MANILA: Underlining the importance of building physical connectivity with the Asean region to further strengthen its economic ties with India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the largest so far Asean-India business and investment summit is slated to be held in New Delhi in January next year.
Addressing the Asean Business and Investment Summit here, Modi also said that a conference to discuss increasing connectivity between both regions is also due to take place next month in New Delhi.
"India's Look East policy puts this region at the centre of our engagement. So, connectivity with Asean by land, sea and air remains our priority," Modi said pointing to the ongoing Trilateral Highway Project involving Myanmar and Thailand, which India is seeking to extend to three other countries.
"An Asean-India Connectivity Summit will take place next month with all the countries participating," he said.
"To coincide with the Asean-India Commemorative Summit in January, an Asean-India Business and Investment meet and expo will be held, which will be the biggest Asean focused event that India has ever organised," he added.
The Prime Minister also said that work is in progress to conclude a maritime transport agreement with the Asean.
Modi arrived here on Sunday on a three-day visit to the Philippines during which he will attend the 15th India-Asean Summit and the 12th East Asia Summit on Tuesday.
Describing both India and Philippines as service sector powerhouses, Modi noted how India had risen 30 places to enter the top 100 countries on the World Bank rankings on ease of doing business as a result of various reforms undertaken.
He said demonetisation coupled with measures like linking of the Aadhaar number with bank accounts has led to formalisation of a big part of the Indian economy.
"We are using our unique ID system in financial transactions and taxation for this purpose and the results are already visible," he said.
"These steps, coupled with demonetisation of high value notes, has resulted in fomalising a large part of our economy. The number of new tax payers filing income tax returns has more than doubled. Digital transactions have increased by 34 per cent as we march together to a less-cash economy," he added.