Brief on ASEAN-India relations Brief on ASEAN-India relations

Brief on ASEAN-India relations

Indian Mission to ASEAN

(Jakarta)

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Overview of India-ASEAN- Relations

India began formal engagement with ASEAN in 1992 as a “Sectoral Dialogue Partner” (Secretary level interaction) and subsequently as a “Dialogue Partner” (1995). This was further upgraded to the Summit level in 2002, when the first such Summit level meeting was held.

2. At the 20 year Commemorative Summit Meeting in New Delhi (December 2012) our Dialogue Partnership was further “elevated” to a “Strategic Partnership”.

Institutional mechanisms for engaging ASEAN

3. The following is the structure of interaction.

(i) Summit/AIFMM/AISOM

As with any multilateral platform, engagement with ASEAN is a multi-level interaction process. At the apex is the annual summits (“ASEAN-India Summit”) supported by bi-annual meetings at the Foreign Minister level (“ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting”-AIFMM) and the tri-annual Senior Official level meetings (“AISOM”) (ie, standalone, prior to AIFMM, prior to AI Summits). The cycle of meetings begins at Ambassador’s level (ASEAN India Joint Cooperation Committee Meeting – AIJCC).

ASEAN-India Summit

ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting

ASEAN-India Senior Officials Meeting (AISOM)

(ii) The ASEAN India Plan of Action & sectoral level Work Plans, for cooperation activities.

Mutually beneficial cooperation activities is one of the tools that is used to engage the ASEAN platform. Cooperation activities are identified either as part of the 5 year “Plan of Action” approved at the Foreign Ministers level, or through the Work Plans of cooperation generated during interactions with ASEAN ‘Sectoral Bodies’.

Plan of Action

AIJCC

4. The Jakarta-based ASEAN-India Joint Cooperation Committee (“AIJCC”) mechanism comprising Indian Ambassador to ASEAN and the 10 PRs of ASEAN countries is a standing mechanism tasked with approving expenditures out of the ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund (AIF), and monitoring follow up to the various Summit level decisions that have been taken. It also supports preparations for the AISOM, AIFMM and AI Summit meetings.

ASEAN-India Joint Cooperation Committee Meeting

Delhi Dialogue

5. The “Delhi Dialogue” (DD) mechanism hosted by EAM annually, traditionally also attended by some ASEAN Foreign Ministers, serves as the main Track 1.5 mechanism for the engagement. The DD-mechanism allows participation of think tanks, academics and prominent civil society persons from both India and the ASEAN region, in addition to government representatives from both sides with the objective of contributing ideas and perspectives to furthering the India-ASEAN strategic partnership. The typical mechanism to ensure that the conclusions of DD process enters the formal ASEAN-India dialogue is to have the DD reported “noted” or “endorsed” at the AIFMM (Foreign Minister level) meetings.

Sectoral Dialogue mechanisms:

6. In addition to the Summit-Foreign Minister-SOM-Ambassador level interactions, Indian line ministries also interact with their ASEAN counterparts through sector-specific dialogue mechanisms. The following sectoral interactions are being actively pursued:

  • For business and trade: The AEM+India meetings (Ministerial level)
  • For Energy: EAS Energy Ministers Meeting (Ministerial level)
  • For Education: EAS Education Ministers Meeting (Ministerial level)
  • For activities in the ICT domain; digital connectivity with ASEAN: TELMIN+India meetings (Ministerial level).
  • For promoting maritime connectivity activities: ASEAN India Maritime Transport Working Group (AIMTWG) (Official)
  • For promoting road connectivity activities: ASEAN Highways Sub WG (AHSWG) (Official level)
  • For promoting cooperation activities in the Agriculture sector: ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AIMMAF) (Ministerial level)
  • For promoting security sector cooperation including combating terrorism, transnational crimes, drug trafficking. SOMTC+India (SOM level)
  • For promoting cooperation in S&T and the Space Sector: ASEAN-India Working Group on S&T (AIWGST) (Secretary level)

ASEAN India Centre (AIC)

7. Proposed by an Eminent Persons Group in 2012 it is envisaged as a standing institution made up of nominated Indian and ASEAN officials/private sector personnel. Presently, the MoU for the establishment of AIC has been circulated amongst the ASEAN Member States for their consideration.

ASEAN-led frameworks

8. In addition to all the above India-ASEAN mechanisms, India also engages the ASEAN multilateral platform through participation in meetings of various ‘ASEAN-led frameworks” ie, multilateral platforms chaired by ASEAN. In particular, India regularly participates in the meetings of the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting+ (ADMM+) and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) meetings and its supporting processes. The most important amongst the ASEAN-led frameworks is the EAS which is a Leaders-only format comprising leaders from the 10 ASEAN countries and India, US, Australia, New Zealand, RoK, Japan, Russia and China. These ASEAN-led frameworks are widely expected to eventually evolve into the principal building blocks of an ASEAN centered regional security architecture.

