India and Southeast Asia: Towards Security Convergence 9789812305572

There is a growing dialogue between India and Southeast Asia. From a marginal relationship during the Cold War days to t

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Table of contents :
CONTENTS
FOREWORD
PREFACE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
INTRODUCTION
1. Politico-Security Landscape
2. Growing Security Convergence?
3. Seas as Connecting Links: Salience of the Indian Ocean and Prospects for Maritime Co-operation
4. Economic Co-operation and Integration: Building Blocks of Security
5. Democracy, Culture and the Indian Diaspora
6. Myanmar: A Challenging Frontier
7. Conclusion
Appendix I. CHRONOLOGY OF IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS BETWEEN INDIA AND ASEAN
Appendix II. INSTRUMENT OF ACCESSION TO THE TREATY OF AMITY AND CO-OPERATION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
Appendix III. FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT ON COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC COOPERATION BETWEEN THE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS AND THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA
Appendix IV. ASEAN–INDIA JOINT DECLARATION FOR COOPERATION TO COMBAT INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
Appendix V. ASEAN–INDIA PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE, PROGRESS AND SHARED PROSPERITY
Appendix VI. PLAN OF ACTION TO IMPLEMENT THE ASEAN–INDIA PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE, PROGRESS AND SHARED PROSPERITY
INDEX
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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india& southeast asia

The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) was established as an autonomous organization in 1968. It is a regional centre dedicated to the study of socio-political, security and economic trends and developments in Southeast Asia and its wider geostrategic and economic environment. The Institute’s research programmes are the Regional Economic Studies (RES, including ASEAN and APEC), Regional Strategic and Political Studies (RSPS), and Regional Social and Cultural Studies (RSCS). ISEAS Publications, an established academic press, has issued more than 1,000 books and journals. It is the largest scholarly publisher of research about Southeast Asia from within the region. ISEAS Publications works with many other academic and trade publishers and distributors to disseminate important research and analyses from and about Southeast Asia to the rest of the world.

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india& southeast asia TOWARDS SECURITY CONVERGENCE

Sudhir Devare

INSTITUTE OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES Singapore

First published in Singapore in 2006 by ISEAS Publications Institute of Southeast Asian Studies 30 Heng Mui Keng Terrace Pasir Panjang Singapore 119614 E-mail: [email protected] Website: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. © 2006 Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore The responsibility for facts and opinions in this publication rests exclusively with the author and his interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views or the policy of the publishers or their supporters. ISEAS Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data Devare, Sudhir T. India and Southeast Asia : towards security convergence. 1. National security—Southeast Asia. 2. National security—India. 3. India—Foreign relations—Southeast Asia. 4. Southeast Asia—Foreign relations—India. 5. India—Foreign economic relations—Southeast Asia. 6. Southeast Asia—Foreign economic relations—India. 7. Indian (Asian people) diaspora. I. Title DS525.9 I4D48 2006 ISBN 981-230-344-8 (soft cover) ISBN 981-230-345-6 (hard cover) Typeset by Superskill Graphics Pte Ltd Printed in Singapore by Utopia Press Pte Ltd

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For my parents and Hema

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CONTENTS

Foreword by Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN

ix

Preface

xi

Acknowledgements

xiii

Introduction

1

1. Politico-Security Landscape

13

2. Growing Security Convergence?

45

3. Seas as Connecting Links: Salience of the Indian Ocean and Prospects for Maritime Co-operation

88

4. Economic Co-operation and Integration: Building Blocks of Security

124

5. Democracy, Culture and the Indian Diaspora

160

6. Myanmar: A Challenging Frontier

179

7. Conclusion

207

Appendices Appendix I:

Appendix II:

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Chronology of Important Developments between ASEAN and India

214

Instrument of Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation in Southeast Asia

215

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viii

Appendix III:

Appendix IV:

Appendix V:

Appendix VI:

Contents

Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Co-operation between ASEAN and the Republic of India

216

ASEAN–India Joint Declaration for Co-operation to Combat International Terrorism

229

ASEAN–India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity

232

Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN–India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity

236

Index

245

About the Author

253

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FOREWORD

In the closing months of 2004, a few dozens of enthusiastic drivers piloted their ordinary roadworthy vehicles through the northeast of India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and by ferry to the Indonesian island of Batam. They were participating in the first-ever ASEAN–India Car Rally. This fascinating event reaffirmed once again the land connectivity between India and Southeast Asia. It renewed public consciousness of the related geography of ASEAN and India. In ancient times, commercial interests, regal adventures, missionary zeal and intelligent curiosity prompted many journeys over the ocean to link the peoples of Southeast Asia and the South Asian subcontinent. Over time, the customs, religions and traditions of the richer civilization of the Indian states were enmeshed into the ways of life in mainland and archipelagic Southeast Asia. Rather than being a physical barrier, the seas surrounding ASEAN and India were the conduit of popular interactions and community development. Today, the sea routes remain just as important, though taken for granted because of the relatively convenient and inexpensive air travel. For the future, ASEAN and India will be further bundled together through fibre optics, the Internet and other technological advancement. The human resources from both sides are connected by cyber-works and the common desire to achieve peace, progress and prosperity. Their resilience, perpetual optimism and relentless attachment to hope will tie them in inseparable manner and motivate them to strive for a better tomorrow. The changes in the creation of value in the global economy will also mean greater interdependence between ASEAN and India. Therefore, geography, culture, technology and economics bind ASEAN and India. The challenge is to provide the security for realizing these common aspirations in an uncertain world. The political leaderships in

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Foreword

ASEAN and India have to exercise their dexterity and sagacity to deliver the desired results. In the years since India became a full dialogue partner of ASEAN, political leaders from both sides have shown their commitment and statesmanship in steering ASEAN–India Dialogue relations in a steady and strategic way. While politics tends to divide, interests are permanent. Mutual interests are not amorphous. An assertive political leadership has defined these mutual interests beyond transience. In an ever-changing world, where globalization makes one’s understanding of how things work increasingly nebulous, we need some constant. The bonds ASEAN and India share must be secured by the audacity and the talent of men and women of substance. Temporary turbulence and cloudy atmosphere should not mask the huge potential of co-operation and collaboration between ASEAN and India. The clarity of our destination is the sustenance of this long-standing relationship, which has been transformed into a viable partnership by the vision and industry of the leaderships from both sides. Sudhir Devare has conveyed the essence of the ASEAN–India partnership and how it has evolved over the years. His arguments on the centrality of security are succinct and bring across the need for balance and broad-mindedness to achieve peace, progress and prosperity in the region. His book has contributed to our better understanding of ASEAN– India ties and the challenges and options for a forward-looking partnership.

Ong Keng Yong Secretary-General Association of Southeast Asian Nations Jakarta June 2005

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PREFACE

Standing on the banks of the Irrawaddy in Myanmar or Mekong in Laos, or gazing at the stupendous human feat of Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Borobudur in Indonesia, I have often marvelled at the tide of history of India’s association with Southeast Asia over the millennia, blending with each other in a synthesis of thoughts and values, lending assurance and strength to each other. The march of time has seen many vicissitudes. Today, there are new circumstances. Their neglect will be only at the cost of mutual understanding and good neighbourliness. In a world shrunken by communications, the need for knowledge with respect to one another has never been greater. From 1980 till the present, I spent nearly eight years in Myanmar (then Burma), Indonesia and Singapore and six years being closely associated with Southeast Asian affairs in the Indian Foreign Office. I was privileged to watch closely India’s evolving “Look East” policy. The interplay of geopolitical and geoeconomic forces, having a profound effect on both India and Southeast Asia like never before in recent history, was an extraordinary development. It was an exciting time. The transformation of India’s outlook to Southeast Asia and vice versa was just beginning to take shape. Prior to that I had often sensed a remoteness by Indians and Southeast Asians alike vis-à-vis each other. I wondered what was that which made them feel mutually “uncomfortable” or “insecure”. Surely the foundations on which the traditional relationship going back for centuries was based were not that weak. I believed there ought to be greater understanding and confidence given the vast commonalities that both seemed to share. Could they not seek cooperative security between them? This led me to look deeper into the spectrum of areas and issues where they converged and diverged. The story of closer India–Southeast Asia relations, in my view, has just begun. One positive aspect about it is that both India and Southeast

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Asia are on a learning curve. The two can and should learn a great deal from each other, be it the effects of globalization, social progress, democratization, the creation of infrastructure or the management of traditional and non-traditional security threats. How do India and Southeast Asia view each other in terms of their security needs? Do they find any convergence of concerns now that there has been steady confidence-building between the two for nearly two decades? It is such congruence of security interests, of a comprehensive nature covering a wide range of issues, that should help create a pattern of relationship between India and Southeast Asia which I feel needs a careful study. Another equally significant development underway is the rise of China and India. It is after centuries that the two large countries of Asia are recording high economic growth rates at about the same time. Its implications will continue to engage the attention of Southeast Asia, the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Watching it from the global financial and transportation hub of Singapore has been a fascinating experience. As the two large economies of China and India continue to expand, there inevitably will be complementarities as well as competition. However, the global market place is large enough for them to find respective space. In the meanwhile, Southeast Asia should draw benefit by riding the economic growth of its two neighbours, and India should continue to leverage its fast developing relationship with ASEAN to expand interaction with the countries of Northeast Asia, including China. This will also supplement India’s bilateral efforts with the latter. In the fulfilment of the long-cherished goal of “one Asia” or an Asian Economic Community, Southeast Asia can thus play a catalytic role. It is this kaleidoscopic view of the interaction between India and Southeast Asia on the wider Asia-Pacific landscape as they converge or diverge on a range of issues in the twenty-first century that I have tried to present in this book.

Sudhir Devare Singapore June 2005

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Having spent several years in the Asia-Pacific region, the idea to pen down thoughts on the trends in India–Southeast Asia relations had been on my mind. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on the subject when I was a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore. The productive and highly stimulating experience at the Institute was immensely satisfying. The continuous inspiration and support that I received from Mr K. Kesavapany, Director of the Institute, was particularly valuable. My colleagues at the Institute were generous and kind in extending their assistance. They did not allow my lack of academic background to stand in the way. I am grateful to K. S. Nathan and Daljit Singh who found the time to read the manuscript and offer critical and constructive suggestions; to Mark Hong, Rahul Sen, Tin Maung Maung Than, Robert Taylor and Michael Richardson who went through some chapters and made useful comments; and to Deputy Director Dr Chin Kin Wah who gave his insights on the subject during our numerous discussions. My thanks are also due to Rodolfo Severino and Michael Vatikiotis from ISEAS and Chookiat Panaspornprasit from the Institute of Security and International Studies in Bangkok for reading the manuscript and offering their comments. A word of appreciation to Mrs Y. L. Lee and colleagues in the ISEAS Administration, Mrs Triena Ong and Ms Rahilah Yusuf in the Publications Unit, and Ms Ch’ng Kim See and staff members of the Library. Their support was no less important. I also had the opportunity to meet senior officials and academics in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar during my field visit. I am thankful to them for sharing their thoughts and perspective on the relationship between their country and India. My appreciation to my former colleagues in the Ministry of External Affairs and other Ministries in New Delhi as well as in the Indian

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Missions in Southeast Asia, who have been fully co-operative and supportive. During the field visit, the Indian Ambassadors extended all assistance. Discussions with them were highly useful in updating my thoughts and information. Amar Nath Ram and Satish Chandra readily agreed to go through the manuscript drafts. My sincere thanks to them for their constructive suggestions. Also to Dr Nagesh Kumar, Director General of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi for his comments on one chapter. In the course of my study, I had the occasion to discuss the subject with several officials, diplomats, military officers, academics and journalists in Southeast Asia, India and other countries. I owe my thanks to all of them. It is a privilege to have the Foreword by Mr Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN, which I gratefully acknowledge. I have always greatly valued his deep understanding and friendship for India– ASEAN relations. The views and reflections in the book are my own; so are any oversights or omissions. Writing this book has been a thoroughly consuming experience. It also tested my family’s patience. However, they were fully understanding since Southeast Asia has become their passion as well. While Ashwini took continuous interest in the progress of my project, my younger daughter, Aparna, carefully went through the drafts and came up with important suggestions. My mother’s telephonic reminders from India about the status of the book was a constant source of inspiration and assurance. It was my wife, Hema, who has been the motivating spirit and driving force behind this endeavour. Like in every other pursuit, it was her judgement, advice and support that I counted on in writing this book.

