Association of South East Asian Countries (ASEAN) | IAS Target IAS Target

Association of South East Asian Countries (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising countries in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, educational, political, military, security, and socio-cultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia.
ASEAN also regularly engages other countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. A major partner of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered by many as a global powerhouse, the central union for cooperation in Asia-Pacific, and a prominent and influential organization. It is involved in numerous international affairs and hosts diplomatic missions throughout the world.
Establishment Bangkok Declaration (8 August 1967)
Secretariat Jakarta, Indonesia
Motto One Vision, One Identity, One Community
Anthem The ASEAN Way
Working language English
Official languages 10 languages
Founder countries Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand
Member countries 10 states and 2 observers
Members Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam

Facts about ASEAN

  • 3rd largest market in the world
  • 6th largest economy
  • FTAs with China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, India, and New Zealand
  • Global export: 7 percent in 2016

ASEAN goals

  • Regional peace and stability, respect for justice and the rule of law
  • To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organisations.
  • Focus on economic growth, social progress and cultural development ASEAN nations.
  • To promote Southeast Asian studies, health and other development parameter with focus on quality of life.
  • Working within ASEAN and outside ASEAN on matters of common interest in the economic, scientific, social, cultural, technical and administrative fields.
  • Focus on agriculture and industries specially when climate change is risky for our survival, the expansion of their trade, the improvement of transportation and communications facilities and the raising of the living standards of the people.

Nuclear Free ASEAN

The bloc also focused on peace and stability in the region. On 15 December 1995, the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty was signed to turn Southeast Asia into a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

ASEAN's Institutional Arrangement

  • Chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
  • ASEAN Ministerial Councils: The Charter established four important new Ministerial bodies to support the Summit.
  • ASEAN Summit: The supreme policy making body of ASEAN and Summit meets twice a year. The Summit set the direction for ASEAN policies and objectives.
    • ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council
    • ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC)
    • ASEAN Economic Community Council
    • ASEAN Political-Security Community Council
  • The primary mode of decision-making in ASEAN is consensus and consultation

ASEAN-led Forums

  • ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF):

    27 members
  • ASEAN Plus Three:

    ASEAN + China, Japan, and South Korea
  • East Asia Summit (EAS):

    ASEAN + Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.
    ASEAN plays a central role as the agenda-setter.

Concerns of ASEAN

  • Countries not on same page on some complex issue like no unity in South China sea disputes, and Rohingya crisis
  • Inability to negotiate a unified approach with regards to China, particularly in response to its widespread maritime claims in the South China Sea.
  • Inequality b/w member countries with respect to social and economic parameter, this creates unequal wealth allocation
  • Decision of ASEAN is a voluntary and poor record of adherence, the absence of central mechanisms to enforce compliance.
  • Many regional programmes and initiatives failed to materialize because poor countries face a resource deficit to implement regional commitments
  • The membersí political systems are equally mixed with democracies, communist, and authoritarian states.
  • The emphasis on consensus sometimes becomes the a chief drawback-difficult problems have been avoided rather than confronted.
  • Inefficient dispute-settlement mechanism, whether it be in the economic or political spheres.

ASEAN-India Relationship

  • ASEAN is an important focus area under India's Act East Policy.
  • India and ASEAN are celebrating the silver jublee of their relationship and India also has a Strategic Partnership with ASEAN
  • ASEAN is India's fourth largest trading partner.
  • The ASEAN-India Free Trade Area has been completed.
  • ASEAN India-Business Council (AIBC) to bring key private sector players from both sides on a single platform.
  • Political Security Cooperation: India places ASEAN at the centre of its Indo-Pacific vision of Security and Growth for all in the Region.
  • Political Security Cooperation: India places ASEAN at the centre of its Indo-Pacific vision of Security and Growth for all in the Region.
  • Programmes to increase People-to-People ties with ASEAN, like scholorship programmes for ASEAN students, Training for ASEAN diplomats, Exchange of Parliamentary delegation and the others.
  • ASEAN-India Centre (AIC): To undertake policy research, advocacy and networking activities with organizations and think-tanks in India and ASEAN.
  • To identify Cooperation in the Maritime Domain as the key area of cooperation under the ASEAN-India strategic partnership (Delhi Declaration). Annual Track 1.5 events for discussing politico-security and economic issues between ASEAN and India (Delhi Dialogue)