Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

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The governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore established the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967 to advance social advancement, economic prosperity, and cultural development throughout the Southeast Asian region.

In New Delhi, a special meeting of the ASEAN and Indian foreign ministers was recently convened to mark the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-India dialogue relations in 2022. ‘ASEAN-India Friendship Year’ 2022 has been set aside as such. The tenth anniversary of India’s strategic partnership with ASEAN falls this year as well. In 2021, trade between India and the ASEAN region was above $78 billion. The leaders argued for further connectedness and integration with South Asia throughout the nation at the recent talks.

The following main topics were covered in the meeting:

Geopolitical headwinds from the Russia-Ukraine war:

  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict has increased concerns about the security of food, fertilizer, and fuel. As a result, the ASEAN meeting highlighted the need for countries in the Indo-Pacific to strengthen their cooperation and stand together in the face of this global situation. It was debated how to lessen the crisis’s cascading effects.
  • The ASEAN countries must be able to uphold a “rules-based international order” that “recognizes the diversity of Asia and makes the necessary adjustments to the post-WWII institutions,” it was emphasized.
  • Also highlighted was the escalating US-China superpower rivalry and how it directly affects all of Asia. It is also emphasized that the three mutuals of mutual respect, mutual sensitivity, and mutuality of interests should be prioritized in the formation of relationships.
  • The two sides agreed to examine the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to provide a more user-friendly, simple, and trade facilitation and decided to increase cooperation in important sectors like trade, connectivity, defense, vaccine manufacturing, and clean energy.
  • Recognizing the significance of the health sector, participants in the meeting decided to collaborate in the production and distribution of vaccines, generic drug research and development, traditional medicine collaboration, public health infrastructure strengthening, and pandemic and public health emergency preparedness and response.
  • The gathering reiterated support for multilateralism, which is based on the principles of international law, particularly the United Nations Charter, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and other pertinent UN treaties and conventions.

Due to concerns about their lack of cooperation in executing steps agreed upon by the 10-member group last year to help calm the country’s severe political situation, Myanmar, one of ASEAN’s ten member nations ruled by a military junta, was not invited to the summit. Along with the ASEAN gathering, the Delhi Dialogue XII Ministerial Session was held. The Economic and Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) jointly organized the Delhi Dialogue.

The first India-ASEAN hackathon ever took place from February 1–4, 2021. For the first time ever, an online hackathon was held for students and mentors from India and 10 ASEAN nations. The hackathon was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 16th India-ASEAN summit in November 2019. It was an online hackathon that the Indian Ministries of Education and External Affairs jointly conducted. The hackathon’s topics were “Blue Economy” and “Education.”

History of ASEAN

The founding fathers of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines signed the Bangkok Declaration, also known as the ASEAN Declaration, on August 8th, 1967, officially establishing ASEAN. The Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), which included Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, was the organization that came before.

In the years that followed, another five countries joined ASEAN, bringing the total number of members to 10 at this time.

ASEAN Members
  • Thailand (founding member)
  • The Philippines (founding member)
  • Malaysia (founding member)
  • Singapore (founding member)
  • Indonesia (founding member)
  • Brunei (joined in 1984)
  • Vietnam (joined in 1995)
  • Lao PDR (joined in 1997)
  • Myanmar (joined in 1997)
  • Cambodia (joined in 1999)
  • There are two observer States namely, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste (East Timor).
ASEAN Purpose
  • Accelerating regional social, cultural, and economic advancement through collaborative efforts in a spirit of equality and partnership is essential to laying the groundwork for a stable and prosperous community of Southeast Asian nations.
  • Fostering peace and stability in the area by adhering to UN principles and ensuring that ties between nations are based on respect for justice and the rule of law.
  • Encouraging active cooperation and reciprocal help on issues of shared concern in the social, economic, cultural, administrative, scientific, and technical spheres.
  • Providing facilities for training and research in the areas of education, administration, technology, and business to member nations.
  • Cooperating for more trade (particularly researching the issue of global commodities trade), better communication and transportation infrastructure, and raising the level of living for all citizens.
  • Encouraging the study of SE Asia.
  • Exploring further opportunities for inter-group cooperation and maintaining tight, beneficial relationships with other international organizations with comparable goals.
ASEAN Fundamental Principles
  • Mutual respect for each other’s national identities, geographical integrity, and other fundamental human rights;
  • the right of every State to conduct its internal affairs without intervention from outside forces or pressure;
  • avoiding meddling in one another’s private matters;
  • Peaceful resolution of disagreements or conflicts; Abstaining from the threat or use of force; and Effective cooperation among themselves.
ASEAN Headquarters
  • The organization’s main office is in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • General Secretary: Dato Lim Jock Hoi
  • Burmese, Filipino, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, Thai, and Vietnamese are all recognized as official languages.
  • English is the working language.
ASEAN-led Forums:
  • In 1993, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was established. It is a multilateral organization with 27 members that was created to make it easier for members to work together on political and security matters in order to promote regional confidence-building and preventive diplomacy.
  • ASEAN Plus Three: The 10 ASEAN nations, China, Japan, and South Korea are all represented in the consultative group, which was established in 1997.
  • East Asia Summit (EAS) The summit, which was first convened in 2005, aims to advance regional security and development. Typically, the heads of state from ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States attend. The agenda is established in large part by ASEAN.

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