· India and ASEAN to expand trade despite RCEP walkout- the Hindu- 13th November
· Cohesive, responsive ASEAN must for security, growth in region: PM - The Indian Express- 13th November
(GS 2- India and its neighborhood- relations, Regional groupings affecting India’s interests)
· 17th ASEAN-India Summit was held virtually via videoconferencing amidst COVID 19 pandemic.
About Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
o ASEAN came into existence with the signing of Bangkok Declaration in 1967.
o Founding fathers of ASEAN were Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
o Later Brunei Darussalam in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997 and finally Cambodia in 1999 joined ASEAN.
o To promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitate economic, political, security, military, educational and socio-cultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia.
Highlights of 17th ASEAN-India Summit
On COVID 19
o India stressed on leveraging strong ASEAN-India ties in the fight against the pandemic.
o India welcomed ASEAN’s initiatives to fight the pandemic.
o India committed $1 million to the ASEAN COVID-19 recovery fund.
On trade and investment
o India called for an early review of ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA).
o India underlined the importance of diversification and resilience of supply chains for post-Covid economic recovery.
o Deliberations over ways to increase trade between ASEAN-India despite India’s exit from RCEP Agreement.
Why India walked out of the RCEP Free Trade Agreement in 2019 after negotiations for more than six years?
Ø It did not address India’s concerns about being flooded by goods from China.
Ø Issue pertaining to trade deficits.
Ø Need to protect domestic agricultural and dairy sectors.
On ASEAN’s “Outlook on Indo-Pacific” and India’s “Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative”
o India invited ASEAN countries to cooperate on various pillars of India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
o Both sides appreciated the similarities between India’s ‘Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative’ and ASEAN’s ‘Outlook on Indo-Pacific’.
o Issues of regional and global security were discussed.
o Deliberations focused on the issues of South China Sea and terrorism among others.
o ASEAN acknowledged India’s contribution in the region towards promoting peace and stability.
o Both sides committed to adhere to international laws especially UNCLOS for promoting free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region in the backdrop of China’s naval aggression.
On Capacity Building
o ASEAN appreciated India’s capacity-building initiatives including the PhD Fellowship Programme at IITs and setting up of Centres for Excellence in Software Development and Training in CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).
India- ASEAN Relations
o ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership stands on a strong foundation of shared geographical, historical and civilizational ties.
o Strength of Indian-ASEAN relations were on a full display when all ASEAN leaders graced India’s 69th Republic Day Celebrations in 2018.
o India’s focus on a strengthened and multi-faceted relationship with ASEAN is an outcome of the significant changes in the world’s political and economic scenario since the early 1990s and India’s own march towards economic liberalisation.
o From Look East Policy to Act East Policy
o It has today matured into a dynamic and action oriented ‘Act East Policy.
o Act East Policy was formally enuniciated at the 12th ASEAN India Summit and the 9th East Asia Summit in Myanmar in 2014.
o Success on India’s Act East Policy will depend upon connectivity projects in North East.
o This calls for expedition of projects like India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project etc.
LOOK EAST POLICY
ACT EAST POLICY
Economic cooperation and security integration
Area of Concern
Confined to South East Asia
South East Asia plus East Asia
Political Security Cooperation
o Faced with growing traditional and non-traditional challenges, politico-security cooperation is a key and an emerging pillar of ASEAN-India relationship.
o What define the landscape of common security threats to our societies?
o Rising export of terror.
o Growing radicalization through ideology of hatred.
o Spread of extreme violence.
o India hosted ASEAN Plus military exercise (Force 18) in 2018.
o People to people contact.
o Students Exchange Programme.
o Scholarships for ASEAN students for higher education at Nalanda University.
o Special Training Course for ASEAN diplomats.
o Exchange of Parliamentarians.
o Participation of ASEAN students in the National Children’s Science Congress.
o ASEAN-India Eminent Persons Lecture Series.
o Exchange of Farmers.
o ASEAN-India Fellowships for Higher Agricultural Education in India and ASEAN.
o Exchange of Agriculture Scientists.
o Training Course on Organic Certification for Fruits and Vegetables etc.
o ASEAN-India Collaborative R&D Project on Mariculture, Bio-mining and Bioremediation Technologies etc.
The up-gradation of the relationship into a Strategic Partnership in 2012 was a natural progression to the ground covered since India became a Sectoral Partner of the ASEAN in 1992, Dialogue Partner in 1996 and Summit Level Partner in 2002
Some of the prominent projects
o Space Project envisaging establishment of a Tracking, Data Reception/Data Processing Station in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
o Upgradation of Telemetry Tracking and Command Station in Biak, Indonesia.
o Setting up of Centres of Excellence in Software Development & Training in CLMV countries.
o e-Network for provision of tele-medicine and tele-education in CLMV countries.