ASEAN (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – IR)

News-CRUX-10     13th February 2024        
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Context: India-ASEAN today held discussions on taking forward their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • Established: In 1967, by the Bangkok Declaration.
  • Type:  A political and economic union of 10 member statesin Southeast Asia.
  • Members: Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
  • Objective: It promotes inter-governmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and socio-cultural integration between its members and countries in the Asia-Pacific.
  • Secretariat: Jakarta, Indonesia.

India-ASEAN Relationship (Significance)

  • Economic reasons: With ASEAN now India’s fourth-largest trading partner engaging in bilateral trade in 2019-20 worth $86.9 billion. 
  • For Peace & Security in the region: ASEAN countries are known for maritime and border smuggling of drug, arms, and ammunition. Cooperation with ASEAN countries is also important for security and peace establishment in N-E region from insurgents’ group.
  • Connectivity and development: Connectivity with ASEAN countries maintaining Northeast India in the centre will assure the north-eastern states economic progress.
  • Countering China: Improved commercial connections with ASEAN nations would provide a counterbalance to China’s position in the area, as well as economic growth and development for India.
  • Meeting India’s principle of ‘Act East policy’ and Indo-Pacific vision: ASEAN countries are the key or central pillar of the India’s foreign policy of ‘act east.’ And India’s ‘Act East’ policy is a core tenet of its Indo-Pacific vision.
  • Establishing democratic and rule-based Indo-Pacific region: ASEAN holds a pivotal place in the Indo-Pacific rules-based security architecture, which is critical for India because most of its commerce is dependent on maritime stability.
  • Key defence importer: ASEAN countries can emerge as the major import demand of India’s defence equipment’s like Philippines recently finalised the order of Brahmos missile from India.
  • Others key areas of engagement: Maritime pollution, Soft power, Climate change etc.
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