ASEAN AT 50 - SOME REFLECTIONS

Lead Story By Dr. Temjenmeren Ao & Dr. Dhrubajyoti Bhattacharjee

ASEAN at 50

ASEAN is a regional organisation that was created not only for intra-regional growth and cooperation, but also to secure all the ASEAN states from the challenges that arise beyond their regional borders.

The year 2017 marked the 50th year of the establishment of ASEAN. Over the last fi ve decades, the association has continued to evolve in its scope and function. Southeast Asia has undergone remarkable transformation in the last fi fty years in terms of the economic, strategic, political, and security aspects as well as its socio-cultural elements, with the demand ever-increasing for cooperation at multiple levels. ASEAN has been able to create a physical space and a sense of regionalism, which is distinct from its surrounding neighbours.

ASEAN is a regional organisation that was created not only for intra-regional growth and cooperation, but also to secure all the ASEAN states from the challenges that arise beyond their regional borders. The growing economic inequalities amongst member nations, rising intolerance within the civil society as well as mounting frustration against governing forces (especially in Thailand, Myanmar and Philippines), constantly challenges the various factors, which have been integral in the successful functioning of ASEAN. While commemorating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, stress has been laid on regaining the centrality of ASEAN and moving towards the establishment of a community.

The deliberations that were undertaken in these meetings, part of the ASEAN 50th anniversary celebration, attempted to identify areas of cooperation that needed to be strengthened in the future, while appreciating, the various projects and concerted efforts, which has not only strengthened economic linkages within the region, but ASEAN as a whole. However, with changing leaderships, unpredictable display of nationalism from governments within ASEAN, and the uncertainty whether the code of conduct would be successful in diffusing the tension in the South China Sea; as it would be legally non-binding, strains and challenges within ASEAN would remain in the future.

It is in this context that this paper has assessed the twin objectives of ASEAN for which it was formed in 1967; to deliver economic prosperity and peace. Security and economy remains to be the underlying objective of ASEAN and it is in this context that the paper would incorporate the outcomes of the various ASEAN Ministerial meetings in 2017, in order to understand the evolution of the association in the context of the persisting as well as the evolving challenges.

The following is the link to the full paper: http://icwa.in/pdfs/IB/2014/ASEANat50IB23012018.pdf



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Author

Dr Temjenmeren Ao is a Research Fellow at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), New Delhi. Prior to which Dr Ao worked as an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies, where he completed a project titled, “China’s Aerospace Sector: A Study on its Rise through Transfers of Technology”. His area of interests includes the study on US-China relations, the evolving economic and security engagements in Southeast Asia, studies on dual-use technology transfers, and areas relating to maritime safety, security, and cooperation in the Indo-Pacifi c. He has completed his Masters of Arts in Economics from the Centre for Economics Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, and holds a PhD in International Relations from School of International Studies, JNU, Delhi. At ICWA, Dr Ao is engaged in the research on India’s Foreign Policy role and options towards nations in Southeast Asia.

Dr Dhrubajyoti Bhattacharjee is a Research Fellow at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), Sapru House, New Delhi. Prior to joining ICWA, Dr Bhattacharjee was an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Siliguri College, University of North Bengal for ten years (2005-2015). He received his M. Phil and Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University working extensively on Pakistan's foreign policy decision making under civilian and military leaderships. Among contributing many chapters in edited books, he has published his book on Pakistan’s foreign policy decision making. He has also written numerous research papers and articles in various journals, web journals, newspapers as well as for the Indian Council of World Affairs. His interest also includes Terrorism, Human Security, Foreign Policy Decision Making, India and Myanmar, India and Vietnam, India and Israel, South Asian politics, political and strategic development in Pakistan and Afghanistan and ASEAN.

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