Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Indonesia on Wednesday to attend the ASEAN-India Summit and East Asia Summit in Jakarta. The ASEAN-India Summit will be the first summit since the relationship between India and ASEAN was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2022. The summit will review the progress of India-ASEAN relations and chart the future direction of cooperation. The East Asia Summit will provide an opportunity for leaders of ASEAN countries and its eight dialogue partners, including India, to exchange views on issues of regional and global significance.
India’s relationship with ASEAN has deepened significantly in recent years. Bilateral trade stands at $135 billion, which accounts for over 11% of India’s global trade. India and ASEAN held their Defense Ministers’ meeting in November last year and also held their first maritime exercise in May this year.
“Our focus has been on enhancing comprehensive connectivity with ASEAN in all aspects, including physical, digital, economic, and people-to-people. In August this year, India and Indonesia established direct flight connectivity through Indigo and Batik Air flights. We have also started direct flights with Vietnam. Earlier in February, Prime Minister, along with his Singapore counterpart, launched the real-time cross-border payment link between UPI and Singapore’s Pay Now. We are looking at ways to expand this to other ASEAN countries,” said Secretary (East) Saurabh Kumar at a special media briefing in New Delhi. The two sides also committed to completing a review of the ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement by 2025.
What is ASEAN ?
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization that was established on 8 August 1967 by the five founding members: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. The organization was originally known as the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), but it was renamed to ASEAN in 1969.
The founding fathers of ASEAN were motivated by the desire to promote regional cooperation and to prevent the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. The organization’s founding document, the Bangkok Declaration, states that the aims and purposes of ASEAN are to:
- accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region;
- promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the Association;
- promote active cooperation among member states in matters of common interest;
- collaborate with existing international organizations.
ASEAN has since expanded to include ten member states: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The organization has also established a number of subsidiary bodies, including the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN Economic Community, and the ASEAN Political-Security Community.
ASEAN has played an important role in promoting peace and stability in Southeast Asia. The organization has also been successful in promoting economic growth and development in the region. ASEAN is considered to be one of the most successful regional organizations in the world.
Here are some of the key milestones in the history of ASEAN:
- 1967: The Association of Southeast Asia (ASA) is founded by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
- 1969: The ASA is renamed to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
- 1976: The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia is signed.
- 1992: The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) is established.
- 1997: The Asian financial crisis hits ASEAN.
- 2002: The ASEAN Charter is signed.
- 2007: The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is established.
- 2015: The ASEAN Community is established.
ASEAN is a dynamic and evolving organization. It is constantly adapting to the changing needs of its member states and the region as a whole. ASEAN is committed to promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in Southeast Asia for the benefit of its people.