Eastern hedge – on India and ASEAN relationship

Source– The post is based on the article “Eastern hedge” published in “The Hindu” on 8th September 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Regional and global groupings

Relevance- India and ASEAN relationship

News– Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Indonesian capital of Jakarta for the annual India-ASEAN summit.

What are the challenges faced by the world today?

As per the UNCTAD in its ‘Global Trade Update’ on June 21, the outlook for worldwide trade in the latter half of 2023 is gloomy due to a series of negative factors.

These factors include reduced global economic forecasts, ongoing inflation, financial vulnerabilities, and geopolitical tensions taking center stage.

Food insecurity has been exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, the effects of climate change, and the various policy responses to combat inflationary pressures at the national level. The potential onset of an El Niño further complicates the situation.

What were the important developments during the summit?

The joint statement issued by leaders during the ASEAN-India summit, titled ‘Enhancing Food Security and Nutrition in Response to Crises,’ underscores the collective concern felt within the region regarding the heightened global food insecurity.

This insecurity has been exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, the effects of climate change, and the various policy responses to combat inflationary pressures at the national level.

How India positioned itself at the ASEAN summit?

Modi emphasized the importance of a post-COVID-19 world order governed by rules and advocated for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

It was clearly aimed at certain members of the Asian bloc who are growing increasingly concerned about China’s recent assertiveness in the South China Sea.

The Prime Minister’s implicit message to ASEAN members is that India is a dependable, long-term strategic and economic partner that has no territorial ambitions.

India also aimed to position itself as a voice that amplifies the concerns of the Global South.

What are trade related issues between two countries?

For India, trade relations with eastern economies have grown in volume but have shown significant imbalances. Imports are far exceeding India’s exports.

The widening trade deficit and concerns that Chinese products are exploiting lower tariffs under the FTA to enter the Indian market have contributed to a review of the agreement. It is expected to be completed in 2025.


Print Friendly and PDF