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17th June 2022 (6 Topics)

India-ASEAN conclave for Multilateralism


Emerging threats of disruptions in food, energy security, prices of fertilisers and commodities after Ukraine crisis, the foreign ministers of India and ASEAN countries agreed to uphold ‘multilateralism’ in jointly responding to the regional and global challenges.


India-ASEAN relations

  • India is hosting the two-day conclave to mark the 30th anniversary of its relations with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • The ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar.
  • ASEAN, a 10-nation grouping, is considered one of the most influential groupings in Southeast Asia.
  • India and several other countries, including the US, China, Japan and Australia, are its dialogue partners.
  • The ASEAN-India dialogue relations started with the establishment of a sectoral partnership in 1992.
  • This graduated to full dialogue partnership in December 1995 and summit-level partnership in 2002.

What Multilateralism means?

  • Multilateralism, in the form of membership in international institutions, serves to bind powerful nations, discourage unilateralism, and gives small powers a voice and influence that they could not otherwise exercise.
  • Multilateralism may allow one great power to influence another great power
  • When enacting foreign policies, governments face a choice between unilateralism, bilateralism and multilateralism.
  • Bilateralism means coordination with another single country.
  • Multilateralism has attempted to find common ground based on generalized principles of conduct, in addition to details associated with a particular agreement. 

Key Highlights of the Conclave

  • Countering China: By obliquely referring to China’s assertiveness in the region, both India and ASEAN grouping had commitment to multilateralism founded on the principles of the international laws.
  • Multilateralism: They said to maintain an open and inclusive regional cooperation framework, support ASEAN Centrality in the evolving rules-based regional architecture and uphold multilateralism.
  • Taking stand in International conventions: The Charter of the United Nations, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other relevant UN treaties and conventions were committed to be followed in the region for open and cooperative Indo-pacific.
  • India’s sole stand: India fully supports a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN with a central role in the Indo-Pacific.
  • On Ukraine crisis: Both sides should identify a new set of priorities while navigating the difficulties arising from Ukraine.
    • Subject: Geography (GS I)
    • Sub-topic: Geographical Features
    • Subject: Environment (GS III)
    • Sub-topic: Environmental Conservation

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