Foreign ministers from India and ASEAN meet in New Delhi to agree on a coordinated response to global concerns


Foreign Ministers of India and ASEAN countries agreed on Thursday to uphold multilateralism in jointly responding to regional and global challenges, as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar highlighted the “geopolitical headwinds” triggered by the Ukraine crisis and their knock-on effects on food, energy security, fertiliser and commodity prices, as well as logistics and supply chains.

Due to Myanmar’s absence from the India-ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting, the joint statement issued following the meeting made no mention of the country’s circumstances.

They reaffirmed their “commitment to multilateralism founded on the principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and other relevant UN treaties and conventions, maintain an open and inclusive regional cooperation framework, and support ASEAN Centrality in the evolving rules-base,” according to a statement obliquely referring to China’s assertiveness in the region.

India firmly supports a strong, united, and prosperous ASEAN with a prominent position in the Indo-Pacific, according to Jaishankar, and both sides should establish a new set of priorities as they navigate the “arduous path” that has resulted from the events in Ukraine.

The two-day conference is being held in India to commemorate the 30th anniversary of India’s relations with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Myanmar are all members of ASEAN.

Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Foreign Minister, condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, stating that such acts, if left unchecked, might jeopardise the “whole system of peace and stability” on which the country’s progress, development, and prosperity had been built for decades.