- India has been pursuing a "Look East Policy" since 1990s. There has been steady progress in the India-ASEAN relationship since the policy was initiated in 1991. India became a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992, a full dialogue partner in 1996 and
since 2002, engages in annual Summits with ASEAN.
- To mark the 20th anniversary of our partnership and the 10th anniversary of our Summit-level partnership, India hosted the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit on the theme "India and ASEAN: Partners in Progress and Prosperity" in New Delhi on December 20-21,
2012. The relationship was elevated to the level of Strategic Partnership during the Summit.
- India-ASEAN interaction is diverse and includes cooperation across a range of sectors, such as trade, science & technology, human resource development, health, space sciences, agriculture, new and renewable energy, information and communication technology,
telecommunications, transport and infrastructure, and tourism and culture. There are a total of 26 dialogue mechanisms with the ASEAN, in which our Ministers and officials participate.
- Plans of Action: Under the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity, which sets out the roadmap for long-term engagement, a Plan of Action was (2004-2010) was developed to implement some initiatives
and projects. A second Plan of Action for 2010-2015 was adopted at the 8th ASEAN-India Summit (Hanoi, 30 October 2010).
- Trade: India-ASEAN trade grew at compound annual growth rate of over 23% over last 11 years. The ASEAN-India Trade in Goods FTA was signed in August 2009 and entered into force on 1 January 2011. The trade between ASEAN
& India stood at US$76.73 billion in 2012-13. During the 10th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom Penh, the Leaders of India and ASEAN countries set a target of ASEAN-India trade of US$ 100 billion by 2015.
- Trilateral Highway: India’s flagship project with ASEAN to enhance connectivity is the 1360 km India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, which when completed, will provide seamless connectivity between Moreh in India
to Mae Sot in Thailand. India has already constructed 160km between Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo (TKK Road) in Myanmar and undertaken to build another 120 km of the Kalewa-Yargyi road segment and repair/upgrade 71 bridges on the TKK Friendship Road.
- Since June 2013 there is an annual institutionalised official level dialogue with ASEAN to discuss various projects of physical institutional and socio-cultural connectivity.
- Funds: Three funds have been established to finance collaboration projects between ASEAN & India in various sectors:
- ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund: At the 7th ASEAN-India Summit in 2009, India announced a contribution of USD 50 million to the ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund, to support implementation of the Plan of Action 2010-15,
- ASEAN-India S&T Development Fund (AISTDF) with a US$ 1 million contribution from India to promote joint collaborative R&D research projects in Science & Technology sectors. It become operational in 2009-10.
- ASEAN-India Green Fund: At the 6th ASEAN-India Summit (21 November 2007, Singapore) India announced the setting up of an ASEAN-India Green Fund with an initial contribution of US$ 5 million from India to support collaboration
activities relating to environment and climate change.
- Socio-cultural cooperation: Co-operation between India and ASEAN is enhancing in the cultural, educational and academic fields, through people-to-people contacts, the Eminent Persons Lecture Series, Youth Exchange Programmes,
Training for ASEAN Diplomats and a Media Exchange Programme. India has established Centres for English Language training (CELT) and Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDC) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV countries). There is ongoing annual
regular Parliamentary exchange under which a delegation of MPs from India attended the 35th General Assembly of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in September 14-20, 2014 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
- India has extended visa on arrival facility to seven ASEAN countries, namely, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar.
- An MoU on Strengthening Tourism Co-operation between India and ASEAN was signed at the India-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Tourism on January 12, 2012, in Manado, Indonesia.
- An ASEAN-India Eminent Persons Group (AIEPG) set up to draft a new India-ASEAN Vision - 2020 document submitted its report at the 10th ASEAN-India Summit (Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 19, 2012). The Vision Statement was adopted during the Commemorative
Summit in 2012 and continues to provide direction to the Strategic Partnership.
- An ASEAN-India Centre was inaugurated in 2013to brainstorm on various aspects of the Strategic Partnership and provide inputs to the policy makers.
