India-ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting

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    • The maiden India-ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting was recently held at Siem Reap in Cambodia to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of India-ASEAN relations.

    More about the meet

    • India’s proposals:
      • The Defence Minister of India made two proposals for expanding the scope and the depth of the India-ASEAN (Association of SouthEast Asian Nations) defence relations. These include: 
        • An initiative for women in United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPK) operations and, 
        • Initiative on marine plastic pollution.
      • India-ASEAN Initiative for women in UNPK operations:
        • It includes the conduct of tailor-made courses for women peacekeepers of ASEAN member states at the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping in India. 
        • It also includes the conduct of a ‘Table top Exercise’ in India for women officers from ASEAN incorporating facets of UNPK challenges.
      • Initiative on marine plastic pollution:
        • About:
          • It includes channelising of the energy of the youth towards addressing the critical issue of marine pollution
        • Role of India’s National Cadet Corps (NCC):
          • Minister informed the ASEAN members of the significant work done by the NCC in the cleaning of Indian beaches and raising awareness about plastic pollution in the coastal community. 
          • Coordination with NCC:
            • He suggested coordination between the NCC and the equivalent youth organisations of ASEAN countries for a collective effort in this direction in the region.
        • India-ASEAN marine pollution response centre:
          • The minister proposed the establishment of an India-ASEAN marine pollution response centre at Chennai by the Indian Coast Guard to address and supplement regional efforts to deal with marine pollution incidents
    • India’s Act East Policy:
      • The minister also emphasised that the centrality of ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific region is the cornerstone of India’s Act East Policy.

    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 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.

    Significance of ASEAN for India

    • India-ASEAN strategic partnership:
      • The India-ASEAN strategic partnership has been strengthened by virtue of flourishing cultural and civilisational links and enhanced people-to-people cooperation
    • ASEAN led Mechanisms:
      • 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 countries – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.
    • 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.
    • 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.

    More about the United Nations Peacekeeping mission

    • About:
      • The U.N. Peacekeeping mission is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support, and aims to assist host countries to transition from situations of conflict to peace.
    • Aim: 
      • U.N. Peacekeepers provide security as well as political and peace building support to conflict-ridden countries.
    • The three basic principles that guide U.N.’s Peacekeeping missions are:
      • Consent of the parties
      • Impartiality
      • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate
    • Women peacekeepers:
      • According to the UN, of around 95,000 peacekeepers in 2020, women comprised 4.8% of military contingents and 10.9% of formed police units.
      • From India:
        • For the first time in the history of UN peacekeeping, India sent an all-female Formed Police Unit (FPU) to be deployed in Liberia in 2007 after a civil war ravaged the African nation.

    Source: AIR