A virtual ASEAN-India ministerial meeting recently reviewed the strategic partnership between the two regions. The first major interaction with ASEAN after India walked out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the meeting reviewed the progress in implementation of the ASEAN-India plan of action (2016-2020). It also adopted a new plan of action for the next five years besides reviewing the preparations for the upcoming 17th ASEAN-India summit.
Ministers discussed ways to strengthen cooperation to fight the pandemic and exchanged views on important regional and international developments. India, China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia are the six prominent members of the ASEAN. The RCEP was to be a free trade agreement among these six countries. However, India stayed away as it does not safeguard our interests. Indian analysts hope ASEAN will tilt towards the Quad (US-India-Australia-Japan) in the contestation of South China Sea. However, China has been resisting Quad’s efforts to raise bilateral ties with member countries.