- Delhi Dialogue: Delhi Dialogue was set-up in 2009 as a premier annual track 1.5 event to discuss politico-security and economic issues between ASEAN and India. Six editions of Delhi dialogue have been held so far. Under
the theme, "Realizing the ASEAN-India Vision for Partnership and Prosperity” Delhi Dialogue VI was held in 2013 in collaboration with Institute for Defense and Strategic Analyses, Indian Council of World Affairs. The seventh edition of Delhi Dialogue will
be held on March 11-12, 2015 with ASEAN India Center and ISIS Malaysia as partners. Indian Chamber of Commerce Kolkata, ICRIER, All India Association of Industries, ASSOCHAM and CII will be Associates in the organization of DD VII.
- The 11th India-ASEAN Summit was held in Brunei Darussalam from October 9-10, 2013. The Leaders took stock of the progress made in the India-ASEAN relationship and agreed to enhance co-operation on a range of issues, including trade, maritime security, food
and energy security, and physical and people-to-people connectivity. They reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen India-ASEAN cooperation, through the implementation of the Plan of Action 2010-15.
- The 12th ASEAN-India Summit will take place on November 12, 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
- India and G20
Call it the Power of 20. It’s the world’s most powerful economic club, bringing together 20 most developed and emerging economies in the world, spread across five continents. The G20 comprises around 90 per cent of the global GDP, 80 per cent of the world
trade and more than two-third of the world’s population. Six years and eight summits later, it’s a high moment for G20 as the leaders of the world’s premier economic forum gather for their 9th summit in Brisbane, the picturesque gateway to Australia, November
The Brisbane summit is set to be perhaps the most substantive one as it would seek to fructify some of key initiatives that have been in the making for some time and coalesce global efforts to achieve an additional 2 per cent growth that is expected to inject
$2 trillion into the global GDP and create millions of new jobs and viable employment opportunities around the world.
India’s core priorities
With India’s economy growing at a fast clip and armed with a solid majority in parliament, all eyes will be on India’s reform-minded Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he attends his first G20 summit in Australia. India has an ambitious multi-pronged agenda for
the G20 summit that ranges from deploying global surpluses for infrastructure development and inclusive development to energy efficiency and global action to mitigate ebola. Topping the list is lifting the global economic growth by 2 per cent – the overarching
goal of the Brisbane summit -- and blending growth with sustainable development and job creation.
Ahead of his trip, Prime Minister Modi has pithily encapsulated India’s core goals at the G20 summit as "global economic growth and stability, stable financial markets and global trading regimes and employment generation.” He has also underlined India’s development
priorities and enlisted the global support for accelerating "the creation of next generation infrastructure, which also includes digital infrastructure, and ensure access to clean and affordable energy.” He is also expected to highlight the importance of international
cooperation against black money.
Inclusive Development and Infrastructure
Many issues will be competing for the mindspace of the world leaders. Promoting inclusive development agenda and enhanced infrastructure investment will be a top priority for India at the G20 summit. With Prime Minister Modi looking to re-make India as a manufacturing
powerhouse and an economic dynamo, he is expected to renew the call to the world to ‘Make in India.” For the new dispensation in Delhi, enlisting global partnerships for infrastructure upgrade in New Delhi is not just an economic priority, but also a core
foreign policy priority as the Indian prime minister has consistently emphasised on infrastructure development in all his interactions and summit meetings with foreign leaders.
This time around, with the leaders of the world’s leading economies gathered on the same platform, he is expected to make a robust pitch for attracting more investment for infrastructure development in India as well as in the developing world. In India’s assessment,
infrastructure investment is crucial to lifting global growth. India has also stressed that the quantity as well as quality of infrastructure development is equally important. In this context, the concretisation of a Global Infrastructure Initiative (GII)
at the Brisbane summit could be critical. "The GII will be designed to complement the work of international development banks and the initiatives in member countries, such as India's recently-announced 'PPP (Public-Private Partnership) in India'. A mechanism
to implement specific elements of the GII will be announced in Brisbane,” says Patrick Suckling, Australia’s High Commissioner to India.
