ASEAN was established on 8th August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand with the signing
of the Bangkok Declaration by the founding fathers of the countries of
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. The preceding
organisation was the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA) comprising of Thailand,
the Philippines and Malaysia. Five other nations joined the ASEAN in subsequent
years making the current membership to ten countries. We are going discuss about
why AESEAN was formed its purpose, principle,how does it and its members
cooperation and eveopment,important region economic, new changes faced by ASEAN
in this Article.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (more commonly known as ASEAN) is
an intergovernmental organization aimed primarily at encouraging economic growth
and regional stability among its members.
There are currently 10 member states:
Malaysia, Brunei, Burma, Singapore, Thaiand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia,
The Main Moto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community
”. ASEAN’s aim is to economic growth, social progress, cultural
development among its members and protection of regional peace stability. The
Motivations for the birth of ASEAN were to the common fear of communism, reduced
faith in or mistrust of external powers in 1960’s.
The ASEAN Charter entered
into force on 15 December 2008. With the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter,
ASEAN established its legal identity as an international organization and took a
several steps in its community-building process. The ASEAN Community is
encompass of three pillars, the Political-Security Community, Economic Community
and Socio-Cultural Community. ASEAN commands far greater influence on
Asia-Pacific trade, political, and security issues than its members could
achieve individually. U.S. relations with ASEAN have been excellent since its
The United States became a Dialogue Partner country of ASEAN in 1977.
Dialogue partners meet regularly with ASEAN at the working and senior levels to
guide the development of our regional relations.
Moto : “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”
The body is headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Secretary General: Lim Jock Hoi
Official Languages: Burmese, Filipino, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Malay, Mandarin,
Tamil, Thai and Vietnamese
Working Language: English
Why was it set up?
ASEAN was founded half a century ago in 1967 by the five Southeast Asian nations
of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. This was during the
polarized atmosphere of the Cold War, and the alliance aimed to promote
stability in the region. Over time, the group expanded to include its current 10
members. Regional cooperation was further extended with the creation of the ASEAN
Plus Three forum in 1997, which included China, South Korea and Japan. And then
the East Asia Summit, which began taking place in 2005 and has expanded to
include India, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.
Purpose Of Asean:
Accelerating economic growth, cultural development and social progress in the
region by joint initiatives in the spirit of partnership and equality to cement
the foundation for a peaceful and strong community of SE Asian countries.
Promoting peace and stability in the region by incorporating respect for justice
and the rule of law in the relationships between nations and adherence to the
United Nations principles.
Promoting active collaboration and mutual assistance in subjects of common
interest in social, economic, cultural, administrative, scientific and technical
Providing assistance to member countries via training and research facilities in
the educational, administrative, technical and professional domains.
Cooperating for a better usage of agriculture and industries, trade expansion
(including studying the problem of international commodity trade), improving
communication and transportation facilities, and improving living standards
among the people.
Promoting SE Asian studies.
Exploring more avenues for further cooperation among themselves, and maintaining
close and advantageous cooperation with other international groupings of similar
Asean Fundamental Principe
Asean Head Forum:
- Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial
integrity, and national identity of all nations;
- The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external
interference, subversion or coercion;
- Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
- Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;
- Renunciation of the threat or use of force; and
- Effective cooperation among themselves.
ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF): Launched in 1993, the twenty-seven-member
multilateral grouping was developed to facilitate cooperation on political and
security issues to contribute to regional confidence-building and preventive
ASEAN Plus Three:
The consultative group initiated in 1997 brings together
ASEAN’s ten members, China, Japan, and South Korea.
East Asia Summit (EAS): First held in 2005, the summit seeks to promote security
and prosperity in the region and is usually attended by the heads of state from
ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the
United States. ASEAN plays a central role as the agenda-setter.
What does it do now?
ASEAN aims to promote collaboration and cooperation among member states, as well
as to advance the interests of the region as a whole, including economic and
trade growth. It has negotiated a free trade agreement among member states and
with other countries such as China, as well as eased travel in the region for
citizens of member countries. In 2015, it established the ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC), a major milestone in the organization’s regional economic
The AEC envisions the bloc as a single market with free flow
of goods, services, investments and skilled labour, and freer movement of
capital across the region.True to its original mission, the organization strives
towards peace and stability in the region: members have signed a treaty pledging
not to develop nuclear weapons, and most have agreed to a counter-terrorism
pact, which includes sharing intelligence and easing the extradition process of
How do members cooperate?
