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India and ASEAN have emerged as rising Asian powers in the new millennium with fast-growing new economies. Their formidable demographic dividend and a population commanding a considerably high purchasing power have given to this region an immense potential for growth-centric mutual cooperation. While India’s civilisational, cultural and commercial trade links with the region go back many centuries, renewed and revitalised engagement within the region has come about with India’s Act East Policy which was formally enunciated by India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at the 12th ASEAN-India Summit held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, in November 2014.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership in 2017, India Foundation, in collaboration with ASEAN Secretariat and Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India (MEA), organised the first India-ASEAN Youth Summit 2017, themed on Shared Values, Common Destiny. The Youth Summit elicited a very positive response and resulted in an ongoing association between the delegates which continues till date. It provided a platform for youth leaders of both India and ASEAN to engage with each other to develop a resilient and symbiotic relationship between countries. This is reflective of the close cultural and civilisational links that have bound India with South East Asia over millennia.
Such exchanges play a significant role in bringing together hearts and minds to discuss and deliberate policies and contemporary issues, to boost ties between the respective nations and to usher the region into an era of shared prosperity. When young leaders get involved in such exchanges, they achieve higher levels of understanding of each other’s culture, politics, societies, traditions and concerns. Friendships established at this level last a lifetime and have the potential to bridge many a challenge that the countries of the region are facing and which they are likely to face in future.
Building on the success of the first India-ASEAN Youth Summit, 2017, India Foundation and Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India (MEA) are organising the 2nd ASEAN-India Youth Summit on the theme “Connectivity: Pathway to Shared Prosperity” in Guwahati from 03-07 February 2019.
This confluence of youth leaders from India and the ten ASEAN countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam will lead to a shared understanding of the challenges we face and the actions that we need to take to restore and nourish connectivity in all dimensions within the region. Promising young leaders from India and ASEAN will get an opportunity to participate in brainstorming events over the course of five days and they will be mentored by thought leaders from the region.
Participants will represent some of the largest institutions in their respective countries including political parties, think-tanks, media and cultural organisations who will come together for renewed thinking on key pillars of the India-ASEAN relationship and create institutional co-operation across the India-ASEAN region.
Connectivity with ASEAN in all its dimensions—physical, institutional and people-to-people continues to be a strategic priority for India. In that regard, ASEAN-India Youth Summit is a step to facilitate socio-cultural exchanges between the countries of the region, to further strengthen the values of tolerance, pluralism and diversity, which is an integral part of the traditions of India and the countries of ASEAN.