Reducing the cost of remittances will be another key priority for New Delhi. This is also an issue close to Prime Minister Modi’s heart as his government has made the welfare of the 25-million strong Indian diaspora spread across continents a core focus issue
of the country’s foreign policy. The leaders of G20 countries are aware that India is the single largest recipient of global remittances, and therefore a consensual decision on reducing transaction costs matters a lot to India. There is clearly a lot at stake
for India here: even 1 per cent reduction in costs of remittances would mean an additional flow of $700 million for India (at the current rate of $71 billion remittances). Besides, this is the hard-earned money of Indian workers who toil hard in difficult
conditions in foreign lands, and send their savings back home, a point stressed eloquently by Mr Prabhu in his pre-summit briefing. "Many of our friends from Kerala, many of our friends who work in more than 50 degree centigrade. They work hard, send the money
back to India which supports the Indian economy significantly because that reduces the gap of Current Account Deficit,” he said. India’s target is to reduce cost of remittances cost from 10 per cent to 5 per cent. "It is very ethical, logical, and very important
that why should a worker who is working there should pay a bulk part of his money in order to remit money back home, just because the banking system does not operate in a proper manner,” he added.
Revamping global tax regime
India is also going to be proactive in pushing a global regime for automatic sharing of information between tax authorities to help identify and fix tax-evaders by 2017-2018. The Brisbane summit is also expected to agree to a revamped tax regime for multinationals,
including global e-commerce giants who avoid paying taxes by hiding behind intricate corporate structures. India would be quick to welcome the new tax regime as it has been relentlessly pushing for transparency in the international taxation system.
Promoting energy security and energy efficiency will also be high on India’s agenda, with India expected to press for a dialogue on global gas markets and strong collective action on climate change. At the G20, India is expected to push for adopting measures
that discourage wasteful energy consumption. In its pursuit of clean and green growth, India is demanding strong action on climate change within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), based on the principle of
common but differentiated responsibility of developed and developed countries. India will also be advocating a change in global energy mix with greater emphasis on renewables and focus on mitigation to climate change.
Reforming global financial architecture
Most important, the perennially elusive quest of fashioning a democratic global financial architecture, which reflects the 21st century realities and the tectonic shift of economic gravity from the west to the east, is expected to see a renewed push at the
Brisbane summit. One can expect India’s prime minister to make a strong pitch for spurring the reform of the global financial institutions, asking the advanced economies to honour their long-overdue promise to implement the 2010 IMF quota and governance reforms.
"The post-Cold War global economic governance order needs to be recast. It will be a major priority for India at the G20 summit in Brisbane,” says Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of External Affairs, India.
The Way Ahead
In the end, the G20 process is about balancing competing interests and setting global rules of economic engagement. Born in the crucible of the 2008 global economic crisis, the G20’s agenda has moved beyond crisis management to enhanced global macroeconomic
coordination to create a new equilibrium and resilience in global economy. In the scrambled alphabet of global geopolitics, the G20 finally seems to be getting the script right.
Across the summits, India, Asia’s third largest economy, has emerged as a fine balancer, delicately blending its national interests with the imperatives of global economic integration. With upbeat projections about India’s economic growth in the years come,
expect India to contribute substantially to global economic growth and be a more proactive player in shaping the G20 process. Against the backdrop of an uneven global economic growth, marked by stark asymmetries across geographies it makes sense for the world
to be on the side of the India story and global economic resurgence.
- India and SAARC
- Sri Lanka
- The European Union
- South Korea
- United States of America.
a) to promote the welfare of the peoples of SOUTH ASIA and to improve their quality of life;
b) to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realise their full potentials;
c) to promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of SOUTH ASIA;
d) to contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another's problems;
e) to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields;
f) to strengthen cooperation with other developing countries;
g) to strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interests; and
h) to cooperate with international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes.