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Introduction

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INTRODUCTION

The end of the Cold War and the almost simultaneous advent of globalization with its emphasis on market forces, capital and technology were landmark changes. Old mindsets were giving way to new equations. In the Asia-Pacific region, multilateralism was being tried as a means to deal with interstate issues, and major powers were evaluating if and how they should adopt it. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, India remained isolated and marginalized, even in its neighbourhood. But, fortunately, there were some windows of fresh opportunities opening up. This was the time when both India and countries of Southeast Asia, principally Singapore, discerned on the horizon an opening of promise in the otherwise cloudy skies between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). India was not unaware of the economically reforming China, which had by that time normalized relations with ASEAN states. In diplomacy, the timing of an action is undoubtedly very vital. A timely opportunity lost might not present itself again. It was fortuitous that the leaderships in India and Southeast Asia seized that opportunity. In fact, some measure of confidence-building had been undertaken by the two sides from the mid-1980s. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visits to Myanmar and Indonesia had prepared a helpful ground. His visit to China in 1988 marked a milestone in Sino-Indian relations. During the visit, Deng Xiaoping and Rajiv Gandhi foresaw a fresh and pragmatic perspective for the two countries in time to come. Since the early 1990s, a new and absorbing chapter in India’s engagement with Southeast Asia is being written. It might have appeared to international observers as just another diplomatic interaction among neighbours. Even within India, it was seen only as a part of India’s opening process after the end of the Cold War. But it was much more than that. It was in Southeast Asia where India saw the first signs of a positive and successful resonance to the pragmatic policy framework

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adopted by both sides. It was here that India saw how to combine politico-security and economic initiatives and forge them into a concrete form. It was this experience in its policy with Southeast Asia over a decade that gave India a new confidence even in its dealings with other regions of the world. With India being invited to the East Asia summit in December 2005, a new dimension has emerged in India’s foreign policy which this book seeks to analyse. The path has not been smooth, nor has it been without resistance from within India and Southeast Asia. As a result, there were a number of missed opportunities as well. Be that as it may, clearly the picture of India–ASEAN interaction is beginning to take shape. It is deepening in forms and hues continuously and by all indications seems poised to emerge as a fine piece of work. And yet a lurking suspicion enters one’s mind. Will this “third incarnation”1 of India’s engagement with East and Southeast Asia sustain for long? There are déjà vu situations, which remind us of equally vigorous and extensive interaction that marked the relationship between India and Southeast Asia in contemporary times especially in the post-World War II period when India and Southeast Asian nations became free from colonial rule. The Asian Relations Conference convened in New Delhi in March 1947 (even before India became independent) and attended by high-level representatives from all corners of Asia attested to the strong sense of pan-Asianness of all participants. In 1949, India had also taken the initiative to convene a special conference of eighteen nations to formulate thinking on the situation in Indonesia. In the next decade and a half, India’s relations with Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaya were intensive and covered all aspects, including political, security and economic. It can be said that in the formulation of India’s own foreign policy during that formative period there was considerable input from this interaction with Southeast Asia. If by the early 1960s the active phase in India’s policy to East and Southeast Asia had declined, it was largely because much of this region was dragged into the Cold War. The Chinese attack on India in 1962, the Pakistan–China nexus, and India’s own domestic preoccupations further limited India’s attention and role in its extended neighbourhood of Southeast Asia. Today, after a hiatus of nearly three decades, India and Southeast Asia are again looking towards an invigorated relationship. Broadly speaking, the politico-security environment around them appears

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Introduction

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conducive though threats to peace and stability still abound, especially due to the globalization of terror and its spread in Southeast Asia. In this changed context there is a role and responsibility for India in this region. ASEAN leaders have expressed its need, in explicit and implicit manner. India’s opportunity to develop co-operative security with ASEAN has, therefore, arrived. It would include shared peace and prosperity based on equality and mutual understanding. There are a number of factors in favour of this proposition. Firstly, India’s long record of a dispute-free relationship with Southeast Asia. Secondly, there is a rapid change in the perception about each other. India is increasingly seen in Southeast Asia as a dynamic democracy focusing on knowledge- and technology-based economic development. Its colonial-period image of a poverty- and superstition-ridden society is gradually giving way to one of a modern economic power. Thirdly, for India, ASEAN continues to be an example of successful regional integration. India admires ASEAN’s record as one of the very few regional groupings in the world that has managed to avoid intramural military conflict despite sharp differences over territorial or natural resources claims, issues of illegal migration, ideological and religious divisions. If India seeks close relationship with Southeast Asian countries, it is with a view to recommitting itself to a region that from historical times has been an area of close contact. This also presents an opportunity for India to project its interests beyond the confines of South Asia. If security can be very briefly described as “absence of fear”, there is no element of fear between Southeast Asia and India, even though reports of India’s (and China’s) economic competitiveness as a possible threat to Southeast Asian countries appear from time to time. On the other hand, the rapidly growing Indian economy with its vast and expanding market and scientific and technological strength offers unique opportunity to Southeast Asia. The civil societies of India and much of Southeast Asia have a good deal in common, namely, democracy, pluralism, non-military governance, and empowerment of the people. Equally importantly, they are fighting the forces of fundamentalism and exclusivism in order to retain the age-old tradition of tolerance and synthesis. These aspects should enable India and Southeast Asia to “feel more secure” about each other in their neighbourhood. In today’s world, military conflicts between states are few and far between. In any case, India and Southeast Asia have no history of wars

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between them. Furthermore, India through its accession in October 2003 of the ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Co-operation (TAC) has reaffirmed ASEAN’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and also non-interference in ASEAN’s internal affairs. Even as ASEAN continues to discuss the proposed ASEAN Security Community (ASC), what kind of relationship does it envisage with countries that are non-members of the ASC? In the concentric circles of ASEAN’s security interest where will India feature? Any security community would remain ineffective unless it takes into account the context or the likely impact of outside powers, especially immediate neighbours. India, by virtue of its various attributes vis-à-vis Southeast Asia could, be an important factor contributing to the success of the ASC. This book attempts to highlight the need for refining the positions as well as the style of diplomacy on India’s part in dealing with the changing parameters of India’s security co-operation. There is a discernible and growing convergence between ASEAN and India in perceptions and mutual interests, both in traditional as well as non-traditional areas of security. Convergence, however, should not necessarily imply or be prompted by any common threat. On the other hand, it may be recognized that “never before in history had the ‘continental sized’ economies of South Asia, China and Southeast Asia been on the threshold of simultaneous economic resurgence. If they manage to ride this incoming tide without capsizing, the opportunities will be almost unimaginable.”2 India–Southeast Asia convergence can be a harbinger of partnerships across Asia. The dynamics of convergence, along with divergence, which can inevitably arise between the sovereign entities of India and Southeast Asian countries on certain issues needs to be understood on the politico-security canvas of the Asia-Pacific region.

CO-OPERATIVE SECURITY FRAMEWORK On the strategic landscape of the Asia-Pacific region, what security framework can be considered, which will promote regional co-operation as well as nation-building? What can be the threats to security? Furthermore, what would security itself encompass? In the discussion on the security dimension between India and Southeast Asia, these questions become all the more pertinent. In the post-Cold War era, there is a growing realization that the concept of security needs to be redefined

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since it has been witnessed that the threat of war between two nations is often not the only cause of insecurity and that the security of an individual should be the primary consideration in determining a nation’s security. Globalization with its fast widening reach has enabled the expansion of the concept of security. At the same time, in some cases, globalization has led to the aggravation of inequalities at global, regional or local levels and, as a result, may become a cause for insecurity, especially in economic and human terms. On this background, comprehensive security may encompass not just traditional military strength, but also human, economic, energy or environmental security and a strong civil society. Through such comprehensive security a nation will feel less vulnerable to external or internal threats. The process that can be utilized to achieve comprehensive security, between nations or at regional level, would be “co-operative security” in which national sovereignty can be reinforced through mutual consultation and co-operation. Comprehensive security has been defined variously. The Council for Security and Co-operation in Asia Pacific (CSCAP) provides a definition of comprehensive security and also incorporates an approach to security which is called “cooperative security”. It states that: Comprehensive security is the pursuit of sustainable security in all fields (personal, political, economic, social, cultural, military, environmental) in both the domestic and external spheres, essentially through cooperative means.3

This overarching, inclusive concept of security covers the entire range of human and national interests and possible threats to them. The approach of co-operative security further delineates that security management of all issues should be handled through consensual and cooperative means at national, subregional or regional levels. However, the redefinition of security, which includes “new” security threats that need to be addressed at national and international levels, also has the limitation of being too broad to set priorities. Instead it defines security as protecting every individual and group from every conceivable threat.4 The concept of co-operative security presupposes that the security concerns of all states — big, medium or small — need to be addressed and that the urgency for doing so has never been greater. The concept must reinforce and complement the ongoing progress in economic prosperity. Co-operative security after the Cold War must also be

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premised on a somewhat different basis — a foundation that reflects the de-emphasis in three key areas: ideology; military spending arising from ideological, political or military threats; and superpower rivalry.5 Today, commitment of the countries in Asia to co-operative security would need to be based on the following principles: (1) all participants have to accept that peace is indivisible, and that only through a framework of shared responsibility can co-operative security be promoted; (2) a desire to view security in comprehensive terms; and (3) a firm commitment to the principle of mutual and equal security, which can be ensured by respect for the territorial integrity of all states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and opposition to any attempts to subvert national integrity and sovereignty.6 There are two security concepts that are frequently applied to ASEAN: comprehensive security and co-operative security. The former is conceived somewhat in terms of nation-building (for example, National Resilience as enunciated in Indonesia under President Soeharto) and relates to a wide range of issues. It, therefore, follows that achieving security must be conceived as comprehensive in nature. It captures the ASEAN members’ internal, holistic approach to achieving security. In order to create regional stability, however, the members adopted the second security concept — co-operative security. Stability from this approach comes because member states agree to act within norms of behaviour that make their actions more predictable.7 The emphasis is “on defensiveness, on co-operation rather than confrontation”. Co-operative security recognizes the importance of consensus and consultation (without formal rules or blueprints) and favours multilateral gradualism. Co-operative security rests on the assumption that states possess diverse cultural identities and interests, but they have the potential to co-operate on the basis of self-interest.8 ASEAN’s success as a vibrant regional grouping was itself due to the process and practice of accommodation that it developed. Former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew explained the ASEAN process: In 1967, we set about building a framework for co-operation. Thus, were ASEAN members spared from feuding. Of course, we were not without problems and difficulties. However, we have learned to manage those differences and contain them. Most importantly, we have made a habit of working together, of consulting each other over common problems.9

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According to David Dewitt, another aspect of co-operative security is that it “recognizes the value of existing bilateral and balance of power arrangements in contributing to regional security and for retaining them”.10 This is particularly relevant in Southeast Asia where defence and external security policies are not managed multilaterally, but bilaterally or by a small number of countries. Furthermore, the exercise of balance of powers continues to be witnessed in Southeast Asia. From its inception, ASEAN was seen as an effort in co-operative security that seemed to work well through a process of mutual consultations. The “One Southeast Asia” concept was emerging, which was the logical extension of the political settlement of the Cambodia conflict following the Paris Agreement of 1991. As former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas has stated: one quintessential dividend of peace in Cambodia to strive for would be the drawing of a new era in Southeast Asia — an era in which for the first time Southeast Asia could be truly peaceful and truly free to deal with its problems in terms of its own aspirations rather than in terms of major power rivalry and contention.11

It is interesting to see that after the end of the Cold War, especially since the early 1990s, ASEAN was applying the norms of co-operative security in trying to promote regional peace and stability. Consultation and co-operation on Asia-Pacific issues were beginning to take place at the dialogue platform provided by ASEAN. ASEAN was recognized as an “appropriate base” to discuss regional security issues.12 The Singapore Declaration of the summit in 1992 specifically called for the need for a security forum. It further states that ASEAN should intensify its external dialogues in political and security matters by using the PostMinisterial Conferences.13

SOUTHEAST ASIA–INDIA INTERACTION: AN EXERCISE IN CO-OPERATIVE SECURITY As seen above, the interaction or engagement of ASEAN members with other countries in the region is being mainly driven by the norms of cooperative behaviour. It needs to be analysed if their interaction with India and that of India with ASEAN states are being governed by the principles of co-operative security. Perhaps implicit in this are subtle

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calculations of balance of power as well. Whenever there is no history of interference in each other’s affairs, or wherever a state’s strategic, territorial or ethnic interests do not impinge on the other, or when the two states have mutual respect for each other’s politico-economic systems or security arrangements, there is good possibility that they would work together in a spirit of co-operative security. Globalization has reduced geographical distance. Today, the need for India to have co-operative security with its neighbours in Southeast Asia (and vice versa) cannot be overemphasized. The two regions are beset with sociopolitical challenges and terrorism. They can best tackle these pressing problems through cooperation. Both India and Southeast Asian countries express their belief in the indivisibility of peace, mutual security, the de-emphasis on ideology, co-operation rather than confrontation, comprehensive security that is holistic in nature, and inclusiveness and habits of informal dialogue. Both are supportive of gradual multilateralism while retaining existing bilateral and balance-of-power arrangements for regional security. The concept can thus provide a new basis for relationships between countries or regions, and in the context of India and Southeast Asia, it can act as a framework given the changed geopolitical situation that the two find themselves in the post-Cold War era. As observed by the Foreign Minister of Malaysia: The end of the Cold War provides an opportunity for ASEAN and India to focus on promoting a strategic environment in Asia that is free of those thorny issues that have complicated relations between the two sides. India has long-standing political, economic, and cultural linkages with several countries of Southeast Asia. It is thus timely that we work on developing a convergence of interest within the concept of cooperative security that meets the interests of both sides. Such a concept should be underpinned by a firm commitment to the principle of mutual and equal security.14

It has also been noted that “India and ASEAN countries can build an enduring relationship only on the basis of co-operative security. … True security must incorporate the aspirations as well as the calculations of others. This can only be achieved through evolving a mechanism of cooperative peace and security”.15 Convergence of concerns and interests would enhance co-operative security; divergence would require further dialogue and accommodation. Security linkages would be strengthened through convergence while divergence would bring out the diversity of expression between two

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independent countries. Consequently, the greater the convergence, the more assuring the co-operative security. This book undertakes to broadly identify the areas of convergence and divergence. In the wide-ranging discourse between India and Southeast Asia, they would serve as useful beacons in charting the course of the security relationship. Now, briefly about the book — In these reflections over some of the comprehensive security issues of concern and interest to India and Southeast Asia, the context is contemporary as outlined in the first chapter “Politico-Security Landscape”. It has a backdrop of the rich historical heritage and promise of an equally rich and vibrant future. The selection of subsequent topics in the book represents, to a large extent, the centrality of the issues concerned in India–Southeast Asia relations. The second chapter in the book raises the issue of “Security Convergence”. Is the growing security convergence between India and Southeast Asia, discernible in recent times, for real? If it is so, where does it all exist, what are the factors that contribute to it, and how can India and Southeast Asia build on it in a co-operative way for their mutual security and stability? While studying the issues of convergence, it would be only realistic and appropriate to speak of the areas of divergence as well. After all, India and the Southeast Asian countries also differ a great deal in terms of history, culture, geopolitics or geoeconomics. They do not belong to the same “security community” or “security complex” which Barry Buzan refers to as a region where the states’ “primary security concerns link together sufficiently closely that their national securities cannot realistically be considered apart from one another”.16 The issues of convergence or divergence will, therefore, be examined and understood within the framework of cooperative security. Chapter 3 on “Seas as Connecting Links” focuses on the subject of direct and immediate concern to India and Southeast Asia, both of which have extensive maritime stakes and interests. Here, the scope for consultation and co-operation in the areas such as maritime security, anti-piracy, naval training and exercises, and the sea lanes of communication (SLOCs) protection is clearly distinguishable. The littoral states of the Malacca Strait, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, have the primary responsibility for the safety of this crucial waterway.

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Due to its proximity to the Strait, India too has high stakes and an indirect role for its security. India is also concerned over the safety and security of the sea lanes in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean through which the vital supplies of oil pass from the Persian Gulf to the west and east coasts of India. Thus, the entire theatre of the northern Indian Ocean becomes highly important and relevant for India from its energy security perspective. Comprehensive security cherished by India as well as by Southeast Asian countries calls for greater national resilience, bolstered by their own sustained economic and social development. However, without close economic interdependence or integration with regional countries it cannot be easily attained. Economic integration, therefore, has become a prerequisite for economic security. Countries bound to each other by free trade agreements or large-scale investments can scarcely be adversaries of each other. Chapter 4 on “Economic Co-operation and Integration” seeks to highlight the primacy of economics as the instrument for promoting economic, financial and technological linkages between India and Southeast Asian countries. The subsequent chapter briefly discusses three important aspects which I believe should form part of comprehensive security — democracy, culture, and the Indian diaspora. These human elements can play a useful role in building confidence and trust between India and Southeast Asia. Today, democracy and culture are seen to be moving to the centre stage of international politics. Their contribution towards creating enduring security linkages cannot be underestimated. The inclusion of “Myanmar: A Challenging Frontier” as a chapter is occasioned by the fact that for both India and ASEAN (of which Myanmar is a member), the present situation in Myanmar of a stalemate between the military regime and the pro-democracy opposition led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi can have a direct bearing on their own security. Continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi creates concern everywhere. The imposition of economic sanctions by the West has hampered growth in the country. The issue of Myanmar’s chairmanship in 2006 stirred considerable attention and concern among ASEAN members till Myanmar announced its decision to pass up its turn. For India, it is Myanmar that gives a direct geographical contiguity with ASEAN. There is a common land boundary running for over 1,600 kilometres adjoining four northeastern states of India, a region marked by ethnic insurgency and violence.

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The situation in Myanmar requires close consultation and coordination between ASEAN and India, and a strategic view needs to be taken by both with regard to Myanmar’s future as it will directly impinge on theirs. In fact, there can be an opportunity for them to evolve a regional solution to the Myanmar question. What has not been covered in the book also needs to be mentioned. Elements of human security such as illegal migration, pandemics or environmental security are deep concerns that both India and Southeast Asia share. If they are not discussed here, it is not for any reason of lack of importance or lower priority. It is simply because each of these issues is a study in itself. Time and space were the constraints. The book also does not go into the details of bilateral relations between India and Southeast Asian countries though the bilateral context is not lost sight of. On the other hand, it is basically my “loud thinking” on what I see as a rapidly closing gap between India and the Southeast Asian countries on their mutual perceptions and the evolution of a secure and interdependent relationship bound together by converging concerns and interests. The terms ASEAN and Southeast Asia are interchangeably used in several places. It is only because they are often (though by no means always) seen to be synonymous. As ASEAN progresses further in its vision, they may one day indeed become so. The Conclusion is my own vision of India and Southeast Asia relationship and thoughts towards its fulfilment. Basically, they pertain to the positioning of India and Southeast Asia to meet the future challenges in various fields on the premise of co-operative security.

Notes 1. Satu P. Limaye, “India–East Asia Relations: India’s Latest Asian Connection”, in Pacific Forum CSIS Comparative Connections, Third Quarter 2000, www.csis/ pacforum. 2. Vivian Balakrishnan, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports; and Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry of Singapore, delivering the keynote address at a forum organized by the Institute of South Asian Studies, quoted in the Straits Times, 29 January 2005. 3. CSCAP Memorandum no. 3: The Concepts of Comprehensive Security and Cooperative Security, 1995. 4. Pranee Thiparat, ed. The Quest for Human Security: The Next Phase of ASEAN? (Bangkok: Institute of Security and International Studies, Chulalongkorn University, 2001), pp. 29, 30.

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5. K. S. Nathan, ed., India and ASEAN: The Growing Partnership for the 21st Century (Kuala Lumpur: Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, 2000), pp. 2, 3. 6. Ibid., p. 3. 7. Alan Collins, Security and Southeast Asia: Domestic, Regional and Global Issues (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003), p. 130. 8. Sorpong Peou, “The ASEAN Regional Forum and Post-Cold War IR Theories: A Case for Constructive Realism”, ISEAS Working Paper on International Politics and Security Issues no. 1 (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1999). 9. Address to the Fifteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on 14 June 1982. Quoted in Andrew T. H. Tan and J. D. Kenneth Boutin, eds., Non-Traditional Security Issues in Southeast Asia (Singapore: Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, 2001), p. 7. 10. David Dewitt, “Common, Comprehensive and Cooperative Security”, Pacific Review 7, no. 1 (1994): 7. 11. Amitav Acharya, The Quest for Identity: International Relations of Southeast Asia (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 134. 12. Joint Communique, Twenty-Fourth ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference, Kuala Lumpur, 19–20 July 1991. 13. ASEAN: An Overview (Jakarta: ASEAN Secretariat, 1995), p. 69. 14. Syed Hamid Albar, “ASEAN–India Partnership: Opportunities and Challenges”, in India–ASEAN Partnership in an Era of Globalization: Reflections by Eminent Persons, edited by Research and Information System for the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries (RIS) (New Delhi: RIS, 2002), p. 108. 15. Baladas Ghoshal, “India and ASEAN: Political and Strategic Partnership into the 21st Century”, in India and ASEAN, edited by K. S. Nathan, p. 27. 16. Collins, Security and Southeast Asia, p. 131.

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1 POLITICO-SECURITY LANDSCAPE

The title of this book may raise a question in the reader’s mind — why security in India and Southeast Asia? For all the challenges they face, they appear strong and resilient. How should security between India and Southeast Asia be defined or understood? Security should encompass both traditional as well as non-traditional security. It should thus be comprehensive security. The latter would refer to the overall state of relationship in which there is mutual trust and confidence with no apprehension or fear. Fortunately, in their long association, the two had no history of territorial ambitions or wars. In recent times, they might have had little by way of security dialogues or formal security cooperation. In fact, in the Cold War days the two seldom looked at a number of questions of war and peace through a common prism. And yet, close interaction on security issues between India and Southeast Asia at the present time appears imperative even as the politico-security order in the Asia-Pacific region has undergone a major shift and new sets of norms and parameters are evolving. Extraordinary geostrategic changes have occurred in the past decade or so. Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union and emergence of the United States as the sole superpower and the rise of China as a significant military and economic power, the geopolitical realities of the region have greatly altered. India has gradually reoriented itself to this transformation. For ASEAN, too, consolidation after the addition of four new members and the Asian financial crisis has been a challenging situation.

SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIA: A GEOPOLITICAL CONTINUUM Seemingly, India’s and ASEAN’s priorities and areas of security concern may appear different and their policy approaches to deal with them may also vary. Though geographically proximate, the two have dissimilarities

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with regard to ethnic and demographic composition, experiences of nation-building or political governance and constitutional structures. Moreover, “geographic propinquity alone does not determine geopolitical impact. Two regions pursuing a policy of self-reliance and isolation from the rest of the world and from each other are unlikely to have political impact on one another.”1 Yet, there is enough historical evidence to show that European colonialism cast its sway without drawing any distinction between South or Southeast Asia. As a matter of fact, the entire area of the Indian Ocean extending from the eastern coastline of Africa to India and stretching beyond to the peninsular and archipelagic Southeast Asia is a strategic continuum. Looking back into history, the first European expedition to India led by Vasco da Gama travelled from the southern part of Africa in the Indian Ocean to Calicut on the west coast of India in 1498. In a short span of time, the impact of the maritime strength of the Portuguese was felt in the Malacca Strait and beyond, in the spice islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Subsequently, the colonial powers continued to regard the security of South and Southeast Asia as integral to each other. During World War II, Japan tried to conquer India from its occupied territories of Burma, Malaya and Singapore in Southeast Asia. This also brought out a very important strategic aspect, namely, India was equally vulnerable from its eastern and southeastern frontiers. For India’s policy-makers, India’s defence from the east was, therefore, equally important as from the west or north. It is generally recognized that during World War II, Mountbatten’s command in Kandy in Ceylon came to be known as the Southeast Asia Command following which the usage of the term Southeast Asia came in popular parlance (though the term Southeast Asia included India, Pakistan and Ceylon at the Colombo Conference of Southeast Asian countries in 1954). Denoting the subregions as South or Southeast Asia is thus a recent development which clearly had led to a compartmentalization of security and defence thinking. For the past three to four decades, South Asia and Southeast Asia were not regarded as part of the same security matrix. It is only after the end of the Cold War, and more specifically, after September 11 when the Indian Ocean started to come into prominence that the need to recognize the strategic integrity of the Asia-Pacific region covering all subregions is being felt. This is an important lesson from history, which should serve as a useful guide in the future outlook to regional security co-operation in the Asia-Pacific region.

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INDIA’S PLACE IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC One of the main impediments that had come in the way of a confluence of strategic thinking with regard to Southeast Asia and India was the established view during the Cold War days (when military alliances such as SEATO, CENTO or NATO were created) that the western boundary of Asia terminated in Thailand or (if stretched a bit further) in Burma (now Myanmar). In this definition of Asia, India was excluded. The Gulf countries came under the broad category, the Middle East, and the present Central Asian countries being part of the former Soviet Union did not seem to have any categorization. In fact, India shares a 1,600kilometre-long eastern land boundary with Myanmar, maritime boundaries with Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia, and is separated from Indonesia by a very short distance. By virtue of this geography as well as civilizational contacts in culture, religion, language and trade, growing business and investment in contemporary times, and the presence of a large Indian diaspora, India has not only a deep “geographical footprint” in the Asia-Pacific, but clearly stands out as an integral part of the region. It was indeed ironical that India, which had taken the first-ever initiative in the post-World War II period to create an all-Asia platform at the Asian Relations Conference in March 1947 where Jawaharlal Nehru had shown the vision to invite leaders of the countries from Syria to Indonesia, found itself not playing a major role as an Asian nation in the discussions during the eighties and early nineties on Asia’s security and development. Interestingly, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote as far back as 1944, in his book The Discovery of India: The Pacific is likely to take the place of the Atlantic in the future as the nerve centre of the world. Though not directly a Pacific state, India will inevitably exercise an important influence there. India will also develop as the centre of economic and political activity in the India Ocean area, in Southeast Asia, right up to the Middle East. Her position gives an economic and strategic importance in a part of the world which is going to develop in the future.2

Even today, India, the fourth largest economy in the world in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms and the second largest country (in terms of population) in Asia, is not a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) and the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM). This may

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perhaps be attributed to a series of developments in Southeast Asia and the Far East during the Cold War. The latter saw a new alignment of political affiliations and ideological groupings in South and Southeast Asia, especially as Pakistan joined the U.S.-led military alliances, SEATO and CENTO. During and after World War II, the United States had become a principal power in the Pacific and its influence in several countries bordering the Pacific was predominant. That included Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia and even Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, though the latter three were not members of a formal military alliance with the United States. India’s non-aligned status and its perceived proximity to the former Soviet Union was, on the other hand, seen as a cause for distancing it from the affairs of the Asia-Pacific. Added to that was the view that India had become heavily South Asia-centric, was also largely preoccupied with the Gulf countries (especially after the 1973 oil crisis) and as a result, it had little interest or resources to engage itself with the rest of Asia, especially Southeast and East Asia. Moreover, in the eyes of the countries of these regions, India, with its emphasis on “command socialist economy”, had isolated itself from the mainstream of the East Asian economic ethos of liberalization and export-led rapid growth. The chasm between India and Southeast Asia was thus wide and getting wider as a result of which many opportunities for better understanding and co-operation were lost. It was primarily the compelling logic for closer political interaction in the wake of the end of the Cold War and the attractiveness of the market place following economic reforms in India in the early 1990s that made some rethinking possible on the two sides.

