ASEAN and Indian senior government officials and experts are meeting in New Delhi, India at their fifth dialogue to discuss visions of both sides’ partnership and prosperity.

Opened on February 19, the dialogue sees talks on India-ASEAN security cooperation, non-traditional security challenges, like food security, water management and pandemics, and the future of global energy market with the role of new and renewable energy in sustainable development.

The participants also touch on cooperation between Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam and North-east India and how to expand networks through land, sea and air connectivity.

Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh was among the delegates to the two-day event.

Addressing the opening, Indian Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid said the dialogue creates a forum for government and business representatives to discuss political, economic and security issues of India and ASEAN of mutual concern.

The topic of the dialogue underscores India and ASEAN’s desire to promote their strategic partnership for peace, progress and prosperity, he said.

According to the Indian Minister, India and ASEAN population make up one-fourth of the world’s total and their combined GDP being 3.8 trillion USD.

Two-way trade reached 70 billion USD ahead of schedule last year and the figure will be targeted at 100 billion USD by 2015.

Both sides have jointly settled non-traditional challenges and safeguarded security-political environment. India has actively participated in ASEAN forums and constantly backed ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture, he added.

He also underlined India-ASEAN cooperation in smashing international terrorism, trans-national organised crimes, money laundering, drug trafficking and cyber security.

For his part, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh emphasised India’s “Look East” policy that has been implementing since 1991 to enhance its relations with ASEAN members.

Minh said: “Over the past two decades, ASEAN has engaged India in a relationship which had grown rapidly to a full dialogue partnership in 1995, further strengthened with the convening of annual summits since 2002 and most recently, last year, elevated to strategic partnership.

“From a relationship which mainly emphasised economic cooperation, the ASEAN-India partnership has developed into one of ASEAN’s most comprehensive, dynamic and fast-growing partnerships spanning across a whole spectrum of political-security, economic, social-cultural and development collaboration,” he noted.

He also suggested both ASEAN and Indian officials undertake a mid-term review of the implementation of this Plan of Action and map out the course of actions and possible joint activities from now until 2015.-VNA