Areas of Cooperation
- Agriculture and Rural
- Economic and Trade
- Funding Mechanism
- Information, Communication and Media
- People to people contacts
- Poverty Alleviation
- Science and Technology
- Security Aspects
- Social Development
For Further Reading:
The Charter (Article III) provides that the Heads of State or Government "shall meet once a year or more often as and when considered necessary by the Member States".However, the Summit has generally been convened at an interval of one and half year or so.
For all Summits:
18th SAARC Summit:
SAARC Apex Bodies
SAARC Recognized Bodies
- SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI)
- South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA)
- South Asia Foundation (SAF)
- South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC)
- Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL)
South Asian Network of Economic Research Institute (SANEI)
- SAARC Federation of University Women (SAARCFUW)
- Association of Management and Development Institutions in South Asia (AMDISA)
- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation of Architects (SAARCH)
- Federation of State Insurance Organizations of SAARC Countries (FSIO)
- SAARC Diploma Engineers Forum (SDEF)
- Radiological Society of SAARC Countries (RSSC)
- SAARC Teachers Federation (STF)
- SAARC Surgical Care Society (SSCS)
- South Asian Regional Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (SARAD)
- South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA)
- SAARC Women’s Association in Sri Lanka (SWA)
- Hindukush Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resources Management (HIMAWANTI)
- Federation of Association of Pediatric Surgeons of SAARC Countries (FAPSS)
- South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE)
- SAARC Federation of Oncologists (SFO)
- South Asia Association of National Scout Organization (SAANSO)
The Twelfth Summit (Islamabad, January 2004) approved the institution of the SAARC Award to honour and encourage outstanding individuals and organizations within the region.
The main objectives of the SAARC Award are:
- to encourage individuals and organizations based in South Asia to undertake programmes and activities complementing the efforts of SAARC
- to encourage individuals and organizations in South Asia contributing to the improvement of the conditions of women and children
- to honour outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals and organizations within the region in the fields of peace,
development, poverty alleviation, environment protection and regional cooperation making the SAARC Award the most prestigous Award in the region; and
- to honour any other outstanding contributions and achievements, not covered above, of individuals and organizations in the region.
The SAARC Award comprises of a gold medal, a letter of citation and cash prize of US $ 25,000.
Since institution of SAARC Award in 2004, it has been awarded only once and the Award was posthumoulsy confered upon Late President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh.
SAARC Youth Awards Scheme
The SAARC Youth Awards Scheme was instituted in 1996 to provide recognition to extraordinary young talents and encourage the overall development of the youth in the region. The Scheme is also aimed at encouraging the South Asian youth to excel in various fields
and to realize their full potential.
The SAARC Youth Awards Scheme is open to nationals of SAARC Member Countries, who are within the age group of 20-35 years at the time of nomination. The Award consists of a citation in English; a Gold Medal; and a cash prize of US$ 1500.00.
The SAARC Youth Awards have so far been presented on the following themes :
1997 : First Award for "Outstanding Social Service in Community Welfare”
1998 : Second Award for "New Inventions and Discoveries”
2001 : Third Award for "Creative Photography : South Asian Diversity”
2002 : Fourth Award for "Outstanding contribution to protect the Environment”
2003 : Fifth Award for "Invention in the Field of Traditional Medicine”
The theme for the year 2004 was decided as "Dedicated Community Services in the Field of TB and/or HIV/AIDS”.
SAARC Regional Award for Young Scientists and Senior Scientists
A recommendation for instituting an Annual Regional Award for Young Scientists was made by the Working Group on Meteorology at its second meeting in New Delhi as early as December 1982. The Award includes a citation, a bronze medal and an amount equivalent
to US$ 500. Up to now, 14 Young Scientists have received the Award. The purpose of the Award is to encourage young scientists of the region working in the field of Meteorology.
