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Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


What to study?

For Prelims: ASEAN- objectives, members and functions.

For Mains: Significance of the group, challenges present and ways to make it more effective.

 Context: In an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit held online recently, leaders of the virus-hit region warned of the crippling economic cost of COVID-19, calling for trade routes to reopen to protect jobs and food supplies, as well as the stockpiling of medical equipment.

What is ASEAN?

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional organization which was established to promote political and social stability amid rising tensions among the Asia-Pacific’s post-colonial states. The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”. ASEAN Secretariat – Indonesia, Jakarta. 


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.

Institution Mechanism:

Chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.

ASEAN Summit: The supreme policy making body of ASEAN. 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.

ASEAN Ministerial Councils: The Charter established four important new Ministerial bodies to support the Summit.

  1. ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC).
  2. ASEAN Political-Security Community Council.
  3. ASEAN Economic Community Council.
  4. ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council.


Significance of the grouping:

3rd largest market in the world – larger than EU and North American markets. 6th largest 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.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Geographical location of asean countries.
  2. Total population of asean countries.
  3. Chairmanship of ASEAN.
  4. When and where Asean summits are held?
  5. What are Free-trade agreements (FTAs)?

Mains Link:

Examine the significance of ASEAN for India’s economic, geo-strategic and security imperatives?

Sources: the Hindu.