PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): Asean and India are committed to strengthening bilateral ties and cooperation in relation to Indo-Pacific issues, Asean centrality, openness, transparency, inclusiveness, good governance, unity and non-interference, with Cambodian lawmaker Chheang Vun saying the partnership had improved in many strategic sectors.
Vun, who is also head of the National Assembly’s (NA) Commission on Economics, Finance, Banking and Auditing, accompanied the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) delegation on their Aug 11-12 visit to India.
The AIPA delegation was led by Cheam Yeab, first vice-president of the NA who visited India in his capacity as acting AIPA rotating chair.
Vun said the visit focused on additional efforts by the legislative branches of Asean and India towards building a comprehensive strategic partnership.
During the visit, the Asean delegation met with senior Indian officials, such as foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
Jaishankar said at the meeting that relations between India and Asean are progressing well in many areas, including socio-economically, culturally and politically. He also appreciated Asean as a region with political and economic stability.
India has been an observer member of AIPA since 2011 at the 31st AIPA conference.
Vun said Jaishankar had hailed reaching this status as a great step for AIPA and India, with both sides having brought the relationship to new heights.
According to Vun, Jaishankar encouraged Asean member states to push for the strong implementation of the Asean-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) in order to facilitate the free flow of goods, help ease obstacles and improve trade and economic relations.
Jaishankar said the Asean-India trade volume had reached nearly US$100 billion, with this demonstrating how beneficial the relationship was.
The AIPA delegation also met with newly elected vice-president of India Jagdeep Dhankhar, who also serves as senate president of the Indian Upper House, the Rajya Sabha.
During the meeting, Yeab and Dhankhar touched on various issues such as the current geopolitical situation, the promoting of democracy and parliamentary diplomacy, as well as expressing intentions to deepen the relationship between AIPA and India through exchange visits.
Yeab also visited the Parliamentary Research and Training Institute for Democracies (PRIDE), where he encouraged increased cooperation on capacity building for lawmakers and parliamentary officials.