SAARC also instituted a separate Award for Senior Scientists in 1997. The purpose of these awards is to encourage excellence in research analysis and outstanding publications in the meteorological field.
Agreements and Conventions
- Agreement for establishment of SAARC Arbitration Council
- Final Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation
- Final Agreement on Customs Matters
- CHARTER OF SDF 31 July 2008
- Agreement on establishing the SAARC food bank
- Agreement on south Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA)
- Agreement on the Establishment of South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO)
- Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation
SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme
- SAARC Convention on Combating and Prevention of Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution
- Convention on Promotion of Welfare of Children
- Convention on Mutual Assistance on Criminal Matters, July 2008
- SAARC Conventionon Narcotics Drugs
- SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism
- Additional Protocol on Terrorism, Jan 2004
The SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme was launched in 1992. The leaders at the Fourth Summit (Islamabad, 29-31 December 1988), while realizing the importance of having people to people contacts, among the peoples of SARC countries, decided that certain categories
of dignitaries should be entitled to a Special Travel document, which would exempt them from visas within the region. As directed by the Summit, the Council of Ministers regularly kept under review the list of entitled categories.
Currently the list included 24 categories of entitled persons, which include Dignitaries, Judges of higher courts, Parliamentarians, Senior Officials, Businessmen, Journalists, Sportsmen etc.
The Visa Stickers are issued by the respective Member States to the entitled categories of that particular country. The validity of the Visa Sticker is generally for one year. The implementation is reviewed regularly by the Immigration Authorities of SAAR Member
The SAARC Secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. It coordinates and monitors implementation of activities, prepares for and services meetings, and serves as a channel of communication between the Association and its Member States as well as other regional
organisations.The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary General, who is appointed by the Council of Ministers from Member States in alphabetical order for a three year term. H.E. Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa from Nepal is the current Secretary General.
The Secretary General is assisted by eight Directors on deputation from the Member States.
The SAARC Secretariat and Member States observe 8 December as the SAARC Charter Day.
Read More about SAARC :
- Development Partnership Administration
Over the past few years, India's development assistance has started to cover large number of countries and consequently, the projects being implemented by the Ministry of External Affairs have increased substantially. Recognizing this, the Development Administration
Partnership (DPA) was created in the Ministry of External Affairs in January 2012 to effectively handle India’s aid projects through the stages of concept, launch, execution and completion.
India's development partnership is based on the needs identified by the partner countries and the effort of the Ministry is geared towards accommodating as many of the requests received from partner countries as is technically and financially possible. DPA
has started to create in-house, specialized technical, legal and financial skills in order to fast-track all stages of project implementation. DPA has three Divisions. Currently, DPA I deals with project appraisal and lines of credit; DPA II deals with capacity
building schemes, disaster relief, Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme and DPA III deals with project implementation.
As the Development Administration Partnership in the Ministry of External Affairs is gearing towards meeting its mandate, it is expected that effective and efficient handling of all our aid projects from the stages of concept, launch, execution and completion
would result in efficient implementation of projects, in close cooperation and facilitation of the partner countries.
Development Partnership Administration has three Divisions (DPA – I, DPA – II and DPA – III) headed by Joint Secretary-level officers. DPA-I handles all Lines of Credit (LoC), grant projects in the East, South and West African regions, grant assistance projects
in Bangladesh and the Sri Lanka Housing project. DPA-II handles over 8500 civilian and 1500 defence training slots allocated under ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme)/SCAAP (Special Commonwealth Assistance for Africa Programme)/TCS of
Colombo Plan during 2012-13 to 161 partner countries. Forty seven empanelled institutions conduct around 280 courses annually. DPA-II also handles grant assistance projects in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and in Latin American countries. Humanitarian
and disaster relief is also handled by this division. DPA – III deals with the implementation of grant assistance projects in Afghanistan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka
This page will be developed to include further details on DPA and its functioning.
For more information on Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme please visitlink.