India attaches high priority to ASEAN's theme of enhancing connectivity under Laos' chairmanship

World Monday 01/July/2024 10:13 AM
India attaches high priority to ASEAN's theme of enhancing connectivity under Laos' chairmanship

Vientiane : India attaches high priority to ASEAN's theme of enhancing connectivity and resilience, under the chairmanship of Laos, and is working with the partner countries to promote connectivity in the region, the Indian Ambassador to Lao PDR, Prashant Agrawal, said on Sunday.

Notably, Laos is the chair of the ASEAN bloc in 2024.

Speaking to ANI, Prakash Agrawal said, "Under Laos' chairmanship of ASEAN this year 2024, the theme is enhancing connectivity and resilience. And we share the high priority attached to this theme. We have been working with ASEAN in promoting connectivity in several dimensions."

He also praised India's Indo Pacific Ocean Initiative, and people-to-people connectivity ties between the two nations.

"Apart from digital connectivity, I would also like to talk about synergies between India's own Indo Pacific Ocean Initiative announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with ASEAN outlook on Indo Pacific and of course, people to people connectivity, which has a civilizational and cultural dimension, which also getting boost by booming tourist exchanges," he said.

"Lao PDR, bilaterally as well as in the ASEAN framework, sees India as a net provider of stability and security. In this regard, our interaction is widely welcomed by ASEAN countries including Lao PDR," the Indian Ambassador added.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political and economic union of 10 states in Southeast Asia, namely, Brunei Darussalam, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

 Agrawal hailed India's progress in creating digital public infrastructure and said it is admired widely across the region. He also emphasized that Laos is collaborating to develop DPI both with India, and regionally with ASEAN countries.

"India's path-breaking progress for creating digital public infrastructure and through it achieving financial inclusion, is very widely admired across this region. Our collaboration to create digital infrastructure is our shared high priority on which we are working bilaterally as well as regionally with ASEAN member countries, including Laos, bilaterally," the Indian envoy said.

"We have offered specific initiatives. We are working on arrangements. The Prime Minister of India announced the digital fund at the ASEAN Summit last year, which is going to be operationalized. So there are specific initiatives taking place in this area," he added.

The Indian Ambassador also spoke on the recent incident where some Indian nationals were duped by scammers offering work opportunity there.

 Agrawal advised Indian youth to exercise "utmost caution" on being offered job opportunities there and ascertain how genuine and safe these offers are, for which they can also contact the Indian Embassy Lao PDR.

"The Embassy has issued a very detailed advisory, which is being very well disseminated and is available on our website also. The Ministry of External Affairs has also issued a very detailed advisory in this regard," the Indian envoy said.

He added, "Essentially, what we want of our youth is to exercise utmost caution. If they are told of any opportunity in this region, they must do their own diligence and dissidents...We have given our phone numbers and contact details, they are most welcome to contact us to ascertain whether the offers are bonafide and genuine, before they travel out of India or make payments and so on. So that is extremely essential that people exercise utmost caution before accepting any such offers."

Last month, Indian Embassy in Laos rescued 13 Indians, who were lured into illegal work in Laos. Prior to this, 17 Indian workers were rescued in Laos and were repatriated to India in April as well.