GS-2 (Mains), Mains-2018 (English)

India-ASEAN Relations – Future Prospects


Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

> The Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises of Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

> Indias relationship with ASEAN is an outcome of the significant changes in the worlds political and economic scenario since the early 1990s.

> Look East Policy is Indias research for economic space.

> Indias relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of our foreign policy and the foundation of our Act East Policy.


ASEAN Important Facts:

> India is not a member of ASEAN.

> ASEAN HQ: Jakarta (Indonesia); Established in 1967 in Bangkok via Bangkok Declaration.

> Founding Fathers of ASEAN Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. 


Principle of ASEAN way

ASEAN follows the principle of ASEAN wayviz.

(i) Consultation and Agreement (Musyawarah And Mufakat)

(ii) Dont use force / confrontation

(iii) Dont interfere in the internal matters of states

(iv) Informal discussion

(v) Minimal institutionalization. 


Hanoi Plan of Action (POA):

Hanoi Plan of Action (POA) to implement ASEAN Vision 2020 involving concrete and practical actions in the fields of:

> Disaster relief

> Maritime security

> Nonproliferation and Disarmament

> Counterterrorism

> Peacekeeping


Why ASEAN important for India? 


> ASEAN nations are at the intersections of major land and sea routes.

> The Future architecture of Asia is going to be shaped by the US, China and India.

> Maritime boundary disputes between China and a number of ASEAN countries; claims over South China Sea hence those ASEAN countries look towards India as a counterbalance against China.

> For India, a stronger posturing at ASEAN provides its stature as a global power. After all, without becoming a strong regional player first, we cannot dream of becoming global power!


Energy Cooperation

> ASEAN countries, particularly Myanmar, Vietnam and Malaysia can potentially contribute to Indias energy security.

> Oil and natural gas deposits in the South China Sea region.

> India and several ASEAN countries are net importers of hydrocarbon. They need to develop alternative energy sources. Hence regional cooperation essential for financing those projects.


Economic Relations:

> The ASEAN is Indias 4thlargest trading partner after the EU, the US and China.

> IndiaASEAN is slated to grow faster than the rest of the world due to a favorable demographic profile and growing market for goods and services.

> Indias trade relations are shifting from West economies towards the East, comprising of Japan, China, Korea and ASEAN.

> IndiaASEAN linkage provides for largescale movement of people, capital, ideas and creativity. 


For Indian States

> The coastal states: West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are looking to rebuild maritime links with ASEAN nations to boost their own trade and economy.

> Union government is also building infrastructure in the Northeastern states so they can engage in commerce with South East Asian nations.


IndiaASEAN Current relations:

> The year 2017 also completes 15 years of IndiaASEAN dialogue at the summit.

> 2017 also commemorates the completion of five years of strategic partnership between India & ASEAN.

> Indias bid to accentuate its links with ASEAN comes at a time of flux in the region with China seen as growing more assertive visàvis its territorial claims in the oil and gasrich South China Sea, which is also a major international maritime trade route.  


Challenges in IndiaASEAN Relations:

> Following the uncertain behavior of China, Indian Ocean has become unpredictable and it might become the next battle ground.

> Problems in the implementation of IndiaMyanmarThailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway and Kaladan Multimodal Transit and Transport Project.

> China’s territorial claims in the oil and gasrich South China Sea, which is also a major international maritime trade route. 


Way Forward:

> Transforming corridors of connectivityto corridors of trade needs to be fasttracked to realize their full business potential.

> Terrorism, religious extremism and the ISIS are dangers to the region and both India and ASEAN should work closer to check these menaces.

> Focusing on potential of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for boosting economic cooperation, due to the large roles SMEs play in Vietnam and the Philippines.

> Enhancing peopletopeople connectivity and nourishing the civilizational linkages within the region.

> India needs to evolve into a robust security provider in the region.

> Cultivate intraregional tourism, educational cooperation, and the potential of Indian diaspora in Southeast Asia.



> Indias geostrategic interests in the IndoPacific region depend on Indias bilateral and multilateral engagements with the countries in the region.

> Maintaining cordiality with ASEAN as an organization and with the individual Southeast Asian countries remains crucial for India.


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