PAN-ASIANISM: CALL FOR UNITY AND SOLIDARITY Soon after World War II there was an appeal in Asia for regionalism as an instrument for national liberation and independence. In September 1945, Ho Chi Minh had mentioned his interest in the creation of a “pan-Asian Community” comprising Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaya, Greater Burma, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. China, Japan and Korea, however, were not included in Ho’s vision of an Asiatic community.3 The idea of a Southeast Asian grouping received support from nationalist leaders in Burma and Vietnam. It was part of the pan-Asian thinking of General Aung San of Burma who explained in 1946 that:

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while India should be one entity and China another, Southeast Asia as a whole should form an entity — then, finally, we should come together in a bigger union with the participation of other parts of Asia as well.4

A more explicit call for a regional organization was made by the Indian Prime Minister Nehru at the Eighteen Nations Conference on Indonesia convened in January 1949 in New Delhi when he urged the participants that it would be “natural that the free countries of Asia should begin to think of a more permanent arrangement than this conference for effective mutual consultation and concerted effort in the pursuit of common aims.”5 It is in this context that it would be useful to revisit the spirit of the Bandung Conference of 1955. Nehru and nationalist leaders like Soekarno, Hatta and U Nu saw the totality of the cause of the newly independent countries of Asia, the need for their unity and solidarity, and the importance of the principles of coexistence. Five principles (Panchsheel) adopted by India and China in 1954 were incorporated in the ten-point declaration of Bandung. Nehru firmly believed that the fight for the independence of India will not be complete as long as neighbouring Southeast Asian countries were still under foreign yoke. This sentiment was the driving spirit behind India’s support in the anti-colonial struggle in Indonesia (1945–49), in Malaya and in the Indochina countries. Even though non-alignment may seem almost a forgotten word today, in the enlightenment of post-colonial Asia, Bandung had a major significance. It was fundamentally about the mindset. A fall-out of colonialism was such that the colonial powers had become the reference points for the countries of Southeast Asia and India (as indeed for all other colonized countries). The historical dimension of the latter’s centuries-old direct interaction, a saga of civilizational and trade contacts, mutual exchanges and respect was soon lost. Instead, the level of economic development became the benchmark. The colonized countries were looked upon as poor underdeveloped societies. There was nothing but disdain for them; their rich cultural legacy was ignored. Bandung introduced to the newly independent countries a way to look at themselves and their neighbours directly and not through a colonial prism. It gave respect and dignity to their independent thinking and actions. For fifty years, the spirit of Bandung has continued to inspire the countries of Asia and Africa. To reinvigorate it, leaders from more than a hundred Afro-Asian countries met in Bandung in April 2005 and agreed on a New Asian-African Strategic Partnership. It provides a momentum in achieving peace,

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prosperity and progress and should act as a framework to build a bridge between Asia and Africa. As Muthiah Alagappa has stated: Asia is now in the post post-colonial era. Though Asian states were liberated from colonial rule some four to five decades ago, they continued to be dominated by external powers. Now that this dominating overlay has been removed, Asian states are interacting more autonomously with each other … for the first time in a long while, Asian states have greater freedom and control over their interests, goals and destiny.6

In India, the renewed interest for forging close bonds with the countries of East or Southeast Asia or India’s support to the concept of an Asian Economic Community comprising Southeast, East and South Asia derives from the same urge for a new vision for the whole of Asia, as was envisioned in 1947 and 1955.

INDIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA: SECURITY ASSESSMENT In present times, while each country in Southeast Asia, as indeed India, makes its own assessment of security, depending on its perception of national vulnerability or its defence mechanisms to safeguard its security, there is a growing ground in which mutual concerns are seen to be converging. Take the safety of maritime traffic through the sea lanes of communications in the Bay of Bengal or the larger area of the Indian Ocean; or the passage of oil supplies through the Malacca Strait; or the issue of arms or drug trafficking across the common land and maritime borders; or the impact of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism across South and Southeast Asia. Similarly are questions like the political uncertainty in Myanmar, the latter’s increased dependence on China especially for arms, and reports of China’s assistance to Myanmar in building port/naval facilities on the coastline of Bay of Bengal. Perhaps, such apprehensions may not be fully shared by the countries in Southeast Asia. For Southeast Asia, China’s political and economic presence in the region, especially its huge market, is far too important to be missed as an opportunity. That China is a major competitor because of the size of the economy and its capacity to attract investment is no doubt not overlooked. India is still regarded by several ASEAN members as less promising, somewhat aloof, and not adequately focused on the region. However, the perception about India has begun to change with India’s sustained high economic growth. World leaders and intellectuals are giving increasing

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thought to this development. Singapore’s Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has observed: With India’s rise, it will be increasingly less tenable to regard South Asia and East Asia as distinct strategic theatres interacting only at the margins. U.S.–China–Japan relations will still be important, but a new grand strategic triangle of U.S.–China–India relations will be superimposed upon it … Re-conceptualising East Asia holistically is of strategic importance … It would be short-sighted and self-defeating for ASEAN to choose a direction that cuts itself off from a dynamic India.7

India has also begun to show greater awareness of its strategic interests in the region. Former Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh has articulated that: Given its size, geographical location, and EEZ, India’s security environment and therefore, potential concerns range from the Persian Gulf in the west … to China in the Northeast to Southeast Asia … An uninterrupted access to the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, vital for the economies of the ASEAN region and India, needs to be ensured. India has never encroached on the strategic space of ASEAN while still contributing to stability.8

If the dynamism of India’s economy is maintained, the country will be expectedly taken more seriously as a player in the geopolitics and geoeconomics of Southeast Asia. Consequently, the rationale for closer engagement between India and Southeast Asia would get stronger in the context of the evolving situation in the Asia-Pacific region. Predictably, continental (peninsular) and maritime (archipelagic) Southeast Asia would have different perceptions about security connections with India, and also expectations from it. The same could hold good for India with respect to the two distinct regions of Southeast Asia. With the continental region, it is the issues of land boundary security (for example, between India and Myanmar which share a long and mountainous land boundary), movement of insurgents and their finding haven on either side; road or rail connectivity and movement of bona fide tourists and business people. Illegal migration, smuggling and drug trafficking also assume importance. Security of this region, which includes the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) countries, besides Thailand, is of primary interest to India as it borders on China on one side and India’s northeast and Bangladesh on the other. Given the ethnic and sociocultural proximity of India’s northeast with the

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continental Southeast Asia, a partnership in economic development between the two would be mutually beneficial. Both are rich in natural resources, but are sparsely or moderately populated (except Vietnam). Both are marked by ethnic and cultural diversity. For the CLMV countries, which had been engulfed in great power rivalry, warfare or political uncertainty for most of their post-independence life, an uninterrupted peace and security can be available through a power equilibrium in which India’s continuing interest in the region would be important. For the archipelagic region of Southeast Asia, which has Singapore and Malaysia, two economically advanced countries, Indonesia, the largest ASEAN member, Brunei, an oil-rich nation, and the Philippines, a long-established democracy with its widespread use of the English language like India, the interests and security issues could be different from that of the continental region of Southeast Asia. Here, maritime concerns such as the safety of the sea lanes of communications and the energy security in the Bay of Bengal, the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait; piracy, transnational crime and arms trafficking, and environmental issues connected with maritime activity would be of common interest. Consequently, the roles of the navies and coast guard organizations will become more prominent. India is increasingly looked upon by the countries of archipelagic Southeast Asia as a nation with a potentially major navy that can play a useful role in the region. No doubt, there is considerable overlap in terms of the issues of security interest to the archipelagic and continental Southeast Asia. The concern for terrorism is common to both, though in varying degree. Moreover, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand are maritime nations with long coastlines and are, therefore, greatly concerned with maritime security matters as well.

IMPACT OF GLOBALIZATION Interestingly, one of the first experiments in globalization in India’s long history started with the present-day Southeast Asia nearly two thousand years ago. From that time onwards, for approximately fourteen centuries, Indian merchants, traders, scholars, and artisans migrated to the islands and lands of this region. In his treatise, The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, French scholar George Coedes has written: Culturally speaking, Farther India today is characterized by more or less deep traces of the Indianization that occurred long ago. The expansion

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of Indian civilization to these countries and islands of the Orient is one of the outstanding events in the history of the world.9

The driving impulse for travel and cultural and religious dissemination was provided by trade and commerce. In the words of Professor H.B. Sarkar, when we analyse the data, it will be found that economic motive provided the Indians with an urge for adventure into the lands of Southeast Asia. Even the names given to the countries concerned is a recognition of this urge. The names are fairly early and occur in Kautilya’s Arthasastra, the Pali Niddesa, the Jatakas etc. The names have been culled from the world of plants and minerals as, Suvarnabhumi (the Land of Gold), Karpurdvipa (the Island of Camphor), Yavadvipa (the Island of Barley) etc.10

In contemporary times, too, especially after the end of the Cold War, globalization can be identified as one of the factors contributing towards the change of attitude of the countries of East and Southeast Asia towards India and vice versa. Basically, it brought about better communication between the two. Rapid advances in electronic and computer technology, improvement in telecommunications, liberalization of trading regimes and growth in investment flows in East and Southeast Asia were creating circumstances to look for large and still unsaturated markets, and India seemed to meet the requirements. India’s vast consumer market as well as its potential to absorb investments for infrastructure were attractive incentives for the countries of ASEAN to give a closer look to India. Besides, India’s strength in human skills and financial and technical services were beginning to find acceptance in the developed countries, especially in the United States, and through that route, getting recognition in Southeast Asia. The size of India’s economy (in GDP terms, next to Japan, China and Korea), its consistently high growth rate and rapidly developing strength in IT gave a new perception of India as a rising economic power in the Asia-Pacific. The end of the Cold War and the onset of globalization of information had given an impetus to the process of democratization in several countries of East and Southeast Asia, which led to an increased interest in India, one of the longest functioning democracies of Asia and the largest in the world. However, this was not always the case. As remarked by Thai commentator Kavi Chongkittavorn: Strange as it may seem, India and its democracy has never become a factor in strengthening bilateral relations with the countries of Southeast Asia.11

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For the successful “tiger economies” of East Asia, in the past the Indian democratic experiment involving nearly one billion people did not seem to impress much. This was possibly because the open society and free media of India highlighted more of India’s poverty, urban problems and inter-religious or caste differences than the country’s progress in industry, technology and agriculture. If globalization is about open and equal access to information and opportunity for everyone, then India had already made some advance in that direction resulting in a large and burgeoning middle class and an alert and articulate civil society. That the ASEAN countries have begun to recognize this can itself be described as a measure of their increased attention to their western neighbour, as also the fact that the trend towards democratization grew rapidly in a number of ASEAN states in the 1990s.

REVIVAL OF INDIA’S RELATIONS WITH ASEAN If India, too, began to feel the need for revival of its relationship with ASEAN in the mid-1980s it was only to be expected. The economic success story of ASEAN was too evident to be missed. The ASEAN countries, particularly Singapore, Malaysia and, to some extent, Thailand and Indonesia, were being seen along with Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong as the new “tigers”. By the early 1990s ASEAN had emerged as one of the best performing regional organizations. On the political side, India had seen that its support of the Heng Samrin regime in Kampuchea had only alienated the ASEAN members without any gain in foreign policy terms. Although India’s policy had been largely driven by its principled opposition to the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, it seemed to have few takers. The Indian approach to the whole situation ended in a diplomatic setback. By the mid-1980s, the Soviet Union had started prevailing over Vietnam to withdraw from Kampuchea. The policy-makers in India assessed that whatever might have been the moral grounds or the policy calculus in supporting the Kampuchean regime in the past, there was no use going into recrimination over this issue. On the other hand, it would be wiser to move on quickly to remove the unnecessary misunderstanding between ASEAN and India caused by the Kampuchean situation. The misunderstanding had needlessly become an irritant in the way of good relations between India and ASEAN. India was against ostracizing Vietnam and was convinced that confrontational policies in Southeast Asia would only aggravate tension. India’s supportive and constructive position in

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the political settlement in Cambodia prior to the Paris Conference of 1991 (in which Indonesia played a major role) also helped to lay the ground for ASEAN–India engagement soon after the resolution of the Cambodian conflict. India then reassessed its foreign policy priorities and took a fresh look at Southeast Asia. This transformation which was cautiously but duly reciprocated by ASEAN countries marks an important phase in India–Southeast Asia relations. Delivering the 1994 Singapore Lecture, Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao said: The potential for India’s partnership with this nucleus organization (ASEAN) in the Asia-Pacific is immeasurable. What we see in the AsiaPacific region cannot be called a clash of civilizations but a mesh of, interwoven with religious, ethnic, racial, linguistic and professional strands. I am consciously including India in this reality and the vision of the Asia-Pacific that I propound.12

After Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s historic visit to India in January 1994, the first by a head of state from an ASEAN country in several years, Singapore had witnessed “an India fever”. Against the backdrop of China’s emergence, the timing of India– ASEAN rapprochement was helpful as it seemed to provide a useful diplomatic option to ASEAN and a major opening for India in Southeast and East Asia. Following the stand-off between Vietnam and ASEAN in the late 1970s and 1980s, China had managed to put its relations with ASEAN members on an even keel. (Prior to that several ASEAN countries did not even have normal diplomatic relations with China.) Evidently, ASEAN’s immediate concern then was Vietnam’s intervention and occupation of Cambodia.

