Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) pushed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India to cooperate in realizing a blue economy to provide even greater benefits to the communities of both parties.

The World Bank describes the blue economy as an eco-friendly utilization of marine resources that aims to stimulate economic growth, improve welfare, and preserve marine ecosystems.

"We still need to further optimize this collaboration (between the ASEAN and India)," he remarked at the 20th ASEAN-India Summit at the Jakarta Convention Center, Senayan, on Thursday.

The 20th summit of ASEAN and India was held as part of a series of activities of the 43rd ASEAN Summit, being hosted by Indonesia, as the 2023 ASEAN chair, on September 5-7 in Jakarta.

Indonesia succeeds Cambodia as the chair of the regional bloc. The 43rd ASEAN Summit itself succeeds the 42nd ASEAN Summit that was successfully organized by Indonesia earlier in May in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara Province.

In his opening remarks at the 20th ASEAN-India Summit, President Jokowi extended his appreciation to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi for his willingness to attend the summit even though his country is currently occupied with preparations for hosting the G20 Summit.

The president stated that the cooperation forged between the ASEAN and India has been providing mutual benefits for their communities, noting that both parties still need to tap into other opportunities in their collaboration.

He underscored that the Indian Ocean, connecting 33 countries, with a total population of 2.9 billion, has the potential to contribute as much as one-fifth to the world's overall gross domestic product in 2025.

To optimize the potential, ASEAN countries and India can enhance their cooperation to realize the blue economy, create maritime connectivity, and sustain marine resources, he pointed out.

At the summit, the president also endorsed cooperation between the ASEAN and India on tackling maritime crimes, such as piracy, drug and human smuggling activities, as well as illegal fishing.

The Indonesian head of state encouraged the leaders of ASEAN and India to continue to collaborate to make the ocean as an arena of amity and cooperation, rather than enmity and confrontations.

ASEAN countries and India should also continue to maintain the ocean's stability and peace by respecting international law, promoting the culture of cooperation, and building an inclusive regional architecture, he emphasized.

"These are the keys to create a region that can become a center of growth," he stated.

President Jokowi's remark aligns with Indonesia's ASEAN chairmanship theme of "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth" that reflects the country's determination to position ASEAN as a center of economic, political, and sociocultural growth.

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Translator: Katriana, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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