The 15th ASEAN-India Senior Officials Meeting (AISOM) issued a statement in New Delhi on Feb. 21, affirming the event was the first official engagement between ASEAN and India following the elevation of the relationship to a strategic partnership.

At the meeting, senior officials from 10 ASEAN countries, Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN and Indian officials discussed ways to implement the ASEAN-India Vision Statement of the ASEAN leaders and Indian Prime Minister at the ASEAN-India Summit on Dec. 20 last year in New Delhi .

The head delegate of Brunei, Chair of ASEAN, stressed the role of the ASEAN people in realizing the objective of the ASEAN Community, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity and ASEAN’s central role in the political security and economic architecture in East Asia .

The official also appreciated India’s efforts in setting up Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs) and Centres for English Language Training (CELTs) in the region.

AISOM discussed India’s important and constructive contributions to the region and emphasized the intensification of cooperation between ASEAN and India to overcome challenges relating to international terrorism, piracy and drugs trafficking and India's contributions to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) and Expanded Maritime Forum.

The meeting underscored the necessity for cooperation between the two sides in agriculture, science-technology, trade, renewable energy, tourism, environment and connectivity

It supported joint efforts to prepare for the signing of a Free Trade Agreement on Services and Investment by ASEAN and Indian Economic Ministers in August this year.

The event highlighted various initiatives during the Commemorative Year 2012 to improve people-to-people interactions between ASEAN and India .

The participants agreed that the next AISOM and the eighth East Asia Summit will be held on Oct. 9-10 this year in Brunei.-VNA