Instability in the Indian Ocean region could undermine global economic prosperity and, therefore, issues such as piracy, drug trafficking, climate change and the security of Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) could be frequent concerns for cooperation. The Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC) could serve as a quality platform; India is currently the presidency and China is a dialogue partner. Strengthening ASEAN relations is beneficial for both India and China and can help strengthen economic ties between them. In the coming years, according to the Asian Development Bank, “the common national wealth of India, China and ASEAN could surpass those of the United States and European countries.”  But India`s current trade deficit with China also raises concerns about its extension under the proposed comprehensive regional economic partnership, which is to be negotiated between ASEAN countries and China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.  The term “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” was not coined by U.S. President Donald Trump, but originated in a speech by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (see timeline on page 12). In 2007, during his first term, Abe gave a speech entitled “Confluence of the Two Seas” to the Indian Congress. In it, he presented his vision of a closer political and economic link between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. It was a vision based on intense cooperation between the democratic states of the region, which would serve as the centre of a network spanning the entire Indian Ocean and the Pacific, giving way to a “free flow of people, goods, capital and knowledge” that would guarantee “freedom and prosperity.” Abe said the safety of shipping routes is of critical strategic importance in this regard. Abe`s concept of connectivity also emphasizes “universal” norms that closely link the region`s democracies politically and economically and regulate the behavior of undemocratic states, especially China.38 A few days after an informal meeting between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan, the security dialogue was held in Singapore.
Discussions between the two heads of state and government also focused on the controversial land border between the two countries, where clashes had taken place the previous year.