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About the East Asia Summit


Recently, India’s External Affairs Minister attended the 13th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and utilized the opportunity to engage in discussions with China’s top diplomat, on the sidelines of the event. They discussed outstanding issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), emphasizing the importance of peace and the disengagement of troops.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. East Asia Summit (EAS)
  2. India and its Role in the East Asia Summit (EAS)

East Asia Summit (EAS)

  • The East Asia Summit (EAS) was established in 2005 as an initiative led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • It serves as a leader-led forum in the Indo-Pacific region, bringing together key partners to address strategic political, security, and economic issues.

Principles and Values:

  • The EAS operates based on the principles of openness, inclusiveness, respect for international law, and the centrality of ASEAN as the driving force behind the forum.

Proposal and First Summit:

  • The idea of an East Asia Grouping was first proposed by then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1991.
  • The first EAS summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 14 December 2005.


  • The EAS comprises 18 members, including the 10 ASEAN countries and eight dialogue partners.
  • ASEAN countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Dialogue partners: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States.

Summit Timing and Supportive Meetings:

  • The EAS is typically held alongside ASEAN Leaders’ meetings in the fourth quarter of each year.
  • It is supported by various ministerial and senior officials’ meetings, addressing various sectors like foreign affairs, economy, defense, and education.

Priority Areas of Cooperation:

  • The EAS focuses on six priority areas of cooperation: environment and energy, education, finance, global health issues and pandemic diseases, natural disaster management, and ASEAN connectivity.

Broad Range of Topics:

  • In addition to the priority areas, the EAS also covers other topics of common interest and concern, such as trade and investment, regional architecture, maritime security, non-proliferation, counterterrorism, and cyber security.

India and its Role in the East Asia Summit (EAS)

Founding Member and Active Participant:

  • India has been a founding member of the East Asia Summit since its establishment in 2005.
  • It has consistently participated in all EAS meetings and activities, showcasing its commitment to regional cooperation.

Enhancing Act East Policy:

  • India sees the EAS as a crucial platform to strengthen its Act East Policy, which aims to deepen engagement and foster stronger ties with East and Southeast Asian nations.
  • Through the EAS, India seeks to enhance economic, political, and strategic partnerships with ASEAN and other countries in the region.

Unveiling Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI):

  • During the EAS in Bangkok in November 2019, India unveiled the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
  • The IPOI is a strategic initiative aimed at forging partnerships to create a secure and stable maritime domain in the Indo-Pacific region.

Contributions to EAS Cooperation:

  • India actively contributes to various fields of cooperation within the EAS framework.
  • Its contributions encompass areas like disaster management, renewable energy, education, health, connectivity, maritime security, and counterterrorism.

-Source: The Hindu

April 2024