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Indo-Pacific Peace and Stability

Context

The 19th ASEAN-India Summit recently took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar represented India.

Relevance

GS Paper – 2: Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests, Bilateral Groupings & Agreements, India and its Neighbourhood.

Mains Question

Instead of joining the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, India should prefer bilateral economic forums with the United States. Do you agree with the assertion? Discuss the importance of IPEF in the Indo-Pacific region as well. (200 Words)


Summit of ASEAN and India

  • Annual ASEAN-India summits are held. It gives India and ASEAN the opportunity to engage at the highest level.
  • PM Modi attended the 18th ASEAN-India Summit, which will take place virtually in October 2021. The Vice President of India will attend this year’s summit.

ASEAN-India Cooperation

  • In 2002, ASEAN and India became Summit-level partners, and in 2012, Strategic Partners.
  • There is considerable overlap between India’s “Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative” and ASEAN’s “Indo Pacific Outlook.”
  • India is adamant that a “cohesive and responsive ASEAN” is required for “regional security and growth.”
  • The year 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations, and the leaders designated it as ASEAN-India Friendship Year in October 2021.

The India-ASEAN Trade Relationship

  • ASEAN is India’s fourth largest trading partner in general, and India is ASEAN’s seventh largest trading partner, accounting for 10.2% of India’s total trade.
  • India’s total trade with ASEAN from April 2021 to March 2022 was $78.90 billion. ASEAN’s trade balance is extremely favourable.
    • On the other hand, ASEAN became and continues to be China’s largest trading partner in 2020.
    • From January to April 2022, ASEAN’s total trade with China was $274.50 billion.
  • ASEAN and India have set a 200 billion USD trade target for 2022.
  • Investment: ASEAN FDIs to India totaled $117.88 billion between 2000 and 2021. Singaporean investments in India ($115 billion) accounted for the majority of this.
    • Indian investment in ASEAN totals US$ 55.5 billion from April 2019 to March 2022, with Singapore receiving US$ 51.5 billion.
  • In terms of trade and investment, the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) has been under review for some time. India has called for an early review of the Agreement.
  • AITIGA has been in operation since 2010.

India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)

  • In November 2019, while participating in 14th East Asia Summit (EAS), PM Modi launched the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) (IPOI).
  • IPOI seeks to ensure security and stability of the regional maritime domain.
  • IPOI is an open, non-treaty-based initiative for countries to work together for cooperative and collaborative solutions to common challenges in the region.
  • IPOI draws on existing regional architecture and mechanisms to focus on seven pillars:
    • Maritime Ecology o Maritime Resources o Capacity Building and Resource Sharing
    • Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
    • Collaboration in Science, Technology, and Academics o Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport

ASEAN’s Indo-Pacific Outlook (AOIP)

  • The ten-member ASEAN adopted the ‘ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific’ in June 2019.
  • It outlines ASEAN’s Indo-Pacific concept and strategy.
  • Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar recently spoke at the 19th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom Penh. As the current Chair of ASEAN, Cambodia hosted this Summit.

Highlights

  • At the conclusion of the summit, both sides issued a joint statement reaffirming the importance of o maintaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety, freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific region, and o commitment to peaceful dispute resolution in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
  • The joint declaration called for the formation of a comprehensive strategic partnership and increased anti-terrorism cooperation.
  • ASEAN member countries appreciated India’s support for ASEAN’s centrality in the evolving regional architecture.
  • It also recognised India’s ongoing contributions to regional peace, security, and prosperity, as well as to ASEAN integration and the ASEAN community-building process.
  • India and ASEAN also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism and transnational crimes, such as international economic crimes and money laundering, cybercrime, drugs and human trafficking, and arms smuggling.

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