KUALA LUMPUR: India today affirmed its commitment to provide momentum to its engagement with the “close-knit” ASEAN community, as the 10-member economic bloc agreed on a new action plan in areas like IT and healthcare.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh told the ASEAN-India ministerial meeting here that this year had a special significance for ASEAN-India strategic partnership.

“We set up our independent mission to ASEAN in March, which I believe will help bring more focus, synergy and momentum to our engagement with ASEAN,” he said.

“With the ASEAN Summit in November this year, we will see the coming together of ASEAN as a close-knit economic community,” he said at the meet at Putra World Trade Centre.

Singh said India is looking forward to adopt this plan of action for the next five years at the 13th ASEAN-India Summit in November.

“I am glad that the new plan of action is both ambitious and aspirational while being pragmatic and reflective of our shared desire to substantially expand our collaborative agenda into new areas,” he said.

“The meeting agreed on the new programme of action for the period 2016-2020 listing events and programmes to be held during that period mainly in the development side in areas like IT, healthcare with focus on malaria and diabetes, english language training centers by India etc” Secretary (East) Anil Wadhwa told PTI.

Wadhwa added that all delegates praised India and appreciated the last programme of action.

Singh also held bilateral meetings with foreign ministers from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Turkey.

The ministers reviewed the issues that were pending. He also discussed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Malaysia and Singapore with the respective foreign ministers.

The current five-year plan (2010-2015) to implement ASEAN-India partnership for peace, progress and shared prosperity, would expire at the end of this year.

Leaders reviewed the entire gamut of relationship between ASEAN and India and also shared ideas on further enhancing bilateral ties in various areas.

ASEAN members include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.