ASEAN-India Partnership to Improve Health, Digital Cooperation
Date 12 November 2020
A variety of important changes that occur in the Indo-Pacific region and the world will provide an opportunity for ASEAN countries to further strengthen partnerships with other countries in the surrounding region such as India, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said.
The President expressed belief that ASEAN and India can strengthen cooperation in various fields to face a wide range of challenges in the future.
According to the President, India can serve as ASEAN’s strategic partner in strengthening medical capacity in the region, particularly to tackle the pandemic, including increased production capacity of COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, raw materials for the production of medicines, and doing joint research and development in the health sector.
“We must push healthcare access at affordable prices for all,” President Jokowi said in his remarks at the 17th ASEAN-India Summit from the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java Province, Thursday (12/11).
In addition to the health sector, the ASEAN-India partnership could be directed towards restoring the regional economy, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the growth of digital platforms has been able to drive the economy.
According to the President, as one of the countries with a large and rapidly growing digital economy ecosystem, India can expand cooperation with ASEAN member states, which are also developing their digital economy potential.
On that occasion, the President said that collaboration in increasing cybersecurity is essential. Therefore, he welcomed India’s scholarship program for 1,000 ASEAN scientists.
“I warmly welcome doctoral scholarships for 1,000 ASEAN scientists to study at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). The initiative of His Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi was rolled out in 2018. The collaboration will cement the basis for ASEAN-India digital cooperation,” the President said.
President Jokowi further said that economic recovery requires each country to expand trade. The Head of State was convinced that India can eventually join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to improve competitiveness and supply chains in the Indo-Pacific.
“Expanding India’s connectivity with ASEAN is the key to strengthening cooperation in various fields,” he said.
At the end of his remarks, the President said that the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific can play a significant role in making the Indo-Pacific a stable, safe, and peaceful region, adding that the synergy between the ASEAN Outlook and the Indian-Pacific Ocean Initiative will further strengthen ASEAN-India cooperation. (BPMI / UN)
Translated by: Syarifah Aisyah
Reviewed by: Muhardi