Hyderabad: The three-day, 4th Edition of the ASEAN-India Youth Summit, held under the auspices of the Ministry of External Affairs, the Government of India held at Leonia Resort here on Sunday evening.
ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn, speaking virtually on the occasion, called upon the delegates to work towards strengthening relations amongst the ASEAN nations, which would lead to greater collaboration and cooperation in critical areas.
He underscored the imperative of the youth playing a greater role with a passion to bring desirable changes to the Indo-Pacific region with an objective to ensure global peace.
Union Minister of Culture, Tourism, and DONER G Kishan Reddy who inaugurated the Summit said that ASEAN nations have shared a civilizational legacy rooted in Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
He further said that the shared values include deep cultural and spiritual bonds that come from the Buddhist legacy, common themes from the Hindu epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the shared roots of the Sanskrit and Tamil languages, and symbiotic dependence on the monsoons. It also includes a commitment to peace.
Detailing the “Act East Policy” of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kishan Reddy said that the policy is anchored around the “3 Cs”—Commerce, Connectivity, and Culture—for strengthening collective engagement.
He said the North Eastern Region of India is the gateway to implementing a vibrant East Asia Policy. He stated that the Government of India has spent over USD 50 billion (4 lakh crores) in the NorthEast Region over the last 8.5 years to improve physical connectivity via roads, railways, airways, waterways, and info-ways (the internet).
Kishan Reddy said the fact that India’s total trade with ASEAN was US 42.3 billion in the 2021–22 financial year, which is approximately 10 percent of India’s global trade, evidences the growing bond amongst the ASEAN nations.
He called upon the youth of ASEAN to strive for holistic connectivity with ASEAN in all its dimensions, which include physical, cultural, economic, institutional, and people-to-people. This continues to be a strategic priority for India.
In that regard, he hoped that the ASEAN-India Youth Summit would be a step towards furthering socio-cultural exchanges between the countries of the region and strengthening the values of tolerance, pluralism, and diversity.
Recalling the India-ASEAN Digital Work Plan 2023, which was announced recently, he said capacity building and knowledge sharing in emerging areas in the field of information and communication technologies, such as cyber security, application of IoT (the Internet of Things), 5G technologies for IoT and future trends, artificial intelligence (AI) in Next Generation Smart Cities and Society 5.0, and leveraging digital health platforms and tools, are going to be the key areas for further engagement of the nations.
He expressed confidence that the summit and confluence of youth leaders from India and the ten ASEAN countries will lead to a shared understanding of the challenges ASEAN nations face commonly.
Over 100 delegates from Southeast Asian nations of Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand, along with 60 delegates from across India, will deliberate on wide-ranging issues for the next three days.