Carrying on the momentum from the ASEAN-India summit in January, India will hold another round of Delhi Dialogue with ASEAN leaders on July 19-20, official sources have said. The dialogue is an important platform for engagement with ASEAN, which acts as the fulcrum of India's Act East Policy, on political, security and economic issues.
Among those who have confirmed their participation are Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Vietnam deputy foreign minister Vu Hong Nam.
This will be the 10th round of Delhi Dialogue which has been held annually since 2009. Political leaders, policymakers, senior officials, diplomats, business leaders, think tanks and academicians from both sides participated in the discussions.
Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj will chair the ministerial session on July 19. Economic ties between India and ASEAN will again be under focus with the latter looking at India to conclude negotiations soon for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
RCEP is a free trade area (FTA) consisting of 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners — India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
"RCEP will be a game changer. We must work towards early conclusion of RCEP by the end of this year," visiting Singapore finance minister Heng Swee Keat had said last month.
India is currently ASEAN's sixth largest trading partner. The RCEP aims at liberalising norms for trade in goods and services and boost investment among 16-member countries.