Summit formally kicked off in the Indonesian town of Labuan Bajo on Wednesday
This is the first foreign visit of the Vice President in his current capacity. Vice President is also accompanied by External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar. Cambodia as the current Chair of ASEAN is hosting these Summits.
Trump had likewise skipped an ASEAN summit and parallel East Asia Summit last year in Bangkok.
Leaders are hoping for a breakthrough in RCEP talks at this weekend's meeting of the ASEAN after seven years of negotiations over the deal, which would comprise 30 per cent of global commerce and half the world's population if signed.
Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai also stressed the role of the ASEAN bloc to lead challenges such as the fight against climate change, growing trade competition among regional powers and the rise of nationalism
The Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-ocha - whose country currently chairs the bloc, 10 years after its last chairmanship - had warned on the eve of the gathering of ASEAN leaders that the US-China trade war was creating uncertainty in the global economy.
Prime Minister Modi began his two-day visit to Singapore Wednesday by delivering his keynote address at the prestigious Fintech Festival.