Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have a packed schedule in Manila today as he attends the opening ceremony of the 15th ASEAN–India summit and holds bilateral meetings with US President Donald Trump and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
Modi arrived in the Philippines capital yesterday for a three-day visit during which he will also attend the 12th East Asia meet tomorrow.
Modi and Trump, who met briefly at a gala dinner yesterday, would discuss counter-terrorism, trade and the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region, where China has been expanding its military presence, sources said.
Issues related to South China Sea, North Korea’s nuclear missile tests and the overall security architecture in the region will come up for discussion during the ASEAN summit tomorrow, diplomats said.
On the sidelines of the main events, Modi is also likely to have a series of other bilateral meetings with his counterparts of Japan and Australia, Shinzo Abe and Malcolm Turnbull.
Officials are also working on a meeting between Modi and Chinese premier Li Keqiang.
Modi will address the ASEAN-India and East Asia summits tomorrow and take part in the special celebrations of the ASEAN grouping’s 50th anniversary.
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are among the other prominent leaders who are in Manila.
The Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
“Every single country in the ASEAN region wants India to be more engaged in the region in every possible way. That is the real synergy we have with ASEAN,” Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Jaideep Mazumdar told PTI.
Counter-terrorism measures and radicalisation are among the issues to be discussed at the meets apart from maritime security, non-proliferation and migration.
Apart from the 10 ASEAN member nations, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.
Modi will also participate in the ASEAN Business and investment summit as well as a meeting of leaders of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The RCEP, comprising the ASEAN bloc and six other countries — India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand — is engaged in negotiations for a free trade pact.
The ASEAN countries and India together have a population of 1.85 billion people, and a combined GDP of over USD3.8 trillion. The investment between them range between USD40–70 billion.