• Recently, India participated in the 17thASEAN-India Summit.

India’s Stand

  • India underlined the centrality of ASEAN in India’s Act East Policy.
  • A cohesive, responsive and prosperous ASEAN is central to India’s Indo-Pacific Vision and contributes to Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). 
  • The importance of strengthening convergence between India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific, to ensure a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. 
  • India invited the ASEAN countries to cooperate on various pillars of India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
  • India announced a contribution of US$ 1 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund.
  • Growing the importance of greater physical and digital connectivity between ASEAN and India and reiterated India’s offer of US$ 1 billion Line of Credit to support ASEAN connectivity.
  • The ASEAN leaders acknowledged India’s contribution towards promoting peace and stability in the region and welcomed India’s support to ASEAN centrality. The Leaders also welcomed the adoption of the new ASEAN-India Plan of Action for 2021-2025.
  • Both sides noted the importance of promoting a rules-based order in the region including through upholding adherence to international law, especially the UNCLOS. The leaders affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, safety and security in the South China Sea, and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.

Back to basics


  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten countries in Southeast Asia, which promotes inter-governmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational and socio-cultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia.
  • The ASEAN Secretariat is located at Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
  • It is established in 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration)by its founding fathers. 
  • Founding Fathers of ASEAN are:Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
  • Chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
  • The supreme policy making body of ASEAN is ASEAN Summit.
  • As the highest level of authority in ASEAN, the Summit sets the direction for ASEAN policies and objectives. Under the Charter, the Summit meets twice a year.

Member Nations

  • Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia
  • Tricks to remember the Organization-TV CLIP of MBBS & BPL TV MIMCS

Mission Objectives

  • To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours.
  • To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law.
  • To encourage active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest
  • To study the problems of international community trade, the improvement of their transportation and communications facilities and the raising of the living standards of the nations.
  • To promote Southeast Asian studies.
  • To maintain close and positive co-operation with existing international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes.

Fundamental Principles

  • Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations;
  • The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion, or coercion;
  • Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
  • Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;
  • Renunciation of the threat or use of force; and
  • Effective cooperation among themselves.

Principle of ASEAN-X

  • This means that if all member states are in agreement, a formula for flexible participation may be used so that the members who are ready may go ahead while members who need more time for implementation may apply a flexible timeline.

ASEAN-led Forums

ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF): 

  • Launched in 1993, the twenty-seven-member multilateral grouping was developed to facilitate cooperation on political and security issues to contribute to regional confidence-building and preventive diplomacy.

ASEAN Plus Three: 

  • The consultative group initiated in 1997 brings together ASEAN’s ten members, China, Japan, and South Korea.

East Asia Summit (EAS): 

  • First held in 2005, the summit seeks to promote security and prosperity in the region and is usually attended by the heads of state from ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. ASEAN plays a central role as the agenda-setter.

Strengths and Opportunities

  • ASEAN commands far greater influence on Asia-Pacific trade, political, and security issues than its members could achieve individually.
  • It constitutes 3rd largest population in the world, of which more than half is below thirty years of age.
  • 3rdlargest market in the world – larger than EU and North American markets.
  • 6thlargest economy in the world, 3rd in Asia.
  • Free-trade agreements (FTAs) with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Fourth most popular investment destination globally.
  • Home to more than 600 million people, the region has a larger population than the European Union or North America.
  • It also has the third-largest labour force in the world, behind China and India.
  • ASEAN is the world’s third largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI).


  • Regional imbalances in the economic and social status of its individual markets.
  • The emphasis on consensus sometimes becomes a chief drawback.
  • There is no central mechanism to enforce compliance.
  • Gap between rich and poor ASEAN member states remains very large and they have a mixed record on income inequality.
  • The members’ political systems are equally mixed with democracies, communist, and authoritarian states.
  • Inefficient dispute-settlement mechanism, whether it be in the economic or political spheres.
  • While the South China Sea is the main issue exposing the organization’s rifts.
  • ASEAN has been divided over major issues of human rights. For example, crackdowns in Myanmar against the Rohingyas.
  • Inability to negotiate a unified approach with regards to China, particularly in response to its widespread maritime claims in the South China Sea.

India and ASEAN

  • India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of her foreign policy and the foundation of Act East Policy.
  • India and ASEAN already have 25 years of Dialogue Partnership, 15 years of Summit Level interaction and 5 years of Strategic Partnership with ASEAN.
  • India has a separate Mission to ASEAN and the EAS in Jakarta.
  • India places ASEAN at the centre of its Indo-Pacific vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region.
  • India has an annual Track 1.5 event Delhi Dialogue, for discussing politico-security and economic issues between ASEAN and India.
  • ASEAN is India’s fourth largest trading partner.
  • People-to-People Interaction with ASEAN, such as inviting ASEAN students to India each year for the Students Exchange Programme, Special Training Course for ASEAN diplomats, Exchange of Parliamentarians,
  • India has made considerable progress in implementing the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and the Kaladan Multimodal Project
  • India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam / Protocol of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement (IMT MVA).



  • Recently, 1st ASEAN-India Hackathon 2021 concludes.

Key Details

  • The ASEAN – India Hackathon is well aligned with the vision of ASEAN – plan of action on science, technology and innovation (APASTI) 2016-2025”.
  • ASEAN India Hackathon offers a unique platform for our youngsters to put their minds and energies together. It is an excellent means to inculcate cooperative spirit among the participants and also exposes them to diverse viewpoints, cultures and work ethics. cutting across national boundaries.
  • ASEAN-India Hackathon aims to provide solutions to address the challenges in the ‘Blue economy’ and the education sector. Students meticulously designed innovative solutions in the field of Blue Economy with the help of Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, AIS Data and Real-Time Data monitoring.
  • The ASEAN-India Hackathon-2021 aims at enhancing the cooperation between India and ASEAN countries in science, tech and education. All the ASEAN countries participated in this unique initiative of providing innovative solutions to overcome the challenges under two broad themes of Blue Economy and Education. Student teams from all the 10 ASEAN countries as well as India participated in this ASEAN-INDIA Hackathon. 
  • The Ministry of Education’s Innovation Cell and the All-India Council for Technical Education in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and ASEAN countries organized the first ASEAN-India Hackathon.

What is ASEAN? | World Economic Forum