EAS & ARF Senior Officials Meeting in Vientiane

Jun 10: The EAS SOM held on 7 June 2024 was chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister of Lao PDR, H.E Mr. Thongphane Savanphet. Counterparts from 18 EAS Participating Countries (10 ASEAN Member States and 8 Dialogue Partners of ASEAN namely, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, RoK, Russia, and the US) and Timor-Leste took part in the EAS SOM. The main issues discussed included strengthening the leaders-led EAS platform, implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP), and regional and international issues such as the situation in the South China Sea, Gaza, the Korean Peninsula, Myanmar, and Ukraine. Secretary (East), in his intervention, stressed the key role played by EAS as the premier mechanism to promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. He noted the strong convergence between the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and the AOIP. The participants welcomed the invitation extended by India to the 6th EAS Conference on Maritime Security Cooperation to be held in Mumbai on 4-5 July 2024.

​The ASEAN Regional Forum Senior Officials’ Meeting (ARF SOM) held on 8 June 2024 was attended by Senior Officials of ARF Member States and chaired by Lao PDR as the current Chair of ASEAN. Activities and exchanges under ARF over the past year were reviewed and plans and activities were discussed at the meeting. Senior Officials exchanged views on regional and international developments, as well as issues related to maritime and cyber security, among others. Secretary (East) appreciated the role of the ASEAN-led mechanisms, and ARF in particular, in the emerging regional architecture for promoting mutual trust and understanding in the region. He shared our concern about the threats posed by terrorism and called for collective action in this regard. Participants appreciated the co-chairing by India of the 15th ARF Inter-sessional Meeting on Maritime Security along with Indonesia and the United States in May 2024. India has also been leading the training module on the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, along with the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.

During the visit, the Secretary (East) held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Lao PDR, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia, the Philippines, and the European Union. Bilateral cooperation was reviewed and perspectives on the region were shared during the meetings.

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