’s Northeast to the ASEAN region, strengthening maritime security and establishment of new trade routes between India and South East Asia.
Dr. Prabir De, Coordinator, ASEAN - India Centre (AIC), RIS highlighted some of the outcomes of the Summit. He stated that India and ASEAN have formed Joint Working Groups to harmonise ASEAN - India maritime, road and aviation connections. Plans have been put in place to enhance digital connectivity between the two regions. Island connectivity also took centre stage at the Summit. There was also a need to look at ways of conserving ocean resources.
Dr. De highlighted the need to transform the transport corridors that were being developed into economic corridors by developing manufacturing zones around them. There was also a need to integrate with the other regional initiatives in the region e.g. BIMSTEC.
Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, President Designate, CII stated that the ASEAN - India relationship needed a reinvigorated approach with greater private sector participation. He stated that the ASEAN - India Connectivity Summit was being institutionalized as an Annual Event.
December 12, 2017