Trade between India and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries is expected to grow 20 percent to $70 billion in 2012, a senior external affairs ministry official said here Friday. In Free Trade Agreement(FTA) between India and ASEAN came into force from the January 1, 2010. Following the FTA trade which was $43.5 billion in 2009-10 reached $50 billion in 2011.
Due to the large trade basket and the FTA trade between India and ASEAN has been growing at a rate of 18-20 percent every year said a senior external affairs ministry official during the Look East Economic Summit 2012.
Earlier this month India and ASEAN signed an MoU to promote tourism. The MoU meant to serve as the key instrument for more action oriented cooperation, encouraging both parties to cooperate in facilitating travel and tourist visit and further strengthening the close tourism partnership. An ASEAN Promotional Chapter has been established in Mumbai to act as a tourism marketing and promotion agency of ASEAN National Tourism Organisation. The number of tourist arrivals between ASEAN and India had shown steady growth.
ASEAN and India have also been co-opting in Buddhist pilgrimage tourism including the production and promotion of materials and documentary films on Buddhist pilgrimage in ASEAN-India.
In the meantime Asian Development Bank (ADB) has shown its willingness to bring India and China on board the newly created Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Infrastructure Fund for funding infrastructure projects in the region.
The ASEAN Infrastructure Fund has a corpus of $750 million, of which ADB’s contribution is $150 million.
The Asean Development Fund’s is set to be bigger as its total lending commitment through to 2020 will be about $4 billion. Nearly 70 per cent co-financing will be done by ADB. ADB is also expected to leverage more than $13 billion in infrastructure financing by 2020.
The master plan on ASEAN Connectivity, issued in 2010, identifies a series of strategies and actions to enhance physical, institutional, and people-to-people connectivity between member nations. The Asean infrastructure Fund will finance approximately six infrastructure projects each year. These will be selected based on sound economic and financial rates of return, and the potential impact on poverty reduction. India’s northeastern states including will also benefit significantly from any such connectivity.