East Asia Summit Officers Meet held

Jun 24: Secretary (East) Smt. Riva Ganguly Das attended the East Asia Summit Senior Officials’ Meeting (EAS SOM) on 24 June 2021. The virtual Meeting was chaired by Permanent Secretary of Brunei Darussalam H.E. Ms. Emaleen Abdul Rahman Teo, and saw the participation of Senior Officials from 18 EAS countries.

The Meeting discussed ways and means to strengthen the Leaders-led EAS platform and to make it more effective and responsive in the face of emerging challenges. The Senior Officials exchanged views on the current regional and international developments including the COVID-19 pandemic and the post-pandemic recovery, South China Sea, Korean peninsula, developments in Myanmar and terrorism. The Meeting also reviewed the status of commitments made by participating countries under the EAS framework and the progress in the implementation of the Manila Plan of Action (2018-2022).

Secretary (East), in her remarks, expressed India’s appreciation for the leadership role played by Brunei Darussalam as the current Chair of ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanisms. She underlined the key role played by EAS as a leading mechanism for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and reiterated India’s support to make it stronger and more responsive. Emphaising the importance of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region with ASEAN at its centre, she noted the strong convergence between ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) which provides common ground for enhancing regional cooperation.

During the meeting, Secretary (East) also underlined India’s interest in maintaining peace and stability, freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in keeping with international law. She also conveyed that the Code of Conduct, being negotiated, should not prejudice the legitimate interests of third parties and should be fully consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

On developments in Myanmar, she expressed India’s support for the ASEAN process and conveyed that as a friend and close neighbour of Myanmar, India will continue to play a constructive and meaningful role in resolving the current situation there. She also put forward India’s stand on terrorism among other issues.

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