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East Asia Summit

Topics covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

East Asia Summit

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: EAS- composition, objectives, significance for India and issues associated.

Context: India is set to host an East Asia Summit conference this week in Chennai with a focus on maritime security cooperation and tackling challenges in the maritime domain.

It will be organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in partnership with the governments of Australia and Indonesia.

Significance:

The Conference is expected to serve as a platform for free and open dialogue among all the EAS partners on various issues of maritime security cooperation, and to come up with useful suggestions on tackling challenges in the maritime domain in a cooperative manner.

Background:

This conference is the fourth in a series of EAS Maritime Security Conferences organised by the Indian government — the first conference was organised in New Delhi in November 2015, the second in Goa in November 2016 and the third in Bhubaneswar in June 2018.

About East Asia Summit:

EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.

It is a forum held annually by leaders of 18 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian regions.

EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings.

The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 14 December 2005.

There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS. These are – Environment and Energy, Education, Finance, Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases, Natural Disaster Management, and ASEAN Connectivity. India endorses regional collaboration in all six priority areas.

Potential:

  1. EAS, representing nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population and over 20 per cent of global trade, is a mega gathering and is a testimony to the rise of Asia.
  2. EAS is a region of strong and fast growing economies. It is considered the third pole of world economy after the US and Europe.Its four major economic players namely Japan, China, India and Korea are among the twelve largest ranking global economies.
  3. Financial and monetary cooperation between ASEAN+6 or EAS countries could be an area of fruitful cooperation in view of the fact that their combined foreign exchange reserves exceed $ 3 trillion.

Significance for India:

  1. For India, EAS acts as an alternative to the APEC in which India doesn’t enjoy the membership.
  2. India’s membership to the EAS is a recognition of its fast growing economic and political clout.
  3. Act East policy of India: In order to build multi-faceted relations with ASEAN and other multilateral nations and strengthen bilateral relations India has emphasised upon its Act East Policies for which EAS will prove crucial.
  4. China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and the nature of its growing investments has led the ASEAN countries to view India as a potential power that could balance a rising China.
  5. India’s strength lies in service sector and information-technology and Japan has a sound capital base. Thus there are complementarities in trade and production structures of the EAS members.
  6. India’s deep cultural and civilizational links with the EAS countries are widely known. India can play a major role in cultural and people to people cooperation with the region, which can reinforce the economic momentum for community building.

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Sources: pib.