ASEAN expresses worry over China's desire for Myanmar's government to attend the summit (#GS II)

The organization and mandate of major international institutions, agencies, and fora are discussed.

Why is it in the news?

  • A Chinese ambassador has persuaded Southeast Asian governments to let Myanmar's military ruler to attend a regional gathering hosted by China's President next week, despite opposition from other leaders.

Issue in detail:

  • Following a coup on February 1 that toppled Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government and resulted in bloodshed, Myanmar's membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has come under scrutiny.
  • As a result, Myanmar's military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, was prevented from attending an ASEAN gathering after he failed to follow through on commitments to allow an ASEAN envoy to meet with legislators overthrown in the coup.
  • Later, ASEAN leaders proposed inviting a Myanmar non-political representative. In the end, Myanmar was not represented.

What is ASEAN, exactly?

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional organization created to ensure political and social stability among Asia's post-colonial states in the face of rising tensions.
  • ASEAN's motto is "One Vision, One Identity, One Community."
  • The ASEAN Secretariat is headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • The founding fathers signed the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) in 1967, and the organization was created.
  • The founding fathers of ASEAN are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
  • The 10 members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Importance of ASEAN for India:

  • In response to China's aggressive moves, particularly the confrontation in Ladakh, India made the ASEAN the centerpiece of its Act East policy, believing that a cohesive and responsive ASEAN is essential for regional security and growth.
  • The SAGAR Vision cannot be realized without ASEAN; the area is critical for supply chain diversification and resilience in the post-Covid-19 economic recovery; and it is India's fourth-largest trading partner, with a trade volume of USD 86.9 billion.
  • India was named an ASEAN Sectoral Partner in 1992. Here's where you can find out more information.

Preliminary Exam Hot-Link:

  • The geographical location of the Asean countries.
  • The total population of the ASEAN countries.
  • Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • When and where are Asean summits held?
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