India-ASEAN economic engagements

9. The three main formal institutional mechanisms being used to promote the India-ASEAN economic ‘connect’ are as follows:

  • ASEAN Economic Ministers-India Meeting (AEM + India): The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) is one of the main ASEAN ‘sectoral bodies’ and therefore AEM-India meetings, one of our most important sectoral body engagements; Commerce Minister attends these meetings. In recent times main agenda of discussions in AEM-India meetings has been review of AITIGA.
  • The ASEAN India Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (2003): finalized during the 2nd Summit meeting in 2003, the agreement provides the ‘mandate’ for the creation of an ASEAN-India Free Trade Area. Subsequently, under its provisions, an (i) ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA, signed 2009, in-force 1 January 2010); (ii) the ASEAN-India Agreement for Trade in Services (AITISA, signed 2014 and all partied ratified it in 2018) and Agreement on Investment (signed 2014, have been finalized and ratified by all parties).
  • ASEAN-India Business Council (AIBC): Set up in 2003 as part of the measures contemplated to promote Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between India and the ASEAN region.

10. India’s economic engagement with the ASEAN provides some sense of the present levels of India’s economic ‘connected-ness’ to the ASEAN region compared to other Dialogue Partners.

11. Trade in Commodities: Taken in aggregative terms, commodity trade between India and ASEAN region increased from US$ 5.836 billion in 1996-97 to US$ 81.33 billion in 2017-18 and owing to the pandemic, the current trade figures for 2020-21 stands at US$ 78.90 billion (Table 3).

12. Investment: Between 2000-2019 cumulative FDIs from ASEAN to India was $90.802 billion, but these were mainly accounted for by Singaporean investments in India ($88.37 billion). India’s total investments into ASEAN stand at US$ 2.059 billion (2020).

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Annexure 1

 

 

TABLE 2: INDIA’S TRADE WITH INDIVIDUAL ASEAN COUNTRIES (2020-21)

 

India’s total trade with ASEAN region = US$ 78.90 billion (Source: DGFT)

 

Trade Figures in Billion USD

S no

Country

Export

Import

Total Trade

Net

 

1

Indonesia

5.026

12.470

17.496

-7.44

2

Singapore

8.675

13.304

21.980

-4.62

3

Malaysia

6.057

8.373

14.430

-2.31

4

Vietnam

4.999

6.120

11.120

-1.12

5

Thailand

4.237

5.682

9.919

-1.44

6

Philippines

1.457

0.572

2.029

0.885

7

Myanmar

0.772

0.526

1.299

0.245

8

Brunei

0.062

0.329

0.392

-0.26

9

Lao

0.027

0.001

0.029

0.025

10

Cambodia

0.168

0.039

0.208

0.129

Source: DGFT

 

TABLE 3: EVOLUTION OF INDIA-ASEAN OVERALL TRADE (1996-2021)

 

Trade Figures in Billion USD

S. no

Year

Export

Import

Total Trade

Net

 

1

1996-97

2.902

2.934

5.836

-0.032

2

1997-98

2.464

3.396

5.86

-0.932

3

1998-99

1.629

4.317

5.946

-2.688

4

1999-00

2.237

4.629

6.866

-2.392

5

2000-01

2.913

4.147

7.06

-1.234

6

2001-02

3.457

4.387

7.844

-0.93

7

2002-03

4.618

5.15

9.768

-0.532

8

2003-04

5.821

7.433

13.254

-1.612

9

2004-05

8.425

9.114

17.539

-0.689

10

2005-06

10.411

10.883

21.294

-0.472

11

2006-07

12.607

18.108

30.715

-5.501

12

2007-08

16.413

22.674

39.087

-6.261

13

2008-09

19.14

26.202

45.342

-7.062

14

2009-10

18.113

25.797

43.91

-7.684

15

2010-11

25.627

30.607

56.234

-4.98

16

2011-12

36.744

42.158

78.902

-5.414

17

2012-13

33.008

42.866

75.874

-9.858

18

2013-14

33.133

41.278

74.411

-8.145

19

2014-15

31.812

44.714

76.526

-12.902

20

2015-16

25.133

39.909

65.042

-14.776

21

2016-17

30.961

40.617

71.578

-9.656

22

2017-18

34.203

47.133

81.336

-12.93

23

2018-19

37.473

59.321

96.794

-21.848

 

24

2019-20

31.546

55.369

86.915

-23.823

 

25

2020-21

31.485

47.420

78.90

-15.93

 

Source: DGFT

 

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