External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday said India and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are natural partners and both of them share the vision of a stable, secure and prosperous Asia Pacific region.
"As we enter the third decade of our partnership, we share our sense of achievement over the last two decades in all the three pillars of our cooperation. I would like to place on record our sincere appreciation to every one of you for having put the building blocks of our strategic partnership in place," Khurshid said in his opening remarks at ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers´ meeting.
"I would especially like to thank Brunei Darussalam, the current Country Coordinator, and Cambodia, the Country Coordinator before Brunei Darussalam, for their constructive and positive roles to further this strategic partnership," he said.
The Minister said: "The fact that ASEAN and India are natural partners is our collective strength. We often say that our partnership with ASEAN is the foundation of our Look East Policy. It is a natural and mutually enhancing partnership where both historical basis and future ambitions make the vectors of our interests congruent in an unparalleled manner."
He said India and ASEAN share the vision of a stable, secure and prosperous Asia Pacific region.
"The decision of the ASEAN Leaders and Prime Minister to upgrade the relationship into a strategic partnership was a natural progression to the ground covered since India became a Sectoral Partner of the ASEAN in 1992, Dialogue Partner in 1996 and Summit Level Partner in 2002," Khurshid said.
He said the road-map in the Vision Statement of our Leaders for the future of the ASEAN-India strategic partnership has sound foundations.
Khurshid said: "The rapid pace and momentum in the meetings and events in the run up to our celebrations at the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit saw an overwhelming involvement of the people in our countries."
"A calendar led by Governments became fully participative of the people, industry and media. Mid-way through the implementation of the ASEAN-India Plan of Action for 2010-15, we already have seen progress in most of the areas and we are on track for the execution of this Plan ahead of time, if we can fast track some of our project proposals in the pipeline," he said.