(Sample Material) Study Kit on Current Affairs for UPSC Mains
India and World Organizations: India- Asean Relations
India’s Look East Policy was initiated in 1990s and since
then, India’s relationship with ASEAN remains one of the cornerstones of our
foreign policy and the very foundation of our Look East Policy. India became a
sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992, which was upgraded to full dialogue
partnership in 1996. Since 2002, we have had annual Summits with ASEAN. ASEAN
and India commemorated the 20th anniversary of dialogue-level partnership and
the 10th anniversary of Summit-level partnership with a Commemorative Summit in
New Delhi under the theme ‘ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace and Shared
Prosperity’ on December 20-21, 2012. The Commemorative Summit attended by the
Leaders from all the 10 ASEAN countries endorsed elevating our partnership to a
‘Strategic Partnership’. The Leaders also adopted the ‘ASEAN-India Vision
Statement’, which charts the future of ASEAN-India cooperation.
ASEAN-India functional cooperation is diverse and includes
cooperation across a range of sectors, such as trade, science & technology,
agriculture, environment, human resource development, space science, new and
renewable energy, information and communication technology, telecommunications,
transport and infrastructure, tourism and culture, and health and
At the 7th ASEAN-India Summit in October 2009, India
announced a contribution of USD 50 million to ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund to
support implementation of the ASEAN-India Plan of Action 2010-15, which
envisages cooperation in a range of sectors in the political, economic and
socio-cultural spheres for deepening and intensifying ASEAN-India cooperation.
This was in addition to the ASEAN-India Science & Technology Fund set up in 2007
with an initial corpus of US$ 1 million and the ASEAN-India Green Fund also
established in 2007 with US$ 5 million for funding pilot projects to promote
adaptation and mitigation technologies in the field of climate change.
At the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in December 2012, the
Leaders welcomed the conclusion of the negotiations on ASEAN-India Trade in
Services and Investment Agreements. The ASEAN-India Trade-in-Goods Agreement was
signed on 13 August, 2009 at the ASEAN-India Economic Ministerial Meeting in
Bangkok and became fully operational from 1 August 2011 when the process of
ratification by all the ASEAN countries was completed. The total trade between
India and ASEAN increased by 37% in 2011-12, reaching USD 79.3 billion,
surpassing the trade target of USD 70 billion by 2012.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India
organized the 2nd ASEAN-India Business Fair from December 18-20, 2012. Meetings
of the ASEAN-India Business Conclave and the ASEAN-India Business Council were
also held on December 19, 2012. ASEAN-India Ministers of Trade met on the
sidelines on December 19, 2012.
The Ministry of Agriculture convened the 2nd ASEAN-India
Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry in New Delhi on 17 October 2012
along with an Agri Expo from 17-19 October 2012. The Ministry of Environment and
Forests convened the 1st Meeting of the ASEAN-India Environment Ministers on 6-7
September 2012 in New Delhi which followed an ASEAN-India Workshop on Capacity
Building on Nagoya Protocol on 4-5
September 2012. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
convened the 1st ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting on New and Renewable Energy in
New Delhi on 7 November 2012, preceded by a Workshop on New and Renewable Energy
on 5-6 November 2012.
The 4th ASEAN-India Tourism Ministers Meeting was held in
Vientiane on January 21, 2013, where a Protocol to amend the MoU on
Strengthening Tourism Cooperation between ASEAN and India was signed and the
ASEAN-India tourism website (www.indiaasean.org) was launched. Visa on arrival
facility is extended to 7 ASEAN countries (Lao, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar,
Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines).
The first ever meeting of the Heads of Space Agencies of
India and ASEAN member countries was held in Bangalore on 19-20 June 2012 to
discuss cooperation in the space sector. An ASEAN-India Expert Meeting on
Climate Change was organized at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore on 27
– 28 June 2012. The first ever Joint Consultations between ASEAN SME Working
Group and India was held on 15 November 2012 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The interface between Parliamentarians has also been
strengthened through participation at the 31st, 32nd and 33rd General Assemblies
of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in 2010, 2011 and 2012 as Observer.
