Friday, 19 April 2019

Essay on India And ASEAN For Students

Essay on India And ASEAN For Students

ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) came into being to step up economic cooperation among the member countries. The number of its member countries was five at the time of its member countries was five at the time of its birth on 08 August 1967. The founding members of the association were Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillippines, Singapore and Thailand. It soon emerged as a successful organisation which could fulfil the aspirations of the member countries, and then more countries came to join it, namely Brunei Darussalam in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Lacs and Myanmar in 1997 and Cambodia in 1999. This brought the total membership of the ASEAN to ten.

The combined population of the ASEAN countries is close to 900 millions. This region is one of the fastest growing regions in the world as on today. The combined gross national product (GNP) of the member nations has grown to a staggering US$312 billions and per capita income stands at $497. The average economic growth rate of the region during the previous decade was as high as 5.5 percent. Similar was the case with the world export which stood at 10.8 per cent. The foreign investment to the ASEAN countries too grew up to 40 percent.

The three main objectives for the member nations to come together on a common platform were:
  • To promote economic, social and cultural development of the region through cooperative programmes;
  • To safeguard the political and economic stability of the member countries against big power rivalry; and
  • To serve as a forum for the resolution of intra-regional differences.
The first summit meeting was held in Bali, Indonesia in February 1976. In it, the member countries signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South-East Asia and the Declaration of ASEAN Concord. The stress of both the documents was to ensure regional peace and stability, and fostering economic and social growth. This opportunity was also availed to establish a small permanent secretariat in Jakarta to provide administrative and follow-up support to the member countries.

Ever since its inception, the ASEAN has gone on to include new aims, especially in the field of industrial and trade development, and has succeeded in its endeavour to a great extent. The making of Free Trade Area in the ASEAN nations has given an unprecedented boost to the economy of the region.

Besides the leaders of the member countries conducting summit meetings, informal annual meetings are also held in accordance with the resolution passed in its ASEAN Summit in Bangkok. The first such meeting was held in Jakarta in December 1996.

As far as India is concerned, it could not ignore an economic giant in its neighbourhood. Efforts were made during the prime-ministership of PV Narsimha Rao with the policy of ‘Lok to the East’. The real impetus to the effort was provided by Atal Behari Vajpayee. India was the first country to too be admitted in 1992 as a sectoral partner in the areas of trade and investment. It became a full dialogue partner in 1996 with the right to participate in the foreign minister’s conference. India has played even a bigger role in the Association. India and the ASEAN have agreed to develop concerted programmes of cooperation combating terrorism and to work towards creating a Free Trade Area. The reason for including terrorism in its agenda was basically due to the terrorist threat prevailing in the world as on today, besides the dreaded terrorist strike in Bali. India has also proposed to observe greater tariff concessions to its less developed member countries. With this a new chapter of India’s cooperation with the Southeast Asian nations is being written which will bring rich dividends.



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