Jaishankar, Blinken meet amid ASEAN discussions on Taiwan, Myanmar
Aug. 5, 2022

In News:

  • In what was their second bilateral meeting in less than a month, foreign minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held bilateral discussion.
    • The two leaders had met last month in Bali on the sidelines of a G20 summit.
  • The meeting took place in Cambodia on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • ASEAN Regional Forum
  • News Summary

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • ASEAN is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten Southeast Asian countries.
    • The ten members are - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • It aims to promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitate economic, political, security, military, educational, and socio-cultural integration among its members and other Asian states.
  • The ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) in 1967 formalized the principles of peace and cooperation to which ASEAN is dedicated.
  • The ASEAN Charter entered into force on 15 December 2008.

ASEAN-India Engagement

  • ASEAN and India became Summit-level partners in 2002, and Strategic partners in 2012.
  • There is ample closeness between India's "Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative" and ASEAN's "Outlook on Indo Pacific".
  • India firmly believes that a "Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN" is essential for "Security and Growth for All in the Region".

ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)

  • Established in 1994, ARF is an important platform for security dialogue in the Indo-Pacific.
  • It provides a setting in which members can discuss current security issues and develop cooperative measures to enhance peace and security in the region.
  • Members - It comprises 27 members:
    • the 10 ASEAN member states;
    • 10 ASEAN Dialogue Partners, including Australia, Canada, China, European Union (EU), India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and United States; Bangladesh, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste.

News Summary

  • EAM, S Jaishankar, visited Cambodia to participate in ASEAN Regional Forum as well as in India-ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting.
  • On the sidelines of these events, he held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as Foreign Ministers of Australia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Key Highlights:

  • New Delhi chose to maintain a studied silence on the developments in Taiwan strait
    • There is a spike in US-China tensions over the visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
    • India’s stand was aimed at ensuring that it does not wish to cause a controversy with China at a sensitive time in border talks.
  • India also avoided mentioning of One China Policy
    • The silence on the current developments was also due to the fact that India does not wish to claim adherence to the “One China policy”.
    • India has followed the one China policy since 1949, indicating it does not recognise any government other than the PRC in Beijing.
      • India only conducts trade and has cultural ties with Taiwan.
    • However, New Delhi stopped mentioning the policy in official statements and joint declarations after 2008.
    • The then government had taken this decision after:
      • a series of Chinese statements claiming Arunachal Pradesh as a part of the Chinese territory, renaming Arunachal towns with Mandarin names,
      • China started issuing stapled visas to Indian citizens who were residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • India-ASEAN foreign ministers’ dialogue
    • The dialogue focused on overall developments in the Indo-Pacific region and ways to further expand ties against the backdrop of geopolitical developments, including the crisis in Ukraine.
    • The leaders identified the digital domain, health, agriculture, education and green growth as areas that drive the partnership between the two sides.
  • Bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State
    • The two leaders discussed regional and global issues, including the Sri Lanka crisis, Russian invasion in Ukraine and its implications for global food security.