ABSENCE OF MILITARY THREAT OR BENIGN NEGLECT? India had evidently felt that despite its non-interfering approach and not posing any military threat in the affairs of Southeast Asia, the latter, out of its seemingly pro-West affiliation, had not paid serious attention to developing closer relations with India. The feeling among ASEAN members, on the other hand, was that while India might not have been a security threat, it was not sensitive enough to Southeast Asia’s overall security concerns and had generally neglected ASEAN. All in all, there was no meeting of minds and, as a result, relations in security areas were at best marginal, if not non-existent (except to an extent between Vietnam

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and India). Building a security relationship would, therefore, be an uphill task, especially since there was little by way of military or defence-related ties. Besides, prejudices lingering from the Cold War days would have to be overcome first. A decade later, with the dialogue partnership and summit partnership between ASEAN and India in place, the past “mutual recrimination” between India and ASEAN (though it was never in the open) has now been put behind. With the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ decision at the Vientiane meeting in July 2005 to invite India to the first East Asia summit in Kuala Lumpur in December 2005, there is an affirmation by ASEAN of India’s importance and relevance. However, the question about India’s strategic importance might still persist if India for some reason were unable to maintain its economic growth or not seen as militarily powerful enough to deal with the challenges in the region, especially in South Asia. In addition, and equally seriously, Southeast Asian countries might also assess if South Asia, of which India is a major constituent, could sustain itself on the path of development when several countries around India find themselves engulfed in political turmoil, ethnic conflict and Islamic extremism. India’s own share of problems such as ethnic violence, religious tension or economic disparity is not small either. Southeast Asia is cognizant that South Asia with its population of over 1.4 billion people and myriad problems (and opportunities as well) cannot remain peripheral to Southeast Asia’s security and prosperity. In terms of concerns for human security, the two regions are closely linked. To give an example, the pandemics of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the bird flu in Southeast Asia and HIV/AIDS in South Asia can wreak unimagineable havoc in both regions. Being the largest nation in South Asia, India’s stability and peace would have a vital bearing on the security of the wider neighbourhood of South and Southeast Asia and beyond. In November 2004, the Economist had noted that: Several of the once deferential neighbours (of India) are in turmoil: and India fears that their instability is in danger of upsetting its own delicate political balance. India’s biggest preoccupation remains Pakistan … In recent months, however, the Indians have been paying greater attention to the threat from other neighbours — either through deliberate action by their governments, or their failure to keep control of their territory.13

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In the eyes of Southeast Asian countries, India’s own capability to manage a stable and peaceful South Asia would, therefore, be an important factor in India’s relations with Southeast Asia. Frederic Grare has noted that: More than any power projection capabilities, ASEAN’s main expectation vis-à-vis India in terms of security would be its capacity to ensure the stability of the sub-continent itself. Peace with its neighbour is part of the equation for India if it ever wants to become an actual regional political giant. India’s aspirations to a political role in Southeast Asia would certainly be more credible, if it was able to settle its dispute with Pakistan.14

K.S. Nathan has stated that: New Delhi’s increased desire for closer political and economic cooperation with Southeast Asia cannot be divorced from the continuing stalemate in regional co-operation underscored by SAARC.15

India, with its size, population and economic development and with its land and maritime boundaries with all countries of South Asia, cannot afford to forsake its role and responsibilities in the region. For that matter, India’s future itself cannot be dissociated from the developments in its immediate neighbourhood. In any discourse between India and Southeast Asia on security issues, therefore, India’s own security and the role it can play in preserving peace and stability in South Asia are important. On the other hand, in the Indian policy circles, the strategic significance of ASEAN will be determined on the assessment of the latter’s capacity to remain politically cohesive and policy-wise independent to withstand pressures of major powers and economically strong and creative enough to succeed as a unit of regional co-operation. Even now, Southeast Asian countries function fairly individually on defence and security issues. There is a wide divergence of views among them with regard to security. Whereas Indonesia has always focused on security as an area of primary interest in ASEAN, others in ASEAN have not always shared this view. On the recent Indonesian proposal of an ASEAN Security Community (ASC) there were sharp differences. For example, the proposal of a common Peacekeeping Force was not uniformly acceptable within ASEAN. Defence arrangements in ASEAN are also

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either bilateral or trilateral; and not at ASEAN regional level. Differences among ASEAN members are also seen to aggravate rapidly leading to difficult situations like the one witnessed in March/April 2005 when Indonesian and Malaysian naval ships were pressed into service in North Sulawesi Sea even as Indonesia strongly objected to the Malaysian oil company beginning oil exploration in that region. On the economic side, too, full homogeneity has not developed thus far. The development divide between the “old” and “new” members of ASEAN is quite wide. As a result, commentators have remarked that: New Delhi does not perceive that a threat could arise from Southeast Asia as such, but believes that developments in Southeast Asia would affect its interests, directly and indirectly.16

RECENT POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS Major leadership changes took place in several Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as in India during 2003–04. The first direct democratic election in Indonesia resulting in a smooth and orderly transfer of power to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was seen as the verdict of the Indonesian people for a tolerant and liberal Islam and for a decisive and firm leadership to deal with the myriad challenges facing the complex political and economic situation in Indonesia. In Malaysia, the coming to power of a moderate but determined leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and a sharp electoral reverse of the fundamentalist Islamic party, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), signified a vote in favour of the mainstream Islam in Malaysia. In Singapore, the change of guard from Goh Chok Tong to Lee Hsien Loong as the new Prime Minister represented a generational transition in favour of youth. In the Philippines, in reelecting President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the people reaffirmed trust in continuity and moderation. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s thumping victory in the Thai elections in February 2005 was a further endorsement by the Thai people for economic policy dynamism and also for his firm leadership, especially in the wake of separatists’ threats and violence in southern Thailand. It is significant that all these changes in Southeast Asia occurred democratically and constitutionally, thus signalling that the archipelagic Southeast Asia (which incidentally is the founder of ASEAN) is well set on the path of democratization. India’s general election which also

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took place in 2004 once again demonstrated the vibrancy of the system and independence of the electorate in which a coalition led by the Congress Party came to power. The vote was characteristically for liberalization or globalization with a “human face” and equity. Interestingly, electoral political developments in Southeast Asia and India show a remarkable similarity; purposefulness and clarity on the part of the masses, vote in support of moderation, tolerance and social peace in favour of fair and equitable socioeconomic development. These political changes should, therefore, also strengthen civil societies in Southeast Asia, as well as in India. In the evolving relationship between ASEAN and India, political leadership on both sides has demonstrated a consistent political will. They were visionary in recognizing the common long-term permanent interests, strategic, economic, technological or human. It is possibly because of that that any differences within ASEAN members regarding perception about India or problems of temporary nature have not been allowed to affect the overall consensus on India’s partnership with ASEAN. Equally, on the Indian side, occasional bilateral difference with any individual Southeast Asian country has not come in the way of India’s firm policy approach to develop a close linkage with ASEAN. Through high-level bilateral visits, the frequency of which has significantly increased in the past decade, and Ministerial interaction at ASEAN’s annual meetings, which India has attended since it became a Full Dialogue Partner and a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1996, there is a better understanding and appreciation of each other among the political leadership on both sides. The ASEAN–India summit since 2002 has further provided the opportunity for the dialogue at the highest level every year. The depth and significance of this interaction has clearly lent continuity to the ASEAN–India relationship regardless of the political leadership changes either in Southeast Asian countries or in India. A significant foreign policy development in India was India’s initiative in 2003 for a series of confidence-building measures and willingness to pursue a composite bilateral dialogue with Pakistan with a view to resolving all outstanding issues including Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan welcomed it and responded positively to the proposed peace process. Given the complexity of the issues involved, it will be sanguine to expect rapid progress, much less any quick solution. However, the process has set in motion its own dynamic and that itself could bring in some

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dividends such as the reduction of tension and hostility between the two South Asian neighbours. Southeast Asian countries are expected to watch the “peace process” between India and Pakistan closely. They would regard greater contacts and better understanding between India and Pakistan as central to peace and development of not only South Asia but its extended neighbourhood in Southeast Asia. The peace process can have a beneficial effect, although indirectly, on India–Southeast Asia relations as well.

LOOK EAST POLICY: SEARCH FOR A NEW INDIAN IDENTITY India’s “Look East” policy has come to constitute an important plank of its foreign policy since the early nineties. Significantly, this approach has received unanimous support from all seven governments that came to power in New Delhi since that time, regardless of their political ideologies. According to India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh: the “Look East” policy is more than a slogan, or a foreign policy orientation. It has a strong economic rationale and commercial content. We wish to look east because of the centuries of interactions between us.17

The Prime Minister has answered the question that is often raised, namely, whether the much-hyped Look East policy is more of a rhetoric or is it a genuine process for integration with the East. Such question arises out of an oft-repeated cynicism within India (and also in Southeast Asia) that while the Indians speak of the need and importance to look east, they actually “think and act west”. This is prompted by the fact that for a long time India had been greatly impacted by the West. Its political, educational and financial institutions are either adopted from the West or influenced from that source. In addition, over the past several centuries, there has also been a synthesis of Indo-Islamic culture and traditions which had a substantial input from West Asia and the Middle East. In orienting its mindset to the Look East approach, India has to rediscover its latent eastern identity based on its own oriental values. The “Pakistan-centric preoccupation” in India had until now left very little scope for other parts of the world, including the East and Southeast Asian neighbours of India to receive due attention. Within India itself, there is geographical variation in the interest or knowledge level towards Southeast Asia. Traditionally, greater attention to and

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curiosity about Southeast Asia is shown in south and eastern India. In the sparsely populated and geographically and culturally isolated northeastern states of India where the people share a great deal of ethnic and sociocultural similarity with Southeast Asia, the sense of identity with the latter is felt much more. On the whole, the level of consciousness about Southeast Asia is still low. Before the tsunami disaster hit India’s islands of Andaman and Nicobar on 26 December 2004, very few people in India and far fewer in the world realized that the southern tip of the Nicobar islands is less than 100 nautical miles from the Aceh coast of Indonesia and was almost next to the epicentre of the earthquake. Unless the Indian people in diverse fields, such as business and economic, technology and industry, political and strategic, develop greater awareness of and interest in Southeast and East Asia, the Look East policy will not be credible and effective. Through bilateral and multilateral interaction with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region including China, India can seek to revive and rejuvenate its age-old eastern connection. However, this cannot be done with the state initiative alone. The Government would be just one factor, though an important one. It is the people-topeople exchanges and contacts that would generate greater awareness about each other. Business should play a major role in this regard. The Indian diaspora in Southeast Asia can also act as a valuable catalyst in business and cultural exchanges.

ECONOMY: PRIMACY AND PRIORITY In the overall development of the Asia-Pacific region, economy has the rightful place of pride. It was the economic performance of ASEAN countries that drew the attention of the world to this regional organization. Although ASEAN was founded primarily for political cohesion, its record in infrastructure development, investment and free trade agreements (FTAs) has received prominence. As a result, in the 1990s, major powers from all over the world were anxious to form dialogue partnerships with ASEAN. The economies of this region, buffeted as they were by the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98, took some years to come out of its adverse effects. Indonesia, plagued by domestic political crisis and instability then, is now returning to normalcy. In the meantime, ASEAN has continued to retain its attraction value, judging by the flurry of FTAs that other countries in the region, namely, China, Japan, India and Korea, have signed with it in recent

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years. ASEAN’s march towards economic integration with the major economies of East Asia has proceeded apace with ASEAN Plus Three (APT) process gathering momentum. At the Vientiane ASEAN summit in November 2004, Southeast Asian leaders decided to hold the first East Asian summit in 2005.18 Thus, in Southeast Asia, although bilateralism has not been replaced by regionalism, the shift towards regional institutionalism in economic policy formulation and coordination is clearly taking place. Through the formation of FTAs with other regions or individual countries or through subregional co-operation associations, Southeast Asian countries have been able to buttress their economic security. The growing interdependence between the economies of ASEAN and major regional neighbours should lend assurance to each other with regard to security in a broader sense. With India, economic interaction has been at two levels; bilateral as well as through ASEAN. From a low volume of US$2.3 billion in 1992, two-way trade with Southeast Asian countries had reached about US$7.4 billion in 2001–02. “It was already US$13 billion (in 2004) and India expects to achieve a trade figure of about US$30 billion by 2007 with ASEAN, in the light of the increasing services transactions, investments, project executions and labour flows as well as a diversifying trade basket.”19 Investments to and from India have also been on a sharp increase. Essentially, India’s economic reforms and high sustained growth have caught the imagination of Southeast Asian countries. Admittedly, there is no factor other than India’s rapid economic and technological rise that has given a major boost to India–Southeast Asia relations. Economics now symbolizes the very vitality in bilateral links. India is relatively a new player in the game of regional or subregional cooperation, but is trying to make up for lost time by entering into such arrangements. India’s signing of a Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA) with Singapore, entering into a similar framework agreement with ASEAN and an FTA with Thailand and also the commitments made under the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC) are indicative of the new trend in India’s economic diplomacy in the region. One apparent feature of the India–Southeast Asia interaction is that the economics would occupy the centre stage of their agenda. Even as Southeast Asian countries are actively pursuing regional or bilateral co-operation, they seem to be constantly conscious of competitiveness from China or India, the two large and rapidly growing

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economies of Asia. Southeast Asia is well aware that their economies flourished when China and India had not yet opened up. The rise of these two large markets could impact on trade, investment and technology availability to Southeast Asia. At the Vientiane meeting in November 2004, President Yudhoyono of Indonesia said the economic challenge for ASEAN can be described in two words, China and India.20 On the other hand, opportunity can arise by being geographically positioned between the two large economies. Southeast Asia can develop itself into a hub for companies from China and India (something that is already happening with Singapore), a transport and communications network, and a tourism and hospitality destination. Southeast Asia, with its more than 500 million population and rising purchasing power, rich material and human resources, and well-developed (though still unevenly distributed) infrastructure is a major economic entity in itself. Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew while acknowledging that Singapore would “ride” on the Chinese and Indian economies, added that their growth would also provide a lift for the whole of Southeast Asia.21

