India, ASEAN officials meet, review strategic partnership and future direction

The 21st ASEAN-India Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) was held here on April 11-12 when the two sides reviewed their 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, a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said here on Friday.
The SOM Leaders also exchanged views on regional and international issues of interest to ASEAN and India. 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 the sub-sector of Blue Economy.
The meeting was co-chaired by Ms. Vijay Thakur Singh, SOM Leader and Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and Ms. 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 partnership for the period 2018-2021.
The release said 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 the formation of Digital Villages in the ASEAN countries, under digital connectivity.
They also discussed ways and means to further deepen cooperation on financial matters as well as the overall strengthening of the ASEAN Secretariat.
The meeting decided to impart urgency to Cooperation in Renewable Energy and hold an ASEAN-India Conference on Renewable Energy in 2019. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) would be the co-partners for this project.
The ASEAN-India partnership is being implemented through the ‘Plan of Action (2016-20) to implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity’. 
"It is making good progress along the 30 mechanisms to implement cooperation in the different sectors of ASEAN-India cooperation. In this context, a Calendar of ASEAN-India Activities was shared by the two sides for the year 2019," the release added.

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