55th anniversary of ASEAN

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    • August 2022 marks an important occasion of the 55th anniversary of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

    ASEAN-India Friendship Year

    • The year 2022 also marks the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations & the 10th anniversary of India’s Strategic Partnership with ASEAN
      • So, the year has been designated as the ASEAN-India Friendship Year.
    • The Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (SAIFMM) was hosted by India in New Delhi recently.
    • Significance:
      • This is important as it will strengthen the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership.
        • Plan of Action 2021-2025:
        • The ongoing India-ASEAN collaboration is guided by the Plan of Action 2021-2025 which was adopted in 2020.
        • The plan of Action envisages greater cooperation in areas ranging from trade to maritime security and counter-terrorism.

    ASEAN – India Relations:

    • Multi-level interaction:
      • Engagement with ASEAN is a multi-level interaction process. 
        • At the apex is the annual summit “ASEAN-India Summit” 
        • Summits are supported by meetings at the Foreign Minister level “ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting”-AIFMM.
      • India shares a deep connection with ASEAN and has continued its active engagement in many areas contributing to regional peace and stability, particularly through ASEAN-led mechanisms, such as:
        • East Asia Summit.
        • ASEAN Regional Forum.
        • ADMM-Plus
          • The ADMM Plus is an annual meeting of Defence Ministers of 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries and eight dialogue partner countriesAustralia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.
    • Delhi Dialogue:
      • The ‘Delhi Dialogue’ (DD) mechanism hosted by India annually
      • It is traditionally inaugurated jointly by India and ASEAN at the Foreign Minister’s level.
      • It serves as the main Track 1.5mechanism for our engagement. 
        • The DD-mechanism allows the participation of think tanks, academics and prominent civil society persons from both India and the ASEAN region. 
        • In addition to government representatives, with the objective of contributing ideas and perspectives to furthering the India-ASEAN strategic partnership.
      • The XIIth edition of the Delhi Dialogue was held in June, 2022.
    • Act East Policy & Indo-Pacific:
      • Indo-Pacific is an interconnected geography where ASEAN is at its core. 
      • Both ASEAN and India believe that openness, inclusiveness, rules-based order, freedom of navigation and peaceful settlement of disputes lie at the very core of the Indo-Pacific. 
    • Maritime Connectivity & Security:
      • India is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and ASEAN Countries have borders with Indo-Pacific waters. 
        • This opens up plenty of opportunities for India and other countries to work on maritime security, trade, and better supply chain networks.
      • India is consciously working with ASEAN towards a vision of an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific in tandem with initiatives such as 
        • The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)
        • To ensure Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)
      • India and some of the ASEAN countries are also members of the recently launched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
    • Checks Chinese Dominance: 
      • Maritime cooperation in terms of connectivity, safety and security has gained high attention in the backdrop of China’s advancements in the South China Sea
      • India will gain better positioning against China’s increasing dominating presence in the area.

     

    Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN):

    • About:
      • It is a political and economic organization aimed primarily at promoting economic growth and regional stability among its members.
    • Foundation:
      • It was founded in 1967 by the five South-East Asian nations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
      • Brunei Darussalam joined in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999, making up to ten Member States of ASEAN.
      • Current members:
        • Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
    • ASEAN Plus Three:
      • It is a forum that functions as a coordinator of co-operation between the ASEAN and the three East Asian nations of China, South Korea, and Japan.
    • ASEAN Plus Six:
      • The group includes ASEAN Plus Three as well as India, Australia, and New Zealand
    • ASEAN Summit:
      • It is the highest policy-making body in ASEAN comprising the Head of States or Government of ASEAN Member States.
      • Summit is held twice annually.
      • The First ASEAN Summit was held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976.

    Way Ahead

    • ASEAN-led mechanisms should be regarded as a viable regional architecture platform for the Indo-Pacific region. 
      • India is one of the founding members of the East Asia Summit.
    • ASEAN continues to maintain its central role in the evolving regional architecture in Southeast Asia and its surrounding regions.
      • India should increase its bilateral and multilateral engagements with ASEAN.
    • ASEAN countries need to work to restore the ‘ASEAN centrality and unity’ through the strategic environment of competing interests.
    • India should push for the reconciliation between Myanmar and the ASEAN.
    • The focus must be on emerging challenges to international peace and security.

    Source: TH