GEOSTRATEGIC ARCHITECTURE: INTERPLAY OF MAJOR POWERS The end of the Cold War brought about cataclysmic changes around the world, including in the Asia-Pacific. The disintegration of the Soviet Union completely altered the power balance in the region, and a new strategic architecture emerged in the Asia-Pacific. The United States became the preponderant power in the region even as Russia’s influence waned. The United States has since been engaged in adjusting its relations with major powers in the region. It has also considered redeployment of its military forces from Asia. While Japan remained the dominant economy in the area, its decadelong recession and rapid political leadership changes reduced its profile. It is only recently that Japan’s evolving foreign policy posture is being noticed. According to former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, “the best story has been Japan’s willingness to be involved in areas that are not traditionally the areas of interest of Japan.”22 Southeast Asia no doubt recognizes and values the strength of Japan. Today, Japan is seen set to reaffirm its partnership with ASEAN. “Japan, once an unsuccessful imperial power in Southeast Asia, has found its rightful place in peace as a regional leader. It has come home.”23

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The rise of China has had a major impact on the neighbouring Southeast Asia. China’s economic reforms under Deng Xiaoping since 1978 had set the country on a rising trajectory ever since. The Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 had raised some questions. However, China’s economic and military growth continued to progress at a very rapid pace, and today the emergence of what China describes as “its peaceful rise” is the principal strategic challenge that the powers, big or small, are trying to come to grip with. Along with these changes, the growing spread and acceptance of globalization as a socioeconomic impulse and the threat of non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism have had a profound effect, particularly on the politically fluid and economically dynamic AsiaPacific. That ASEAN countries and India are impacted by these developments is a logical corollary. What kind of balance of power, if any, is the ASEAN countries expecting to evolve in the region? It seems that ASEAN countries would possibly prefer that major powers manage their relations with each other in such a way that they do not bring ASEAN in a conflict situation nor are the ASEAN states required to take sides. While bilateral relations between India and Southeast Asian countries had developed generally amicably in the past and appear well-poised to grow in the future through bilateral initiatives and efforts, it would be useful to see how the relations of major powers with ASEAN might influence the relationship of Southeast Asian countries with India. This will inevitably be conditioned by the outlook of these powers to India as well. A question that may arise in the context of co-operation between India and Southeast Asian countries, especially in politico-security field, is how critical and imperative is the U.S. factor. Traditionally, the United States has had a major presence in Southeast Asia, as part of its Asia-Pacific strategy. Being the sole superpower in the post-Cold War period, it has acted as a security anchor to a number of countries including Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore (even though not as a formal ally). Its military ties through the alliances with Japan, South Korea and Australia create a close-knit security web across the Asia-Pacific. Since September 11, no major U.S. initiatives or securityrelated activities except for counter-terrorism appear to have been undertaken with respect to Southeast Asia. An exception is the massive U.S. assistance to the tsunami-affected region, especially Indonesia.

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During the second Bush administration, the United States is seen to be reassuring Southeast Asia that the region remains on Washington’s radar screen. This was evident during Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick’s tour of Southeast Asia in May 2005 when he focused on deepening the U.S. economic ties with Southeast Asian countries while reaffirming strategic ties.24 With regard to India and Southeast Asia security dimension, three issues are relevant in the context of the U.S. factor. Firstly, as mentioned above, the United States continues to be the predominant power in the region and the main source of security assurance to several Southeast Asian states. Even with Vietnam, a former adversary of the United States, the relationship has shown improvement including in the defence field. Secondly, while the United States and most Southeast Asian countries, except Myanmar, have satisfactory relations in the security field, there are sharp differences over certain aspects of the U.S. policy. The U.S. “unilateralism” had come under severe criticism. The U.S. proposal of a Regional Maritime Security Initiative in the Malacca Strait was rejected by Indonesia and Malaysia on grounds that it did not show adequate sensitivity to the concerns of the littoral states. The U.S. military action against terrorism and the war in Iraq had also met with strong reaction especially in the Muslim majority states like Malaysia and Indonesia. In Myanmar, U.S. sanctions against the military regime on grounds of human rights violations has caused sharp resentment. Third is the growing India–U.S. strategic engagement. Interestingly, it was soon after India’s nuclear tests in May 1998 that the United States started engaging India intensively, including in defence and security areas. In January 2004, the United States decided to relax its controls on technology exports to India. President Bush unveiled an agreement that will increase technological co-operation between the two countries drastically, permitting U.S. exports of sensitive civil nuclear and space equipment. The Bush administration’s decision to clear away the diplomatic and trade debris from the nuclear test episode confirms Washington’s de facto recognition of India’s entry into the nuclear weapons club.25 In June 2005, India and the United States signed a tenyear New Framework for U.S.–India Defence Relationship, which has been described “as a quantum leap in bilateral ties — from deep estrangement to strong engagement”.26 During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the United States on 18 July 2005, the two countries signed a landmark Nuclear Co-operation agreement.

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India has also been able to buy a Falcon radar system from Israel, a close ally of the United States. In September 2003, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon visited India with a large delegation of CEOs of defence industries. This was the first-ever visit by an Israeli Prime Minister to India. Close relations between Israel and India had sparked concern in some quarters of a shifting regional balance in the Middle East. However, Indian officials pointed out that better relations with Israel were primarily being driven by economic considerations and were not being forged at the expense of Arab countries with whom relations have also blossomed. Joint India–U.S. army exercises in Mizoram in India’s northeast, naval exercises off the Kerala coast in the Indian Ocean and air exercises in central India suggest a new dimension to India–U.S. defence co-operation. The U.S. request to the Indian navy and coast guard to escort high-value U.S. non-combatant and merchant ships through the Malacca Strait during the “Enduring Freedom” operation in Afghanistan for six months in 2002 was the first of such co-operation between India and the United States. After spending half a year as a partner in the global war on terror, the Indian naval crews received special recognition.27 This operation by India was conducted for a specific purpose and was carried out after consultation with other littoral countries. In the wake of the tsunami disaster, the United States put together a Core Group of four countries to co-ordinate relief operations. The countries were Japan, the United States, India and Australia. Within a few days of the disaster, with the United Nations assuming primary role for relief operations, the Core Group was discontinued. One can clearly discern the expectations of some Southeast Asian countries for a continued and prominent U.S. strategic role in the region for a foreseeable period. Explicitly or implicitly, it is perceived as a counterbalance to an economically and militarily rising China, even though China is not seen as a direct threat. Furthermore, with the spectre of terrorism still looming over this region, the need for U.S. assistance would continue to be felt, at least in the near term. How would Southeast Asian countries view the U.S.–India strategic engagement in the region? Some of them, like Singapore, have welcomed it. Indian naval ships providing escort to the U.S. highvalue assets during 2002 were given logistics support by Singapore. During his visit to New Delhi in October 2004, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Tony Tan, was reported to have spoken about the engagement of the U.S. and India in the region.28 Such engagement

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might be viewed with apprehension by a few countries even though India’s participation has been complementary to the concerns and priorities of Southeast Asian countries. In the future, a closer understanding, co-ordination and co-operation in the region between the United States, Southeast Asia and India would be logical considering that they all are simultaneously engaged with each other on security issues, albeit on a varying scale at present. It would be in the nature of co-operative security in which the interests and sensitivities of all three would be involved. In that, India’s bilateral programmes of defence co-operation with Southeast Asian countries, especially Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines would go a long way in reinforcing the common objective of regional stability and peace. Japan, the economic giant of Asia, continues to be ASEAN’s close partner, a relationship nurtured for more than a quarter of a century since former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda called for “heart-to-heart” ties with ASEAN under the Fukuda Doctrine. The ASEAN–Japan Commemorative summit in December 2003 recharged that long-standing partnership. The proposed FTA between Japan and ASEAN as well as the East Asia summit scheduled for 2005 should strengthen it further. Row and tension erupted between Japan and China over the visit to the Yasukuni shrine by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and China’s strong protests to the publication of revised Japanese textbooks that glorify its past. These resulted in anti-Japanese demonstrations in China in April 2005, which brought their relations to the lowest ebb in decades. These incidents show the brittleness of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific. That these could happen despite the expanding economic relationship between them — China has emerged as Japan’s largest importer, replacing the United States — is indicative of the deep fissures that still exist in their mutual understanding. Unlike the relations between China and Southeast Asian countries, which despite the conflicting claims in the South China Sea have remained largely friendly, Japan–China and Japan–Korea relations often get tense. Such situations, if continued, would have serious ramifications not only for these three countries, but also for the neighbouring ASEAN states and beyond. It is significant to see here that while regionalism could gradually take roots in Southeast Asia, it has so far not succeeded in Northeast Asia. A former Singapore diplomat, K. Kesavapany, has commented:

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ASEAN’s credibility as a regional organization that promotes stability has stood the test of time. The North-east Asian states can perhaps take a lesson from the ASEAN experience and think of setting up a body aimed at not only addressing present difficulties but also promoting amity and co-operation in the region.29

Interestingly, Japan today appears to look for a partnership between ASEAN, Japan and India. A Japanese commentator, Yoichi Funabashi, has mentioned that: Japan should expand its ASEAN policy to link up with its policy towards India. India will certainly emerge as a dynamic and significant world player with its vibrant democracy, high tech prowess, English proficiency, huge stakes in the Indian Ocean and Straits of Malacca and its Eurasian geostrategic position. Traditionally, Japan’s policy towards ASEAN has been separated from its policy towards India, but it is perhaps high time for Japan to synthesize two policies in a strategic and coherent way.30

As a member of the U.S.-led coalition, Japan has committed combat troops in Iraq. On that account and also due to the energy dependence on the Persian Gulf, Japan will be deeply concerned over the situation in the Indian Ocean. Increasingly, it is being felt in Japan that it will be imperative to bring India in the discussion on co-operative security and economic engagement.31 It is significant that in September 2004, Japan and India, along with Germany and Brazil, jointly made a bid for permanent membership of the U.N. Security Council. Japan is also an active member of a track two initiative of JACIK (Japan, ASEAN, China, India and Korea) countries that are proposing an Asian Economic Community which can be an expanded version of ASEAN Plus Three and India. Russia’s role also needs to be taken into account because of its close relations with India as well as with several Southeast Asian countries and China. It is a major Pacific power and has the capacity to supply high-quality armaments including naval ships, hardware and aircraft at competitive prices. During the visit of former Indonesian President Megawati to Russia in 2003, an agreement for the sale of Sukhoi aircraft to Indonesia was announced. Russia had earlier made offers to Malaysia for military planes. Russia is a leading producer of oil and figures prominently as one of the possible sources of oil and gas to the energystarved countries, namely, Japan, China and Korea. In addition, Russia’s

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role in security-related organizations, such as the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) involving the countries of Central and East Asia, is vital. It is significant that ASEAN has decided to upgrade the relations between ASEAN and Russia and invited the latter for a summit in Malaysia in 2005. There is also an annual “trialogue“ between the Foreign Ministers of Russia, China and India on strategic issues.32 The most recent meeting was held in Vladivostok in May 2005. This interaction should complement the dialogues that these countries separately hold with ASEAN.

CHINA FACTOR IN INDIA–SOUTHEAST ASIA RELATIONS China’s relations with ASEAN have undergone a marked transformation and a major expansion in recent years. India–ASEAN relations, too, have also been on the rise for over a decade. Interestingly, as a result of their deepening engagement with ASEAN, they will be participating together at the East Asia summit in December 2005. In analysing the China factor in the India–Southeast Asia relations, the important elements to look out for are China’s security outlook to Southeast Asian countries, ASEAN’s perspective on China–India interaction in Southeast Asia and the expanding engagement between China and India. In the 1990s, China began to develop and articulate a “new concept of security”. “The concept expanded the definition of security to include political, defence, diplomatic and above all economic considerations … . In relations with Southeast Asia, it stresses support for regional-security dialogue and co-operation at different levels, through various channels and in different forms.”33 Essentially, China’s new approach placed emphasis on equality, dialogue and a new security order through peaceful settlement of disputes rather than confrontation. China was seen to be taking every step to assure Southeast Asian countries that it was not a threat to them in any way. By entering into an FTA with ASEAN at the Vientiane summit in November 2004, China had opened the prospects of creating the biggest (involving nearly 2 billion people) tariff-free area in the world by 2010. This was reported in the International Herald Tribune: Wen Jiabao signed a strategic declaration that commits China to good behaviour in the Southeast Asia region, including the contentious area of South China Sea. Deeper co-operation among the nations of East Asia that would culminate in an East Asian Community was described by

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the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao as a “strategic choice made in the interests of China’s own development and in the common interests of the region”.34

By signing the ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in 2003 and previously agreeing to abide to the Protocol to Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ), China has taken important confidence-building steps with ASEAN. S. D. Muni has stated that: China’s past ten years of sustained and careful engagement with Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia has won it a comfortable position in these neighbouring countries. Politically, China has succeeded in assuring these countries that it is a friend and supporter that can be relied upon, even in the face of opposition and isolation from powerful western countries.35

The respective roles of the Chinese and Indian communities in Southeast Asia also become relevant in the context of the China factor in India–Southeast Asia relations. The Chinese community has come to assume a dominant position especially in trade and business in almost all Southeast Asian countries. Their involvement in investments in China is also considerable. In Southeast Asia, the ethnic Indians are also sizeable, though their influence may not be comparable to the ethnic Chinese. Yet, the Indian communities, especially in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia have carved for themselves an important position in their adopted countries while continuing to make contribution in trade, joint ventures and technology transfer to India, the country of their origin. The evolving India–China relationship is another important aspect that can have a bearing on their relations with Southeast Asian countries. The India and China engagement has been consistent and continuing rapidly. This was witnessed during former Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee’s visit to China in 2003 and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s visit to India in April 2005. The visit saw improvement of relationship between Asia’s two largest neighbours on every front: political, economic, technological and cultural. An India–China Strategic and Co-operative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity was agreed upon. Importantly, this agreement recognizes the mutual desire to “resolve outstanding differences in a proactive manner without letting them come in the way of the continued development of bilateral relations”.36 This pragmatism marks the new approach that India and China seem

