India unveils $1 billion soft loan for ASEAN projects

Modi at ASEAN

KUALA LUMPUR: Taking its partnership with ASEAN to new heights, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled a line of credit of $1 billion to promote connectivity projects between India and ASEAN and focused on enhancing security cooperation to deal with the scourge of terrorism.

Announcing the $1 billion soft loan at the 13thIndia-ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Modi described India and ASEAN as two  bright spots of optimism  against the backdrop of “multiple global challenges: economic uncertainties, political turmoil and security threats.”

Underlining that connectivity will be the key feature of India’s enhanced engagement with ASEAN, Mr Modi announced that the Trilateral Highway project linking India, Thailand and Myanmar should be completed by 2018.

“We also propose to commit a Line of Credit of 1.0 billion U.S. dollars to promote projects that support physical and digital connectivity between India and ASEAN.

As in the past, we place special emphasis on our partnership with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam,” said Mr Modi.

In his address before the leaders of ASEAN countries, the Indian leader laid out a blueprint for expanding economic and security cooperation between India and the region across the spectrum.

Besides focusing on expanding trade and investment, Mr Modi stressed on increasing cooperation between India and ASEAN on a host of cross-cutting challenges like terrorism, piracy and maritime security.

“Terrorism has emerged as a major global challenge that affects us all here. We have excellent bilateral cooperation with ASEAN members,” Mr Modi said. “And, we should see how we can enhance our cooperation at the regional and international level, including through support for adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism,” he added.

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