Search 14th November 2017 http://www.newsonair.com/Main_Audio_Bulletins_Search.aspx
TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.
India and ASEAN
India will hold ASEAN leaders as its Chief Guest on Republic Day celebrations 2018. ASEAN has very important role in India’s foreign policies. ASEAN was established in 1967 and hence now celebrating the 50th anniversary of its establishment. A permanent dialogue was started with India 25 years ago in 1992. India’s engagement with the ASEAN and wider Indo-Pacific region has acquired further momentum following the enunciation of the ‘Act East Policy’. So ASEAN meet at Manila in 2017 had a special significance. India and ASEAN have been working together in cooperation on political issues, security issues, economic issues and cultural issues. India has very ancient trade links, cultural links and civilizational links with the countries of South East Asia. Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia have so much of Indian influence- Hindu temples, Buddhist temples and now tourist and investment also
There is more than 70 billion dollar trade treaty between India and ASEAN member countries and comprises 10.85% of India’s total trade with the world. There is a very major investment- 17% of India’s Foreign Direct Investment comes from the ASEAN countries which has been almost 17 billion dollars in the last 17 years and Indian investment in ASEAN countries have been 40 billion US dollars. ASEAN countries are also important from any security point of view, defence point of America and Russia.
Geopolitics in South East Asia
The South East Asian region is changing with the rise of China through its economic progress and military progress as it should not be at the expense of other countries. Philippines President stated that bigger danger to ASEAN in the region was from terrorism, fundamentalism and danger of radicalisation. India has extended its support to ASEAN nations in these matters. The highlight of the dialogue was that no single country should be allowed to dominate the whole of Asian region.
India’s foreign policy is multi-directional as it has established good relationships with USA, Russia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and all the ASEAN member countries. India also strives to have good relation with China but response of China on some issues of core concern to India is not very positive, thus creating challenges for India’s foreign policy. India wants China to understand the concerns of other countries and does not act in a manner which can raise the fear, apprehensions of its neighbours. However recently, the realisation for the same came from the Chinese side in the sense that China and ASEAN Nations are about to start dialogue on code of conduct on the South China Sea. China has taken these concerns on board where they shall try to resolve their issues, particularly of the South China Sea where lot of artificial islands are being built by China. It had been a long standing desire of the ASEAN member countries to have a code of conduct in South China Sea, how different countries should act and behave. As China has agreed to work on that code of conduct, it is a very positive sign because whole of East Asia can progress well if all the countries stand together, work together and the area remains peaceful and stable.
For a stable grouping, ASEAN does not discuss any internal issue of any member country. Thus, Rohingya issue was not taken up despite it being a human right issue. However, there still are some countries like Laos who are pro-China and oppose their own member countries like Vietnam, Malaysia when they express strong opinion against
ASEAN countries and importance of regional security
In the new Afghanistan-Pakistan Policy of USA, there is greater understanding of India’s concerns and it has warned Pakistan to eliminate all terrorist groups operating from their country. ASEAN has supported India to fight against terrorism.
Another interesting point about the concern was North Korea and the whole region. The confrontation between US and North Korea has made entire world wary about proliferation of nuclear technology to countries having confrontation and trouble maker reputation. Here, china and Pakistan have been passing nuclear technology to North Korea, as a result of which North Korea is able to flex its muscles today.
Security of Indian ocean and Pacific is inextricably linked. India and South East Asian countries together with the ‘Quad’ have to maintain a peaceful region with open and secure maritime access. India can cooperate and coordinate with other countries on various issues like maritime security, terrorism, non-proliferation, irregular migration, etc. hence, this is a win-win equation for both India and ASEAN.
Connecting the dots:
- Quad has the strength and ASEAN-India partnership has the capability to restrict ‘One China’. Examine the above statement in context of changing geopolitics in region.