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to have adopted in their interaction. They also agreed on the guiding principles to resolve the long-standing border dispute. On the economic side, the two decided to make efforts to increase the trade volume to US$20 billion by 2008 or earlier. The two also saw complementarity in mutual strengths — China’s hardware and infrastructure and India’s software. Prime Minister Wen was quoted to have stated that “the results of the discussions will draw the attention of the entire world” while India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said “India and China can together reshape the world order”. Even though the strategic interests of China and India in South or Southeast Asia are unlikely to undergo major changes in the near future and China’s relationship with Pakistan appears too important to be affected in the near term by improvement in relations with India, it seems that China and India are well poised to come to a broad understanding for non-confrontation and peaceful co-operation in Southeast Asia. A certain amount of Sino-Indian competition especially in the economic or technological field is inevitable. However, the two should be able to find their own niches. The India–China contacts in Southeast Asia are not new. In the past the Indochina region was the meeting ground of the two and this extended to the entire Southeast Asia. If history is any guide, Southeast Asia should use its genius of managing China and India in a co-operative mode as it did in the past. Coincidently, it was in the capital of Laos that India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had their first high-level interaction on November 2004, whereby India and China agreed not to allow the vexed boundary problem to slow down the momentum in their bilateral relations. Singh told Wen that: “Mutual understanding should be complete and mutual accommodation should be realistic.”37 The emergence of China and India represents a major strategic shift in the region. “China and India as rapidly growing powers have thrown off their complexes, patched up their own relations, embarked on a buying spree and made talk of the Asian century persuasive. Asia hums while America worries and Europe sleeps.”38 The growing rapprochement between the erstwhile adversaries has been welcomed in Southeast Asia. “A prosperous China and India, at peace with each other, can only be a boon to the rest of Asia.”39 Southeast Asia is a pivotal bridge between China and India. The two have been leveraging their good equations with Southeast Asia within and outside the region. As a result, Southeast

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Asia should actually stand higher and gain more as China and India improve their bilateral understanding.

THE INDIAN OCEAN AND A NEW SECURITY PARADIGM September 11 and the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan brought about a new security paradigm in South and Southeast Asia. With the Iraq war, the geopolitical scene has undergone a radical transformation with consequences in strategic, economic and energy spheres. The salience of the Indian Ocean and its adjoining seas and straits has, accordingly, grown in importance as they became a principal theatre for the U.S. operations against terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan and emerged as the critical points in the transportation of oil as in the case of the Hormuz and Malacca Strait. The U.S. strategic presence in this region has greatly increased, and also the politico-security importance of several countries in the region, at least in the near term. The growing relevance of the Indian Ocean, therefore, becomes a vital element in the security calculus of the region. In a tragic way, the tsunami disaster in December 2004 brought home the stark reality of the inextricable linkage in terms of human security between Southeast and South Asia. The catastrophe made no distinction between nationality, religion or ethnicity. Ironically, it acted as a grim reminder to the peoples in the whole region to think of themselves in a sense of totality rather than division. India’s decision to immediately send ships and supplies to Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia and Thailand demonstrated both its capacity and political will to rush help to its fellow South and Southeast Asian countries. This is clearly an integral part of India–Southeast Asia partnership. The geographical and strategic linkage between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean for the maintenance of peace and stability of the entire Asia-Pacific region also assumes a new dimension in today’s context. ASEAN, which in recent years had focused on the Pacific Ocean, may now need to devote equal attention to the issues in the Indian Ocean as well. This may not be easily feasible given the vast looming presence of Northeast Asia in ASEAN. Japan, China and Korea are principal economic players in this region, and China’s influence is on a constant rise. However, the Southeast Asian countries’ stakes in the Indian Ocean region are no less and would have a long-term bearing on the security and prosperity of these countries.

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TERRORISM Terrorism has become a major concern in the politico-security environment in the region. It is a global issue today and, since September 11, ranks highly on the agenda of a number of principal powers, especially the United States. Southeast Asia is also being regarded as a hub of international terrorism, following the unearthing of a Jemaah Islamiyah-led terrorist plot in December 2001 in Singapore; the bombing incidents in Bali (October 2002 and September 2005), Jakarta (August 2003 and September 2004) and in the Philippines over the past several years; and also the violence in southern Thailand since January 2004. The link between Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a major Southeast Asian terrorist organization, and Al-Qaeda has also come to the fore. Since September 11, ASEAN countries have taken several initiatives and steps to improve intraregional consultation and co-ordination on information and intelligence gathering, and action against terrorists. Terrorism has become a major concern for Southeast Asian countries, though with varying intensity. Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar are relatively less affected by it whereas it is a priority issue for Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. ASEAN has also entered into inter-regional co-operation with the United States, which has focused its attention on the issue of terrorism in the region and its linkage to Al-Qaeda. Combating terrorism is a priority concern for ASEAN and India, an area of convergence between the two. For both, the menace of terrorism is not new. India has faced the scourge of terrorism including crossborder terrorism for more than two decades. ASEAN countries, too, have witnessed for a long time senseless violence against innocent civilians in terrorist acts as well as in transnational crime and arms and drug trafficking. The issue of terrorism is complex with various ramifications. While it is essential to go into the root causes of terrorism with a view to addressing them, trying to enter into a debate, which has been going on in different fora without any result, over the definition of terrorism or to delay action against terrorism by linking it to its root causes only obfuscates the issue. Moreover, terrorism has to be defeated now; dealing with root causes will take some time. Furthermore, any attempt in seeking to associate terrorism with a particular religion is a dangerous and undesirable trend. Clearly, terrorism recognizes no religion, faith or human consideration. It is an expression of senseless

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brutalization of individual or group ideology; and therefore, needs to be dealt with firmly, at local, regional and global level. Any distortion in the public opinion that will attempt to paint the developments relating to terrorism in Southeast Asia with a broad brush of Islam will be grossly erroneous and unjust. Southeast Asia and India are the two regions that have an age-old tradition of religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence. Ironically, the menace of terrorism provides the Southeast Asian countries and India with a new opportunity to work together, without any prejudice or reservation. Pluralism and multireligious and multi-ethnic character of the societies in Southeast Asia that are shared by India will be a casualty if any reign of terror in the name of religion is allowed to perpetrate.

Notes 1. Daljit Singh, “The Geopolitical Interconnection between South and Southeast Asia”, in India and ASEAN: The Politics of India’s Look East Policy, edited by Frederic Grare and Amitabh Mattoo (New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2001), p. 37. 2. Jawaharlal Nehru, “The Discovery of India”, cited in Kanti Bajpai, “Enhancing Ties between India and Southeast Asia: An Indian View”, in India, Southeast Asia and the United States: New Opportunities and Prospects for Co-operation, edited by Satu P. Limaye and Ahmed Mukarram (Singapore Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1998), p. 112. 3. Amitav Acharya, The Quest for Identity: International Relations of Southeast Asia (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 45. 4. Ibid., p. 47. 5. Ibid., p. 46. 6. Muthiah Alagappa, ed., Asian Security Practice: Material and Ideational Influences (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), p. ix. 7. Goh Chok Tong, speech at the official launch of the Institute of South Asian Studies, Singapore, 27 January 2005. 8. Jaswant Singh, Public Lecture at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Singapore, 2 June 2000. 9. George Coedes, “Introduction”, in The Indianized States of Southeast Asia (Honolulu: East West Center Press, 1968), p. xvi. 10. H. B. Sarkar, Cultural Relations between India and Southeast Asian Countries (New Delhi: ICCR and Motilal Banarasidas, 1985), p. 247. 11. Kavi Chongkittavorn, “Brotherly Engagement: India, China and ASEAN”, in India–ASEAN Partnership in an Era of Globalization: Reflections by Eminent

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12. 13. 14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

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Persons, edited by Research and Information System for the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries (RIS) (New Delhi: RIS, 2002), p. 157. P. V. Narasimha Rao, India and the Asia-Pacific: Forging a New Relationship (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1994). Economist, 6–12 November 2004, p. 37. Frederic Grare, “In Search of a Role: India and the ASEAN Regional Forum”, in India and ASEAN, edited by Grare and Mattoo, p. 136. K. S. Nathan, “The Strategic Environment of India: ASEAN Relations at the Turn of the 21st Century”, in India and ASEAN: The Growing Partnership for the 21st Century, edited by K. S. Nathan (Kuala Lumpur: Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, 2000), p. 48. Frederic Grare, “In Search of a Role”, in India and ASEAN, edited by Grare and Mattoo, p. 136. Manmohan Singh, speech delivered at the Third India–ASEAN Business Summit, New Delhi, 21 October 2004. Chairman’s Statement at the Tenth ASEAN Summit, Vientiane, 29 November 2004. Available at the ASEAN Secretariat website, www.aseansec.org. Ong Keng Yong, “Advancing the ASEAN–India Partnership in the New Millennium”, speech delivered at the ASEAN–India Eminent Persons’ Lecture Series, organized by RIS, New Delhi, 18 October 2004. Text available at www.aseansec.org. President Yudhoyono’s remarks quoted in International Herald Tribune, “Faster ASEAN integration urged”, 29 November 2004. Lee Kuan Yew, quoted in Straits Times, “No need for US to fear rise of China and India: MM Lee”, 28 October 2004. Richard Armitage, quoted in Yoichi Funabashi, “Japan–U.S ties: Beyond Talking to Communicating, Straits Times. “Japan comes home”, Straits Times editorial, 15 December 2003. Evelyn Goh, “Renewed American Diplomacy: Keeping Southeast Asia on the Radar Screen”, PacNet 22, 26 May 2005, [email protected]. “India hails new ‘partnership’ with the US”, Financial Times, 14 January 2004; “India and the US start stepping out”, Financial Times editorial, 15 January 2004. Straits Times, “From deep estrangement to strong engagement”, 2 July 2005. Asia-Pacific Defence Forum, Winter 2002–2003, pp. 28–31. Tony Tan, quoted in Straits Times, “Work together to guard straits”, 27 October 2004. K. Kesavapany, “ASEAN proves to be regional blessing”, Straits Times, 18 April 2005. Yoichi Funabashi, Chief Diplomatic Correspondent of Asahi Shimbun, Public Lecture at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 19 September 2003.

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31. Author’s discussions with Japanese scholars during a meeting on the subject of Asian Economic Community, organized by RIS (New Delhi) in Tokyo on 19 November 2004 32. “India, Russia, China for Joint Approach”, The Pioneer (New Delhi), 22 October 2004. 33. Carlyle A. Thayer, “China’s New Security Concept and Southeast Asia”, in Asia-Pacific Security: Policy Challenges, edited by David W. Lovell (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2003), pp. 89, 91. 34. “Beijing signs pact for ASEAN trade”, International Herald Tribune, 30 November 2004. 35. S. D. Muni, China’s Strategic Engagement with the “New ASEAN”, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Monograph No. 2 (Singapore: IDSS, 2002), p. 121. 36. Joint Statement of the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China during Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s visit to India, 11 April 2005, www.meaindia.nic.in. 37. The Hindu, “Mutual accommodation should be realistic”, 30 November 2004. 38. Roger Cohen, “The roar of a new Asia is on the global horizon”, International Herald Tribune, 13 April 2005. 39. “Peaceful rise of India, China”, Straits Times editorial, 13 April 2005.

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2 GROWING SECURITY CONVERGENCE?

India, in South Asia, and the ten countries of Southeast Asia are large demographic entities and close neighbours with religious and sociocultural diversity, political pluralism, and also problems of socioeconomic underdevelopment and disparity. However, they do not live in an isolated world. They are part of the same geopolitical and geoeconomic environment pushed closer by the forces of globalization. The extent to which the countries of Southeast Asia and India will actually interact with each other on the range of issues will be largely determined by their own national needs and priorities. What is pertinent, however, is that even a broad convergence with respect to internal and external security goals can have a significant bearing on the stability of the AsiaPacific region to which they both belong. Of course, there will not only be points of convergence but also divergence with respect to the perceptions and priorities or ways to address the relevant issues. Any difference of views is, however, natural and should help to develop better understanding and a mature relationship. The evolving global and regional politico-security situation and the response of India and Southeast Asia form an appropriate backdrop for the analysis of such convergence or divergence. Southeast Asia itself is still far from being fully cohesive when it comes to security issues, both intramural or external. Priority to the issues of security varies within ASEAN itself. While Indonesia, the largest member of the grouping, has from the time of ASEAN’s inception attached primary importance to the consideration of security, others have different viewpoints.1 ASEAN, unlike the European Union (EU), can be described as a “process regionalism” as against “product regionalism”, which does not have a common security policy.2 This can be understandable since there are vast differences in political systems and economic development among the member countries in ASEAN. Until ten years ago, countries which