One of the organization’s aims is to promote technical and research cooperation
among its members. The ASEAN Outstanding Scientist and Technologist Award is
presented every three years to recognize nationally and internationally
acclaimed achievements in the field. Areas of research include safeguarding the
region’s environment and wildlife. The association’s Center for Biodiversity was
established to promote cooperation on conservation and sustainability throughout
the region and serves as secretariat of ASEAN Heritage Parks, which oversees37
In the field of education, the ASEAN University Network was founded in 1995 to
promote academic and youth cooperation between member states. As part of this
initiative, the University Games have been held every two years since 1981.
Important region economic:
If ASEAN were a country, it would be the seventh-largest economy in the world,
with a combined GDP of $2.6 trillion in 2014. By 2050 it's projected to rank as
the fourth-largest economy. Home to more than 622 million people, the region has
a larger population than the European Union or North America. It also has the
third-largest labour force in the world, behind China and India.
India - ASEAN Relationship:
India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of its foreign policy
India has repeatedly underscored the centrality of the ASEAN in its
Since 2005, the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) has been the
nucleus and nexus of our partnership.
India contributes actively to ASEAN-led fora such as the East Asia Summit, the
ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus, and ASEAN Regional Forum.
ASEAN-India and East Asia summits symbolised India's "continued commitment" to
strengthen its engagement with ASEAN members.
This year the leaders of the ASEAN countries were the chief guests at the
Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.
We celebrated 25 years of dialogue partnership under the theme of “Shared
Values, Common Destiny”, 15 years of summit-level interaction and five years of
Economic relations with respect to India-ASEAN trade and investment relations
have been growing steadily.
We are also witnessing rise in investment flows, particularly quality of FDI
Investments from ASEAN.
ASEAN Significance for India
3 Cs–Culture, Connectivity and Commerce– will shape India’s ties with the ASEAN
bloc. b) Connecting India's North-eastern states with ASEAN.
India is part of ASEAN led RCEP which aims to create the world’s largest free
trade area with more than a third of the global GDP and commerce.
For the first time, bilateral trade between ASEAN and India has crossed US$ 80
Singapore has become India’s investment and trading hub in the East.
Economic Cooperation And Development:
- ASEAN occupies a central place in the security architecture of the Indo-Pacific
- Maritime cooperation in terms of connectivity, safety and security has gained
- India and ASEAN can collaborate to combat terror financing, cyber security
threats, tax evasions and many more.
- India needs ASEAN support in achieving a rules-based regional security
- Geo-Strategic Significance
- Partnership with ASEAN nations might help India counter the growing presence of
- ASEAN is seen as the most successful regional organisation next only to the EU
- To develop connectivity through water, ASEAN and India are working on the
Kaladan Multi Model Transit Transport Project.
- ASEAN-India cooperation in maritime domain is one of the key focus areas for
growth and development of the Indo-Pacific region.
While during and after World War II, security, human rights, and democracy were
of primary importance in creating regional organizations, by the end of the 20th
century and with the end of the Cold War, regional grouping for trade and
economic cooperation became a prime concern. This gave birth to the Economic
Cooperation Organization in 1985, the South Asian Association for Regional
Co-operation in 1985, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in 1989, the Central
European Initiative in 1989, the Arab Maghreb Union in 1989, the Central
American Integrations System in 1991, the South African Development Community in
1992, the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, the Common Market for
Eastern and Southern Africa in 1994, the ASEAN Regional Forum in 1994, the ASEAN
Plus Three in 1997, the Central African Economic and Monetary Community in 1998,
the Community of SahelSaharan States in 1998, and the East African Community in
1999. Even further new subgroups formed within the larger regional groups for
This new regionalism, led by economic aspirations in the
post–Cold War period, became quite prominent and is very much reflected in the
formation of ASEAN Plus Three, the Central European Initiative, and the Central
African Economic and Monetary Community. The two decades of relative peace at
the international level after World War II and changing international politics
from war to development galvanized many states to group together into regional
organizations and work collectively toward development.
Prior to the mid-1980s,
before the neoliberal economic policy focusing on free market and economic
development was dominant, several regional organizations had already emerged for
economic cooperation and development. Some of these were the Council of Arab
Economic Unity, which emerged in 1964; the Andean Community of Nations, or
Andean Pact (1969); the Pacific Islands Forum (1971); the Caribbean Community
(1973); the Mano River Union (1973); the Economic Community of West African
States (1975); the Latin American Integration Association (1980); and the Gulf
Cooperation Council (1981).
