East Asia has been a region with maximum emphasis by the government. Hence, questions have been asked even in the optionals like Political Science (Indo-Japan). In GS, questions on it can be indirect like Blue revolution (Indo-ASEAN blue economy initiatives were popular prior to the exam). Hence, this area needs to be studied holistically!
Prime Minister of India participated in the East Asia summit
Placing it in syllabus
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- EAS – Origin, history and its objectives
- India and its role in EAS
- 13th East Asia summit
- Act East Policy of India and EAS
What is EAS?
- An initiative of ASEAN based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.
- Established in 2005, EAS allows the principal players in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss issues of common interest and concern at the highest level.
Aims and Objectives
Formed as a Leaders-led forum of 18 countries of the Asia-Pacific region to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity, It has now evolved as a forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on political, security and economic issues of common regional concern and plays an important role in the regional architecture.
It consists of ASEAN (i.e. Brunei, Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam) + 6 (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea), Russian Federation and the USA.
History of EAS
- The concept of an East Asia Grouping was 1st promoted in 1991 by Malaysia. The final report of the East Asian Study Group in 2002, established by the ASEAN+3 countries (i.e. China, Japan and ROK), recommended EAS as an ASEAN led development limited to the ASEAN +3 countries.
- The ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), Vientiane, 2005 welcomed the participation of ASEAN, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand, in the 1st EAS.
- 6th EAS, 2011 : USA and the Russian Federation were formally included as members of the EAS.
Indians role in it since its formation
- India has been a part all 12 EAS since its inception in 2005 and the fact that Indian PMs have participated in all the Summits, stands testimony to the importance India attaches to this process.
- There are 6 priority areas of regional cooperation under EAS – Environment and Energy, Education, Finance, Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases, Natural Disaster Management, Maritime Cooperation (2017) and ASEAN Connectivity. India endorses all 6 priority areas.
- 4th EAS (Thailand,2009) : Revival of Nalanda University was endorsed by all members, an idea 1st mooted by former President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2006.
- Under Education, India has taken 3 projects on harmonization of national qualification frameworks to facilitate student and people mobility in the region, the EAS regional leadership development program and facilitating technical and vocational training (TVET) teacher- student mobility.
- Under Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases, Australia and India are co-chairs of the Task Force for Access to Quality Medicines and other Technologies Task Force (AQMTF). India also hosted a Round table on Trauma Care and Nursing in October 2015, in New Delhi.
- 11th EAS : Flagship ASEAN-India Programme for combating Malaria towards elimination laid down
- Under Disaster Management, India hosted ‘EAS-India Workshop 2012: Building Regional Framework for Earthquake Risk Management’ in New Delhi
- India hosted the 1st Meeting of the 24×7 Points of Contact among the National Disaster Response Agencies of EAS countries, 2014, New Delhi in which a Virtual Knowledge Portal (VKP- a web based tool to share knowledge and best practices related to natural disaster risk assessment, mitigation and response among EAS countries) was launched, hosted by Natural Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi.
- 7th EAS, 2012 : the 16 EAS countries launched Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) where India is a part of and participated in the 1st RCEP Leaders’ Summit was held at the 12th EAS, 2017 (Manila, Philippines)
- The 3rd EAS Conference on Maritime Security and Cooperation was held in June 2018 in the coastal city of Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. The Conference focused on topics such as Maritime Safety and Security, Good Order at Sea, Blue Economy, amongst others.
- 12th EAS, 2017, the Leaders adopted the following Statements/ Declarations, in addition to the Chairman’s Statement :
- Statement on Chemical Weapons
- Statement on Cooperation in Poverty Alleviation
- Statement on Countering Ideological Challenges of Terrorism and Terrorist Narratives and Propaganda
- Statement on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.
13th summit decisions and India’s role in it.
- The 13th EASwas held in Singapore in November 2018
- During the summit PM mentioned that India is committed to a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
- India’s vision of a peaceful, open and inclusive Indo Pacific region, strengthening maritime cooperation and commitment to a balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact was re-iterated
- Also called for enhancing multilateral cooperation, economic and cultural ties among member nations.
Important decisions (Areas of cooperation)
Manila Plan of Action –
During the summit members welcomed the adoption of the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative (2018-2022) (Manila POA), with the inclusion of maritime cooperation as a new area of cooperation.
Environment and energy :
- Participants recognized the importance of promoting rules-based, open, transparent and competitive energy trade and investment markets to deliver resilient economic, energy security and environmental outcomes.
- They also welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the EAS Energy Cooperation Task Force (EAS ECTF) work plan (2017-2018) and the work plan for 2018-2019 under the 3 EAS ECTF work streams.
- Acknowledged the continued role of fossil fuels including natural gas and clean coal technologies in the region and called for deeper cooperation and concrete efforts, including mobilisation of finance from a wide variety of sources, to contribute to the region’s growth, energy security and sustainable ecosystems
- They also recognised that marine debris pollution is a global concern and that cooperation in this area among EAS participating countries is instrumental to address the trans-boundary nature of this issue.
Members reiterated their commitment to work together on the 14 priority areas enumerated under the Education Component of the Manila POA
Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases
Members reaffirmed their commitment to the goal of an Asia-Pacific free of malaria by 2030, and welcomed ongoing efforts to implement proposed actions in the endorsed Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Elimination Roadmap
Natural Disaster Management
- Participants reaffirmed their support for the implementation of One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region, the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme 2016-2020, as well as for strengthening the capacity of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre).
- And welcomed engagement between the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) and the national disaster management authorities of non-ASEAN EAS participating countries, and encouraged further cooperation in disaster management and joint emergency response among the EAS participating countries.
- Efforts to implement the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 made, which aims to achieve a seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated ASEAN that will promote competitiveness, inclusiveness, and a greater sense of community, and the establishment of the Lead Implementing Body for the MPAC 2025 Strategic Area on Sustainable Infrastructure.
- ASEAN Smart Cities Network was established for the progress made on developing a framework for smart city development in ASEAN as well as city-specific action plans.
- ASEAN Sustainable Urbanization Strategy was undertaken, which provides cities with useful toolkits to mitigate urban challenges.
Economic Cooperation and Trade
Members sought to improve the functioning of the World Trade Organization (WTO), including its monitoring, rulemaking and dispute settlement functions.
Commitment to implement the 2013 EAS Declaration on Food Security to enhance cooperation in food security was reaffirmed.
Members welcomed the inclusion of maritime cooperation as a new area of cooperation under the Manila POA – practical and comprehensive action lines to promote this area of cooperation.
South China Sea
Participants reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and over flight above the South China Sea and recognized the benefits of having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity