Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • HQ at Jakarta (Indonesia); Established in 1967 in Bangkok via Bangkok Declaration
  • Founding Fathers of ASEAN → Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand
  • Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam

Blue color – ASEAN Member

ASEAN follows the principle of ASEAN way viz.

  • Musyawarah And Mufakat [Consultation and Agreement]
  • Dont use force / confrontation
  • Dont interfere in the internal matters of states
  • Informal discussion
  • Minimal institutionalization

To achieve ASEAN way, Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) was signed, to which India also acceded in 2003 viz.

  • Theyll not interfere in the internal affairs of one another,
  • Theyll not use threat or use of force to settle differences / disputes
  • Theyll settle of differences or disputes by peaceful means,
  • Theyll effectively cooperate among themselves.
  • Theyll mutually respect each others independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity
  • Every State has right lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion

Evolution of ASEAN


Establishment of ASEAN


ASEAN regional forum (ARF) (India became its member in 1996)


ASEAN + 3 is formed (China + Japan + South Korea) to increase regional cooperation


    • Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) a currency swap agreement among ASEAN + 3
    • Provides emergency liquidity to economies during crises


    • ASEAN Community PlanSimilar to European Union, which will have three pillars viz.
      • ASEAN Political Security Community
      • ASEAN Economic Community
      • ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community

Timeline of India ASEAN Relations


India starts engaging with ASEAN, part of Look East Policy.


India becomes a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN


India becomes full dialogue partner of ASEAN


India starts having annual summits with ASEAN


India accedes to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) India signs counter-terrorism declaration with ASEAN.


    • FTA in goods signed
    • This established Free Trade Area established between India-ASEAN.


FTA in goods becomes effective


    • 20thAnniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue.
    • ASEAN India Commemorative Summit is held.
    • Now India becomes a strategic partner of ASEAN
    • FTA in services and investment- talks concluded


FTA in services and investment signed- by all ASEAN nations with India except Philippines.


ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) 1994

  • Dialogue platform between the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and its full dialogue partners
  • To provide diplomatic solutions to regional problems.

ARF has total 27 member states

ASEAN Countries (10)

Dialogue Partners (10)

Other nations (7)

    1. Brunei Darussalam
    2. Cambodia
    3. Indonesia
    4. Laos
    5. Malaysia
    6. Myanmar
    7. Philippines
    8. Singapore
    9. Thailand
    10. Vietnam
    1. Australia
    2. Canada
    3. China
    4. EU
    5. India
    6. Japan
    7. ROK
    8. New Zealand
    9. Russia
    10. United States
    1. Bangladesh
    2. DPRK
    3. Mongolia
    4. Pakistan
    5. Papua New Guinea
    6. Timor Leste
    7. Sri Lanka

ARF Procedure

  • Annual ARF meeting at the level of Ministers
  • Track-1 Diplomacy ARF Senior Officials Meeting discussing security measures
  • Track-2 Diplomacy Seminars of scholars and officials from member states
  • Annual inter-sessional meetings on Confidence Building Measures and Preventive Diplomacy

ARF Vision 2020

  • Regional security challenges & measures
  • Confidence building and cooperation

Hanoi Plan of Action (POA) to implement Vision 2020 involving concrete and practical actions in the fields of:

  • Disaster relief
  • Maritime security
  • Non-proliferation and Disarmament
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Peacekeeping

India and ARF

  • Member of the ARF since 1996
  • Our participation is consistent with our Look East policy, and development of closer links with the ASEAN as a full-dialogue partner.
  • Weve co-chaired ARF Inter-sessional Support Group (ARF-ISG) on CBMs  and Preventive Diplomacy
  • Weve organized several seminars, workshops and training programmes for ARF Members viz.

  • UN Peacekeeping course at Delhi
  • Maritime security training course at Chennai
  • Anti-piracy training at Mumbai by Coast Guard
  • Cyber security

Recent Development-


ASEAN just complete 50 year of establishment.

India has planned to invite the ten leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as Chief Guests for 2018 Republic Day celebrations. This Plan has come at a time when India is engaged in a stand-off with China in the Sikkim sector.

If invited Republic Day 2018 would be the first Republic Day event that will have so many leaders as the chief guests. In the recent past, world leaders like former US President Barack Obama, former French President François Hollande and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan have been invited as the chief guests for the Republic Day celebrations.


India’s commitment to strengthen its ties with ASEAN countries is reflected by its ‘Look East Policy’ becoming ‘Act East Policy.’ At the India-ASEAN Summit held in Myanmar in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared that India’s ‘Look East Policy’ has become ‘Act East Policy.’

With respect to the focus areas of cooperation with ASEAN, the External Affairs Minister described them in terms of three Cs-Commerce, Connectivity and Culture.

This year also marks the 25 years of dialogue partnership between India and ASEAN, 15 years of summit-level interaction, and five years of strategic partnership. India and ASEAN had upgraded their relationship to a strategic partnership in 2012.


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