ASEAN’s New Challenges:
The ASEAN region, made up of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,
Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, boasted a
combined GDP of roughly $2.77 trillion as of 2017, with predictions for enviable
GDP growth rates of around 5.3% per year through 2019. Here are seven challenges
the bloc faces in promoting sustainable economic growth, and suggested steps to
- Geopolitical stability and regional relationships
- Governance challenges for businesses
- New business models
- Changing demographics
- Inclusive growth and sustainable development
- Regional digital economy
Regional organizations are increasingly facing and adapting to new challenges,
such as environmental issues, climate change, terrorism, violence by nonstate
actors, energy security, prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass
destructions, crime, and drug trafficking. Although regional organizations work
as democratic decision-making bodies to resolve territorial and larger security
and economic issues, there remain many issues—internal democracy, coercion
within states, hegemonic relations with other organizations, inability to expand
or contract as needed, and shifting of conflict from stronger regional
organizations to weaker nonmember nations—that need to be resolved. Weaker
nations have often become victims of conflict between powerful organizations and
nations—examples of such victim nations include Vietnam and Afghanistan.
Currently, the United States is the only global superpower.
It has played an
important role in shaping the world economic and military security since World
War II. It has also played an important role in the disintegration of the Soviet
bloc and the integration of Eastern European countries into NATO. However, many
members of organizations in which the United States is also a member have felt
threatened by the United States’ direct and indirect interference. Today, to a
large extent, agendas in many regional organizations are driven by the agenda
suitable to and consented by the United States. As the only superpower, the
United States can start war against any country to protect its national interest
or maintain its supremacy.
For example, as part of the World Trade Organization,
the United States can block free trade to protect its farmers. Although regional
organizations (along with the United Nations and other international
organizations) face challenges to their sovereignty and autonomy as a result of
U.S. interference, the United States, as the only superpower, is able to
constrain, contain, and limit regional conflicts that otherwise might be
detrimental to international peace and cooperation.
The most important characteristics of the ASEAN Way nurtured in the past 50
years may be summarised as follows:
Contemporary On Asean
- Non-interference, inclusiveness, and harmony.
- Liberalization, cooperation, and community building
- ASEAN centrality and a leading role
- To priorities economic development based on open and cooperative principles.
- To manage the differences and disputes prudently with goodwill and a spirit of
- To support regional cooperation and institution building.
ASEAN was to set up likely on Mar 22nd and now it was postponed US to June
2020 at Da Nang due to COVID 19 and also INDIA is not going to participated in
this ASEAN Trade. It is also epected between Oct 1 to Nov 30
Need for maritime cooperation and centrality of trade for the prosperity of the
strategic Indo Pacific region.
India must speed up work on connectivity projects, such as the
India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, and building new trade and transport
linkages with all the ASEAN Nations.
Stronger strategic and security relations with equally strong economic ties will
create greater interdependence between India and the ASEAN members.
This will serve as an effective counter to China’s growing clout in the region
There are tremendous opportunities in enhancing physical and digital
connectivity between India and ASEAN.
There is still much room to expand air links to support growing business and
A robust maritime connectivity between India and ASEAN is crucial for
realization of the full potential of the India ASEAN trade.
An alternative, economic corridor based multimodal connectivity such as
Mekong-India Economic Corridor may be promoted, which will connect Indian coast
with unexplored Southeast Asian coast and beyond.
Enhanced maritime connectivity would provide lower logistic costs, and motivate
increased trade in goods and services.
India’s geo strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region depend on India’s
bilateral and multilateral engagements with the countries in the region.
Maintaining cordiality with ASEAN as an organization and with the individual
Southeast Asian countries remains crucial for India. Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a very well settled organization to maintain and solved
the matters and issues of Southeast Nations which is its member countries.
makes treaty with other nations regarding trade and business towards Southeast
Asian Countries. It provides equal opportunity to all its members related to
trade and commerce. It maintains the external affairs of its member countries
among themselves and others too but it does not interfere with internal matters
of any of the member country.
ASEAN summit held once in two years where all the
member countries participated and discuss on issues regarding to relations with
other nations and trade and commerce. In this meeting members also solve their
personal issues and problems. After formation of ASEAN South East Asian
countries look healthy in their relations with other nations and trade and
commerce between themselves and others.
India is pulling out of the RCEP deal
shows the limitations of the ties of the ASEAN nations. Maintaining cordial
relation both bilaterally and multilateral with these nations is essential for
India's economic and security interest of the nation.
Written By: Suriya T
- Nagi R., ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), 20 years, Lancers
- Regional Organization and Order in South-East Asia by Arnfinn Jorgensen-Dahl