India-South East Asia Defence Co-Operation


    In News

    • Recently,  Indian Navy’s Kilo class conventional submarine, INS Sindhukesari docked in Jakarta, Indonesia, for the first time.


    • The main aim  of India’s Look East Policy that was launched in 1992 was to reintegrate India economically and culturally with our civilisational neighbours of South East Asia
    • Growing trade ties have resulted  in expansion of relationship into areas of defence and security.
    •  the engagement which was primarily political and economic in early stages had acquired strategic dimension by the time of Act East Policy,2014

    Types Of Co-Operation

    • Defence cooperation with ASEAN members can be categorised into training exchanges and joint exercises,Institutional Measures and provision of defence equipment.

    Training Exchanges And Joint Exercises

    • India holds joint naval exercises with ASEAN states such as Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia etc.

    Bi-Lateral Exercises

    • With Indonesia India conducts  IND-INDO CORPAT and IND-INDO BILAT
    • With Malaysia India conducts  Exercise Table Top.
    • With Myanmar India conducts  IMCOR
    • With Singapore India conducts  SIMBEX

    Multi-Lateral Exercises

    India participates in following multilateral exercises .

    • Multilateral Exercise by Brunei            ADMM+ Exercise
    • Multilateral Exercise by Indonesia       KOMODO
    • Multilateral Exercise by India               MILAN

    Institutional Measures

    • India is  an active participant in several regional strategic forums like  ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting + (ADMM+) and Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF).
    • ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting + (ADMM+) :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.


    • Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF): it is avenue for track 1.5 diplomacy focusing on cross cutting maritime issues of common concern between ASEAN and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States of America,

    Defence Exports

    • Atleast 50 percent of India’s defense exports between 2017 and 2021 went to South East Asian countries.
    • Recent instances like India and the Philippines $375 million deal for the sale of Brahmos missiles,sale of  a remote-controlled air defense station worth US$600,000 to Myanmar project a india as reliable security provider for south east asian nations .

    Need For ASEAN Co-Operation :

    • Maritime Connectivity & Security:
      • India is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and ASEAN Countries have borders with india and 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.
    • Checks Chinese Dominance: 
      • Maritime cooperation in terms of connectivity, safety and security will place india in a better position in the backdrop of China’s advancements in the South China Sea. 
    • 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
    • Market for India’s Defence Exports:
      • India’s defense exports have seen 334 percent rise in the past five years and south east asian nations form a major market for our exports

    Challenges :

    • Internal contradictions:
      • The ASEAN countries have their own contradictions internally and india needs to be dynamic while dealing with ASEAN countries.
        • India’s relations with Philippines started slow because of India’s relations with Vietnam – perceived as aggressor by the Philippines during the Cold War years
    •  Chinese Influence: 
      • Inspite of india’s efforts ,south east asian nations are still heavily dependent on china. 

    Way Ahead

    • India till now pursued bilateral and multilateral cooperation with asean countries .Indian should explore avenues for forging trilateral cooperation on defence and strategic issues .

    Source: TH