Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established in 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam then joined on 7 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.

The aims and purposes of ASEAN are:

(i) To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations;

(ii) To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter;

(iii) To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields;

(iv) To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres;

(v) To collaborate more effectively for the greater utilization of their agriculture and industries, the expansion of their trade, including the study of the problems of international commodity trade, the improvement of their transportation and communications facilities and the raising of the living standards of their peoples.

ASEAN and India

India has been following a 'Look East Policy' since 1990s. India became a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992, which was upgraded to full dialogue partnership in 1996. Since 2002, we have had annual Summits with ASEAN. To mark the 20th anniversary of our dialogue-level partnership and the 10th anniversary of our Summit-level partnership with ASEAN, India hosted the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit on the theme 'ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace and Shared Prosperity' in New Delhi on December 20-21, 2012. ASEAN-India functional cooperation is diverse and includes cooperation across a range of sectors, such as trade, science and technology, human resource development, space sciences, agriculture, new and renewable energy, information and communication technology, telecommunications, transport and infrastructure, tourism and culture.

At the 7th ASEAN-India Summit in October, 2009, India announced a contribution of USD 50 million to the ASEAN-India Co-operation Fund to support ASEAN-India projects across the range of sectors mentioned above. In addition,

India has set up an ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund with an initial corpus fund of USD 1 million and a USD 5 million ASEAN-India Green Fund for pilot projects to promote adaptation and mitigation technologies in the field of climate change.

The ASEAN-India Trade-in-Goods Agreement signed in August 2009 at the ASEAN-India Economic Ministerial Meeting held in Bangkok, became fully operational from August 2011 when the process of ratification by all the ASEAN countries was completed. In 2011-12, the total trade between India and ASEAN increased by 37% to reach USD 79.86 billion thereby surpassing the trade target of USD 70 billion by 2012, ahead of time. Negotiations for an ASEAN-India FTA in Services and Investments are currently underway.

Co-operation between India and ASEAN is being intensified, including in the cultural, educational and academic fields, through the promotion of people-to-people contacts, and other initiatives.

An Indian Parliamentary delegation attended the 31st General Assembly of ASEAN Inter Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) held in Hanoi, Vietnam from 20-25 September, 2010, where India was accorded 'Observer Status' by AIPA. The Indian Parliamentary delegation also attended the 32nd General Assembly of AIPA held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 18-24 September 2011 and extended an invitation to an AIPA delegation to visit India. An AIPA delegation led by the President of AIPA and Speaker of Speaker of the House of Representatives of Indonesia, Dr. Marzuki Alie visited India from July 29 to August 1, 2012.

Delhi Dialogue IV on the theme 'India and ASEAN: Partners for Peace, Progress and Stability' was held from February 13-14, 2012 in New Delhi which also flagged o ASEAN-India Commemorative Year celebration.

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