Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) | IAS Target IAS Target

Asia-Europe Meeting

The Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an Asian–European political dialogue forum to enhance relations and diverse forms of cooperation between its partners. The Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) is the institution of ASEM and established in 1996 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Initially, it consisted of 15 EU member states and 7 ASEAN member states plus China, Japan, Korea and the European Commission.
  • Pakistan, India, Mongolia, the ASEAN Secretariat and some EU Member States join ASEM in 2008
  • Australia, New Zealand and Russia in 2010
  • Bangladesh, Norway, and Switzerland in 2012
  • Croatia and Kazakhstan in 2014

Member states 53
ASEM represents about 62% of the global population, 57% of global GDP and 60% of world trade. ASEM addresses cultural, economic, financial, political, social, and educational issues of common interest, in a spirit of equal partnership and mutual respect.
In general, the ASEM Process is considered by the Partners involved to be a way of deepening the relations between Asia and Europe at all levels, which is deemed necessary to achieve a more balanced political and economic world order. The process is enhanced by the biennial meetings of Heads of State and Government, alternately in Asia and Europe, and biennial meetings of Foreign Ministers as well as other Ministerial Meetings, and other political, economic, and socio-cultural events at various levels.

The main components of the ASEM Process rest on the following 3 pillars:

  • Political Pillar
  • Economic & Financial Pillar
  • Social, Cultural & Educational Pillar

Key features of ASEM

  • ASEM has an informal process of dialogue, that is, it provides an open forum for policy makers and officials to discuss any issue.
  • ASEM also emphasize on equal partnership based on mutual benefit and mutual respect and it has dual focus both on high-level meetings and people-to-people.
  • ASEM covers multi-dimensional issues and devotes equal weight to political, economic and socio-cultural dimensions.

India and ASEM

  • India joined ASEM in 2006.
  • India is an active participant in ASEM.

  • ASEM provides India a platform to work with like-minded countries and share their experiences.
  • India hosted the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Delhi-NCR in 2013
  • India has been working with the ASEM in different areas of cooperation like
  • India’s first time participated ASEM summit in 2008 in Beijing.
    • green energy
    • pharma sector,
    • disaster management,
    • sustainable development and
    • preserving the cultural heritage of two continents.

  • During the 12th summit - 2018 in Brussels, India used the ASEM platform to raise concern about terrorism and urged the international community to work towards the early adoption of the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
  • India also urged International community for cooperation on Climate change for environment protection
  • India exhorted international community to join ‘International Solar Alliance’, and set example of Europe and Asia cooperation.
  • India also shared its commitment towards connectivity, free trade, the rules-based international system, in particular, strengthening WTO, multilateralism and cyber-security.

Criticism of ASEM

  • No consensus, regarding ASEM structure whether it should be developed as a state-to-state or a region-to-region structure.
  • The lack of concrete achievements.
  • Less space in media and other platform so awareness in people remain low
  • No consensus, regarding ASEM structure whether it should be developed as a state-to-state or a region-to-region structure.
  • ASEM dialogue is supposed to be “informal, loose and non-binding, and not intended to produce new agreements, treaties or contracts”. Yet, there is the desire to achieve “concrete and substantial results”. This lack of clarity in its overall principle and the lack of clearly defined objectives gave rise to different expectations and unrealized potential.
  • Less importance attached with ASEM summit as evident by low attendence, even head of state or head of government not attend summit.
  • The dialogue process limited to talk and information-sharing level but no actual plan to execute on the ground
  • Cooperation between ASEM members are influenced by the differences between the developed and developing countries interest. So consensus remain illusion because both bloc advanced their concerns

Highlights of 11th summit of ASEM at Ulaanbaatar

  • The declaration has reaffirmed ASEM’s commitment for greater partnership through informal political dialogue and initiatives in economic and socio-cultural fields.
  • It also has expressed its commitment for united fight against
  • Terrorism and violent extremism.
  • The declaration will also focus on cyber security and maritime security.

11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), 2018 in Ulaanbaatar Theme: ‘20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity.
12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), 2018 in Brussels Theme: Global Partners for Global Challenges