Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu will head the Indian delegation that will join the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit being held virtually on Thursday and Friday to strengthen multilateralism and post-pandemic economic recovery.
The theme for the summit is “Strengthening multilateralism for shared growth” and the event is expected to see the participation of all 51 member countries, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the European Union (EU).
Cambodia, the current chair of Asean, is hosting the summit, which will also mark the 25th anniversary of the ASEM process. Several heads of states are expected to participate in the summit.
The ASEM agenda for 2021 will prioritise issues related to strengthening multilateralism, post-pandemic socio-economic recovery and development, and other regional and global issues of common concern, India’s external affairs ministry said.
Besides the opening ceremony, Naidu will join the first plenary session and the retreat session of the summit and exchange views on areas such as reformed multilateralism, the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, post-pandemic recovery, mitigating global climate change, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and maritime security.
The ASEM is a platform for countries in Asia and Europe to exchange views on regional and global issues and strengthen collaboration in a wide range of areas emanating from the group’s three pillars – political and security cooperation, economic and financial cooperation, and sociocultural cooperation.
The grouping comprises 51 member countries and two regional organisations, the EU and Asean. Countries in the grouping represent 65% of the global GDP, 60% of the world’s population, 75% of worldwide tourism and 55% of global trade.
The ASEM Summit is a biennial event alternating between a country in Asia and Europe, and it is the foremost event of the process that sets priorities for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe in political, economic, financial, social, cultural and educational issues of common interest in a spirit of equal partnership.
India joined the ASEM process in 2006. The 7th ASEM Summit in 2008 saw the first summit-level participation by India.