His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, this evening joined other ASEAN Leaders and the Prime Minister of the Republic of India for the 17th ASEAN-India Summit held virtually via video conference from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman.

At this Summit, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah acknowledged the great importance of the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership and highlighted the importance of India's continued support for ASEAN Centrality and ASEAN-Led processes, as well as the contributions of India's Act East Policy to further promoting peace, stability and mutual understanding in the region.

In these challenging times, the strong historical ties between ASEAN and India can serve as the foundation for close cooperation going forward, and encouraged more collaboration in areas such as education, youth and cultural exchanges.

In this regard, His Majesty encouraged focus on initiatives that can bring benefits to peoples' livelihoods, such as through improving the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement to ensure greater market access and to enhance the facilitation of trade for businesses. Furthermore, His Majesty suggested more capacity building for business people, so they can better adapt to the digital economy.

Earlier at the Summit, His Excellency the ASEAN Chairman remarked that the strong bonds between ASEAN and India, forged by commerce and engagement, has led to India's active participation across all sectors in ASEAN, resulting in vast market potential and economic growth through the increasing opportunities in trade and investment. The Prime Minister welcomed India's Look East Policy and hoped that ASEAN-India relations can be further energised across all domains.

Meanwhile, His Excellency Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India in his statement highlighted that ASEAN has always been at the centre of India's Act East Policy. Prime Minister Modi also shared that there are similarities between the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. India's key priority is to increase physical, economic, social, digital, financial and maritime connectivity.

The ASEAN Common Statement delivered by His Excellency Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, as Country Coordinator of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations, referred to ASEAN's emphasis on the importance of health security particularly in scientific research and the production of antiviral medicine and vaccines, which should be a global public good. ASEAN also emphasised the need to build an environment for mutual trust, conducive to a post-pandemic recovery through exploring the ASEAN Outlook on the IndoPacific and Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative, as well as utilising the ASEAN-India F.T.A.

At the Summit, the leaders also touched on joint collaboration to mitigate COVID-19 impact and to facilitate equitable deliveries of supply; upholding the principles of rules-based multilateral trading system to increase bilateral trade in the region, promote economic recovery, and sustain the supply chains; appreciate India's support under the connectivity sector and promote both physical and digital connectivity; narrowing the development gap; and fostering cultural linkages based on ASEAN and India's long history.