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India-Asean officials meet, discuss connectivity

Vijay Thakur Singh with the representatives of other countries at the 21st ASEAN-India Senior Officials' Meeting in New Delhi,

New Delhi,April 13 (UITV/IANS) - A two-day meeting of 21st Asean-India Senior Officials concluded here on Friday after they discussed ways to impart impetus to connectivity and deepen cooperation on financial matters.

The meeting was co-chaired by Vijay Thakur Singh, Senior Officials' Meeting Leader (SOM) and Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry and Busaya Mathelin, SOM Leader and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand.

India congratulated Thailand on its assuming the Chairmanship of Asean for 2019 and welcomed its role as country coordinator of the Asean-India dialogue parternship for the period 2018-2021.

An MEA release said that the meeting reviewed the Asean-India strategic partnership and its future direction.

"They made their assessment on the progress of cooperation under all three pillars - political-security, economic and socio-cultural. The SOM leaders also exchanged views on regional and international issues of interest," it said.

The release said they agreed to deepen maritime cooperation as decided at the Asean-India commemorative summit 2018. In this context, they proposed to undertake a variety of measures, including enhanced cooperation in blue economy.

"The meeting desired to impart impetus to Asean-India connectivity, in all its forms. It also welcomed the commissioning of the ERIA study on the trilateral highway and its extension to Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam as well as the proposal on formation of digital villages in the Asean countries, under digital connectivity.

"They also discussed ways and means to further deepen cooperation on financial matters," the release said.

The meeting decided to impart urgency to cooperation in renewable energy and hold a conference in 2019.

The release said that Asean-India partnership is being implemented through the 'Plan of Action (2016-20)' and is making good progress along the 30 mechanisms to implement cooperation in the different sectors.