New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday attended the 18th ASEAN-India Summit via video conferencing. In his address, the PM said that the challenges faced during the COVID era posed a "test of India-ASEAN friendship".

Emphasising on the challenges faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Modi said that the mutual cooperation during this time will keep strengthening the relations in the future and form the base for goodwill between the people.

"Due to COVID-19, all of us had to face a lot of challenges, this challenging time was also a test of India-ASEAN friendship. Our mutual cooperation in the COVID era will keep strengthening our relations in the future and form a base for goodwill between our people," PM Modi said in this address.

The ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership stands on a strong foundation of shared geographical, historical and civilizational ties. ASEAN is central to India's Act East Policy. The year 2022 will mark 30 years of ASEAN-India relations.

"In 2022, our partnership would complete 30 years. India will also complete 75 years of its independence. I am delighted that we will celebrate this important milestone as ASEAN-India Friendship Year," PM Modi added.

He also said that history is witness to the fact that India and ASEAN have had relations since thousands of years.

"Our shared values, traditions, languages, texts, architecture, culture and food are the glimpses of these relations,” the Prime Minister further said, adding this is the reason that why the unity and centrality of ASEAN has always been an important priority for India," the PM said.

The ASEAN-India summits, which are held annually, provide the opportunity for India and ASEAN to engage at the highest level.

PM Modi attended the 17th ASEAN-India Summit held virtually in November last year. The latest edition will be the ninth ASEAN-India Summit to be attended by him.

India and ASEAN have several dialogue mechanisms which meet regularly, including a Summit, Ministerial meetings and Senior Officials' meetings. External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar attended the ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers' Meeting and EAS Foreign Ministers' Meeting in August 2021 virtually.

Posted By: Subhasish Dutta