An AIPA delegation, led by its President and Speaker of the House of
Representatives of Indonesia, Mr.Marzuki Alie visited India from July 28-August
2, at the invitation of the Speaker, Lok Sabha.
Co-operation between India and ASEAN is also being
intensified in the cultural, educational and academic fields, through the
promotion of people-to-people contacts, and ongoing initiatives such as the
Youth Exchange Programmes, Media Exchange Programmes, Special Training Courses
for ASEAN Diplomats and Eminent Persons Lecture Series. India has established
Centres for English Language training (CELT) and Entrepreneurship Development
Centres (EDC) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV countries).
An ASEAN-India Eminent Persons Group (AIEPG), established as
per the Plan of Action 2010-15, to “chart a vision statement towards the
long-term strategic partnership between ASEAN and India in addressing regional
and global issues”, with Eminent Persons representing all the 10 ASEAN
countries, ASEAN Secretariat and Eminent Persons from India held four meetings:
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 2-3 August 2011; New Delhi, India 20-21 October 2011;
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 9-10 March 2012 and Kochi, India, 16-17 September 2012
and finalized their Report to the Leaders. The 10th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom
Penh took note of the ‘Report to the Leaders’ of the AIEPG and commended the
AIEPG for their excellent work in producing a good and concise Report.
Delhi Dialogue is a track 1.5 event held annually in New
Delhi where leaders, opinion makers, diplomats, academia and think-tanks of
India and ASEAN come together to discuss ways to intensify and broaden
political, strategic, economic and civil society interaction between the two
regions. Delhi Dialogue V under the theme ‘India-ASEAN: Vision for Partnership
and Prosperity’ was held in New Delhi on February 19-20, 2013. It was
inaugurated by Shri. Salman Khurshid, External Affairs Minister of India. H.E.
Mr. Le Luong Minh, Hon’ble Secretary General of ASEAN, H.E Senator A. Kohilan
Pillai, Deputy Foreign Minister of Malaysia, H.E. U. Zin Yaw, Deputy Foreign
Minister of Myanmar, H.E. Mr. Pham Quang Vinh, Deputy Foreign Minister of
Vietnam and senior representatives from all other ASEAN member states
participated in it.
Two other major events organized in the run-up to the
Commemorative Summit included the 2nd ASEAN-India Car Rally and a Shipping
Expedition of the sail training ship INS Sudarshini to ASEAN countries. The INS
Sudarshini Expedition was flagged off from Kochi on 15 September 2012. The Ship
port calls included Padang, Bali, Manado, Brunei, Cebu, Manila, Da Nang,
Sihanoukville, Bangkok, Singapore, Klang, Phuket and Sittwe, before it returns
to India via Port Blair to conclude at Kochi on March 29, 2013.
The ASEAN-India Car Rally 2012 was flagged off from
Yogjakarta, Indonesia on 26 November 2012. The rally traversed through 8 ASEAN
countries (Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao PDR,
Myanmar) and reached Guwahati on 16 December 2012 after covering a distance of
about 8000 kms over 21 days. ASEAN and Indian Leaders gave a ceremonial flag
down to the Car Rally on 21 December 2012 at New Delhi. Several “Marker” events,
including business seminars, tourism road-shows and cultural performances were
organized along the route of the Car Rally and the ports of call of INS
Sudarshini, to highlight how connectivity can impact business and
An ASEAN-India Artists Camp was held in Darjeeling, India,
from June 11-17, 2012 and the ASEAN-India Civilizational Dialogue in Patna on
July 20, 2012. Cultural troupes from all ASEAN countries performed in various
cities in India including Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati and
Thiruvananthapuram on December 13/14, 2012 and finally participated at a fusion
cultural performance on the evening of December 20, 2012, to mark the
ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit.
The signing of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement paves
the way for the creation of one of the world’s largest FTAs – a market of almost
1.8 billion people with a combined GDP of US$ 2.8 trillion. The ASEAN-India FTA
will see tariff liberalisation of over 90 percent of products traded between the
two dynamic regions, including the so-called “special products,” such as palm
oil (crude and refined), coffee, black tea and pepper. Tariffs on over 4,000
product lines will be eliminated by 2016, at the earliest.