During his visit to Indonesia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced a decision to open an Indian embassy in Timor-Leste — an island nation located in Southeast Asia. Prime Minister Modi announced this decision while co-charing the annual ASEAN-India summit in Jakarta. This decision was hailed by Timor-Leste and other ASEAN nations.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the Prime Minister announced the decision to establish an Indian Embassy in Dili — the capital city of Timor-Leste. “Act East in action – Delhi to Dili! At the ASEAN-India Summit in Jakarta, PM @narendramodi announces decision to open our Embassy in Dili, Timor-Leste,” posted Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi on X after PM Modi’s announcement. The decision is a reflection of the importance India attaches to ASEAN, and its relations with Timor Leste, the MEA added.
Timor-Leste’s capital Dili holds importance as it recalls the nation’s struggles for independence from Portugal as well as Indonesia. India was one of the early countries to establish diplomatic relations with Timor Leste and was represented at its Independence Day celebrations in May 2002 by a high-level delegation led by the then Minister of State for External Affairs. An MOU formally establishing diplomatic relations was signed on 24 January 2003.
‘ASEAN is central pillar of India’s Act East policy’
Earlier in the day, PM Modi said that ASEAN is the central pillar of India’s Act East policy and it has an important place in India’s Indo-Pacific initiative. He also termed the engagement with the ASEAN group as an important pillar of India’s ‘Act East Policy’. “Our history and geography unite India and ASEAN. Along with it, our shared values, regional integration, and our shared belief in peace, prosperity and a multipolar world also unite us. ASEAN is the central pillar of India’s Act East Policy. India supports ASEAN’s outlook on ASEAN-India centrality and Indo-Pacific,” PM Modi said in his address.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political and economic union of 10 member states in Southeast Asia. It was established in 1967 in Bangkok with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the founding members of ASEAN: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined ASEAN in 1984, followed by Vietnam in 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.
ASEAN’s primary objectives are
- To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region
- To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter
(With inputs from agencies)