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33rd ASEAN Summit-2018

33rd ASEAN summit began with call for multilateralism, international cooperation to address economic, environmental and terrorism-related challenges.

PM visited Singapore and attended the ASEAN-India Summit held on sidelines of 33rd ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit, 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit.India also participated in 3rd “Quad” Meeting.

The theme of the ASEAN Summit was ‘Resilience’ and ‘Innovation’.

Asean consists of Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietna

Asean reaffirmed its commitment to multilateral trade and made substantial progress towards completing negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Asean was unable to conclude negotiations for the RCEP during a summit in Singapore, postponing them till 2019, Philippines Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez said.

The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between Asean and six Asia-Pacific states with which the regional bloc has existing Free Trade Agreements — namely China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Backdrop

An ongoing trade dispute between Washington and Beijing has threatened to weaken the Asean economy, which was forecast to become the fourth biggest in the world by 2030, after the US, China and the EU.

The humanitarian crisis of Myanmar’s minority Rohingya community.

Climate change threats in the region, terrorism and the shift to digital technology were other issues in focus at the forum. 

ASEAN-INDIA Commemorative Summit

ASEAN- INDIA commemorative summit took place to celebrate 25th anniversary of establishment of  dialogue partnership. The theme of the summit was “Shared Values, Common Destiny”.

The most significant outcome of the summit was the “Delhi Declaration’’,  which talks about various issues like maritime cooperation, stability, economic ties, joint fight against terror etc.

The summit comes in the background of the expansionist tactics followed  by China in the South China Sea and also marking a major shift from India’s earlier “LOOK EAST” POLICY to the enhanced “ACT EAST” POLICY,  which signifies India’s increased commitment to ASEAN members.

ASEAN accepted India as a sectoral partner in 1992 and full time dialogue partner in 1996. ASEAN has thus helped India expand in Asia ,post LPG reforms and motivating to formulate its “Look East” policy, which India has enhanced to as “Act East” policy to strengthen relations with the eastern neighbor countries.

India and ASEAN signed a Free Trade Agreement in 2009 which came into effect in 2010. The FTA  has strengthened the economic ties between both the sides. The trade between the two stood around $ 70Bn for 2016-2017.

What are the key mentions?

  • MARITIME – ASEAN-India cooperation in the maritime domain was one of the key focus areas.
  • Growth and development for the Indo-Pacific region was the prime objective behind this agenda.
  • Shared vision for peace and prosperity through a rules-based order for the oceans and seas was emphasized.
  • Respect for international law, notably UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) was stressed as critical.
  • The reference to freedom of navigation and UNCLOS came in the backdrop of China’s position on the disputed South China Sea.
  • Humanitarian and disaster relief, and security cooperation were also agreed as areas of cooperation.
  • Support for the implementation of Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea(DOC) was expressed.
  • TERRORISM – Close cooperation among countries for combating terrorism, especially cross border movement of terrorists found mention.
  • ECONOMY – The declaration called upon the states to intensify efforts towards finalising the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
  • India proposed a framework to ASEAN for cooperation in the blue economy sector.
  • It offered to set up digital villages in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
  • This would be by utilising the $1 billion line of credit for connectivity.
  • Besides, 2019 will be marked as the year of India-ASEAN tourism by both the sides
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