During his intervention at the ASEAN-India Summit on Thursday, Mr Lee said India’s support is “crucial” in addressing common challenges, such as the problem of Myanmar.
“Our external partners and Myanmar’s neighbours, including India, have important roles, working with ASEAN to facilitate national reconciliation,” he said at the summit, attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mr Lee said ASEAN and India should explore “concrete projects” to implement the AOIP and collaborate in emerging areas like clean energy and pandemic preparedness.
“We should also strengthen supply chain resilience and food security to address likely shocks to come,” he added.
Mr Lee also said that ASEAN and India must press on with economic integration.
“We hope that the ongoing review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement will make it more user-friendly and trade facilitative for our businesses,” he said.
AUSTRALIA’S ROLE “IMPORTANT” IN ENSURING SECURITY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
During the ASEAN-Australia Summit also on Thursday, Mr Lee said Singapore welcomes the ASEAN-Australia Joint Leaders’ Statement on Food Security.
It reaffirms the countries’ commitment to unimpeded trade and flow of food products, and to building more resilient and sustainable agrifood systems.
“The war in Ukraine and adverse weather events caused by climate change have disrupted agricultural production and food value chains,” Mr Lee said at the forum, attended by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Mr Lee also welcomed the signing of an upgraded ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area two weeks ago, which he said strengthens the countries’ supply chains and reduces business costs, while setting standards for emerging areas of cooperation like the digital economy.
He noted that ASEAN has just launched negotiations on an ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement and hopes to work with Australia “as a frontrunner in this field”.
Separately, Mr Lee said that he hopes that ASEAN can leverage on Australia’s expertise in the deployment of renewable energy.
“The Clean Energy and Climate Transition track for next year’s Special Summit with Australia is thus timely,” he said.
But Mr Lee also called on ASEAN and Australia to work on tangible projects under the AOIP to further underpin Australia’s role in the Indo-Pacific, even as Australia’s “firm commitment” to the AOIP signals its continued support for ASEAN centrality.
“Australia’s contributions have been an important factor in ensuring the security and stability of Southeast Asia,” he added.
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