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were on the opposite sides of the ideological divide have come together to form the Association. This was to some extent true of EU as well. The rejection of the EU’s constitution by the voters in France and the Netherlands in May/June 2005, United Kingdom’s suspension of the legislation to hold a referendum, and the collapse of the EU’s budget have shown how national aspirations and sensitivities of the people in individual countries can place limitations on the goals of regionalism. Security convergence implies the existence of commonality or a perception of commonality on issues of security. Commonality should not necessarily mean exactly identical concerns or situations, but broad similarity. The larger the convergence, the greater the facilitation for co-operation. The identification of convergence on issues or concerns would itself need a clear understanding of the basic philosophies of the two sides — the values the nations of Southeast Asia and India stand for, their aspirations, and the means and priorities adopted to achieve them. Any commonalities with regard to the challenges they face would also constitute a convergence. Since the domestic and external concerns faced by both would develop independently of each other, any convergence of issues can also be coincidental or driven by similar factors or circumstances. The hypothesis of convergence would have to be tested on empirical grounds and should stand scrutiny on political, economic or sociocultural considerations. Similarly, the points of divergence would also require analysis of causes and effects. In terms of the domestic political ideologies, today most Southeast Asian countries and India are largely centrist where political management is generally conducted through broad-based policy consensus while taking into account the public opinion. In foreign policy, “engagement” seems to have become the watchword for Southeast Asian countries as well as for India which are embarked on engagement across a wide spectrum of countries. It can be said that today both India and Southeast Asian nations enjoy good relations with all major powers of the world. The essence of their approach is to avoid military confrontation, promote dialogue and maximize areas of agreement so that socioeconomic progress can be achieved peacefully. This foreign policy orientation is an extension of their domestic approach to peaceful co-existence and stability, considered sine qua non for socioeconomic progress. In the economic field, globalization has had a strong impact on Southeast Asia and India, with the former having been particularly hit hard during the Asian financial crisis. Southeast Asian countries had no

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doubt greatly benefited through globalization, especially with regard to the inflow of foreign investment in infrastructure. India, too, over the recent years, has been engaged in the liberalization and reform of the economy and joined the global mainstream. Both India and most Southeast Asian countries have, by and large, embraced globalization. Within Southeast Asia the response to it is varied, given the diversity of the region. Essentially, both India and Southeast Asia recognize that “globalization with a human face” is the new mantra they need to follow. Today, both primarily follow market economy and open liberalized approach. While firmly subscribing to the principles and causes of the World Trade Organization (WTO), India and Southeast Asian member states of WTO are simultaneously engaged in regional and bilateral trading arrangements. Thus, in the basic economic philosophy there is a broad congruence. The most significant aspect of such congruence is that economic empowerment through information powered by technology is the new philosophy of India and Southeast Asia, as with many countries elsewhere. Indeed, this is a result of a new global phenomenon of the latter part of the twentieth century. Previously economic growth and well-being belonged to the elite, a small fraction of the society. Today, as a result of empowerment, millions have come out of poverty. If one sees the record of Southeast Asia (and particularly of East Asia) and India, this fact is particularly striking. For them, economic growth is the central point of agenda. It was not necessarily the case in the past. In modern times, education and information have also helped to create interdependence among nations. Between India and its Southeast Asian neighbours such interdependence has noticeably grown.

CONVERGENCE OF INTERESTS: TRADITIONAL OR NON-TRADITIONAL SECURITY Under the concept of comprehensive security, a broad distinction can be drawn between traditional and non-traditional security. Traditional security would include such aspects as balance of power, role and influence of major powers, and defence. Energy security could also be included under this rubric. They continue to be highly important and relevant since the nation state system continues to be the basis of international life. However, it has been noted that: a competing notion of “human security” has emerged which suggests that security centers around the conditions of daily life-food, shelter,

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employment, health, public safety and human rights-rather than stemming from a country’s foreign relations and military strength. … Non-traditional security threats can thus encompass such aspects as terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, ethnic conflict, rapid population growth and poverty.3

Before we proceed to discuss the areas of convergence or the level of convergence with India, it needs to be examined whether there is convergence within ASEAN itself on several issues of security concern, such as the concept of an ASEAN Security Community, peace-keeping, Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), democratization, maritime boundary issues, etc. From the time of its formation in 1967, ASEAN had sought security through political understanding rather than military co-operation. Opposition of some of the ASEAN members to the concept of military alliances was evidently the factor behind this thinking. ZOPFAN, formally adopted in 1971, could not progress due to intra-ASEAN differences especially related to the Indochina situation. Singapore and Thailand saw it as detrimental to regional stability given the need for the region to retain the “balancing wheel” role of the United States to ensure its security and economic progress. In the post-Cold War context, though ASEAN members maintained a declaratory commitment to ZOPFAN, even its staunchest supporters conceded that reassessment and adjustment in view of the changing regional strategic environment are required. The latest manifestation of a co-operative security approach is the proposal for an ASEAN Security Community along with an ASEAN Economic and Social Community, which are decisions reached at the Bali Concord II in October 2003. This seems to fit well with “a regional order” which presupposes regional peace and stability. As observed by a commentator, “all big powers including the U.S., the European Union, China, Japan, Russia and India appear to have no outstanding major issues that could bring them to war”.4 On the other hand, these countries which have important stakes in Southeast Asia are themselves engaged with each other for improvement of their ties. However, the ASEAN Security Community proposed by Indonesia before the Bali summit in 2003 met with considerable doubts and question marks. Even if it was finally adopted by ASEAN, there was still no visible enthusiasm for its implementation. On the suggestion for a common peace-keeping force within ASEAN, differences were expressed by member states including Singapore and Vietnam.5

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Southeast Asian countries have generally acted in a subregional (involving two to three countries) or bilateral manner on security- or defence-related issues rather than as a whole grouping. For example, Thailand and the Philippines individually have military alliance with the United States; and the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) includes Singapore and Malaysia together with the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Can any common minimum denominator, therefore, be found in ASEAN on security issues? Because of the diversity of views and interests in ASEAN, it may be possible to identify only certain areas where convergence within ASEAN is visible and then relate it to India.

TRADITIONAL SECURITY: BALANCE OF POWER As seen earlier, the changed security paradigm after the end of the Cold War brought about a major shift in the outlook of countries in the AsiaPacific region towards concepts of security, both traditional and nontraditional. There were significant reassessments of security and balance of power. In the Asia-Pacific today, major entities while demonstrating their military or economic strength in pursuit of balance of power are simultaneously engaged in one way or the other in co-operative security through consultations, joint exercises, and bilateral or multilateral dialogues. This includes Southeast Asia as well as India. With regard to changes in political equations in Southeast Asia, those countries which were adversaries in the seventies and eighties, such as Vietnam and ASEAN, resolved their differences and came together to expand the regional grouping. In the new atmosphere that developed, differences in political ideologies were downplayed and outstanding issues were not allowed to fester to reach the level of military confrontation. Co-operative security ideas were being put in practice. The tension between China and five claimant countries over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea was reduced through negotiations, with the parties agreeing to resolve outstanding issues peacefully under the Manila Declaration (1992). In the Asia-Pacific, China, Japan, ASEAN and India are expected to determine the course of events with simultaneous relationships like China and ASEAN, Japan and ASEAN, and India and ASEAN continuing to operate, balancing or reinforcing each other in the process. As in the case of other powers, even within ASEAN, bilateralism as the main process of interaction is likely to continue among the member countries.

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In all this, the United States is expected to remain the critical element with most of the countries in the region preferring the U.S. presence and influence to continue for their own reasons. If a power equilibrium is to be envisaged in the region, are there regional and extraregional powers with strategic wherewithal and political will which can undertake this role? Southeast Asian nations view the United States, China, Japan and India as the possible players in this regard, with ASEAN itself acting as an important pole. In the geopolitical and geoeconomic realms, regional states see India as a useful emerging option to diversify their external economic linkages and provide some balance to the growing economic weight of China. India, in fact, was admitted as a dialogue partner slightly ahead of China and Russia.6 Essentially, the view of several Southeast Asian countries is that ASEAN needs to engage with as many major powers as possible. Engagement should help bring about peace and stability to the Asia-Pacific region. According to an Indonesian strategic thinker, the major powers in the region in the near future would be the United States, China and India.7 The former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong described India as the western wing of the ASEAN aircraft while the eastern wing comprised of China, Japan and Korea.8 This metaphor reflects Singapore’s firm belief and consistent efforts over the past ten years to associate and integrate India in the ASEAN dialogue processes. Cambodian thinkers have expressed the need for India’s enhanced presence in Southeast Asia, especially in the CLMV countries, in various fields including technological and cultural, which could give them a better sense of security.9 Cambodia, as Chairman of ASEAN in 2002, played a major role with regard to ASEAN–India summit partnership and helping to institutionalize it on an annual basis.

TRADITIONAL SECURITY: ROLE AND INFLUENCE OF MAJOR POWERS With the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the United States became the pre-eminent power in the Asia-Pacific region while the rise of an economically and militarily strong China began to be felt in the geopolitics of the region. Post-September 11 the United States brought about a regime change in Afghanistan and the U.S.–Pakistan relations underwent a major transformation. The India– U.S. engagement including in strategic field has sharply increased. In

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this situation in the Asia-Pacific, there are a number of factors that point to a developing convergence of security interests between Southeast Asian nations and India. Today, the perceptions of India and Southeast Asian countries with respect to each other are rapidly changing. Moreover, India’s expanding engagement with the United States is seen by most ASEAN countries as a positive development for the security and peace in the region. The other factor with which ASEAN seems to find security congruence with India is the latter’s widening engagement with East Asia, particularly China. As a result, there is less apprehension among Southeast Asian countries that Sino–Indian differences would cause any conflict or tension in Southeast Asia. An important question can arise in the above context. Is China considered a common and main point around which Southeast Asia and India could find convergence of interest? Are there any specific security concerns, traditional or non-traditional, that may bring them together? Does the current geopolitical situation in the region create any conflictual relationship in the triangle between Southeast Asia, China and India? A brief analysis of the equations of the three players vis-à-vis each other would be instructive for the understanding of the overall security outlook. The range and depth of Southeast Asia–India interaction as compared with the Southeast Asia–China relationship would be a relevant factor in this context.

Comparative Analysis of Security Relationship Only a brief analysis is made here as the long history and extensiveness of contacts between Southeast Asia and China on the one hand and Southeast Asia and India on the other would necessitate a separate study of this subject.

Southeast Asia–China Relations China’s millenia-old history with the neighbouring countries of Southeast Asia is marked by deep political, economic, social and cultural interactions. China has left an indelible imprint on the societies of these countries. In politico-security terms, China and some of its neighbours in Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam, had a history of military struggle. China and four Southeast Asian countries have territorial claims over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The Chinese communities in Southeast Asia are large in numerical strength and are well known for their

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enterprise and business skills. They have contributed enormously to the transformation of the socioeconomic scene of Southeast Asia. In recent times, China has tailored its policy outlook to the ASEAN region to suit the latter’s needs. China was no doubt following Deng Xiaoping’s directive that in order to achieve great power status it should first have peaceful relations with its neighbours.10 China’s considerable expansion of bilateral ties, in particular with the new ASEAN members is beginning to create a new pattern of relationship. With a series of steps taken by China and the CLMV countries with regard to their boundary issues, the Greater Mekong subregion co-operation, trade including border trade, and position of the minority Chinese communities, the two seem to look towards a relatively dispute-free future at least in the short term.11 Vietnam, for instance, seems to regard the settlement of its bilateral land boundary issue with China as timely and important. In a short span of time, their bilateral trade volume has reached US$5 billion. In Cambodia, too, the commercial and economic presence of China looms large and political influence is also considerable. China’s plans of building dams upstream on the Mekong River, however, appear to create serious worries of water shortage in the Mekong Basin. The mainstream of the traditional flow of the Mekong is regarded as essential for the ecology of the Great Lake in Cambodia. In the defence field, the Philippines Government, which had hitherto taken a strong position against the Chinese claims on the Spratly Islands, seems to have agreed, in principle, with China to develop co-operation in the area of defence. Almost starting from zero, defence co-operation would entail visits and dialogues but not joint military exercises. However, the two will work in the transformation of the South China Sea from an area of conflict to an area of co-operation. They have also affirmed their readiness to study co-operative activities like joint development pending the comprehensive and final settlement of territorial disputes and overlapping maritime claims in the South China Sea.12 While the rise of China continues to constantly engage attention in Southeast Asia, the latter are also discovering new opportunities with it as witnessed by Singapore’s investments in and economic cooperation with China. Bilateral trade with Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand has seen high growth in recent years.13 The expanding ASEAN–China engagement in the ASEAN Plus Three, China’s accession to ASEAN’s TAC and China’s announcement of its readiness to sign the Protocol to the SEANWFZ are measures which

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are seen in Southeast Asia as important assurances. At the same time, China makes it clear to these countries that when it comes to China’s core concerns such as the Taiwan issue, it would expect that they fully respect China’s policy in that regard. China took serious exception to Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to Taiwan a few weeks before his inauguration as Prime Minister. China rejected the explanation that it was a private visit aimed at understanding the situation in Taiwan so that he could accurately assess the cross-strait situation when he takes over the reins. In his first major policy speech after taking office on 12 August 2004, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated clearly that “if Taiwan goes for independence, Singapore will not recognize it”.14 According to the Chinese Ambassador to Singapore, ties between Singapore and China have been fully normalized after suffering setbacks for a period.15

Southeast Asia’s View of China Southeast Asian countries have been pragmatic and constructive in their approach to China. They are realistic that whatever the outstanding problems with China, which in any case may not be amenable to quick solution, it is desirable to take advantage of the opportunities presented by China’s rapidly growing economy. Thus, despite some underlying worries of a rising China on Southeast Asia’s doorstep and some political differences or territorial disputes, Southeast Asian countries have chosen to pursue a policy of economic intermeshing with China so that a vested interest in co-existence and non-interference can develop. As mentioned earlier, Vietnam–China business contacts have greatly expanded.16 Thailand has built close political as well as economic linkages with China. So has Malaysia, and the growth in China’s relationship with Myanmar in recent years has been phenomenal. Indeed, a common view that prevails in Southeast Asia is that China is the future and hence greater understanding of and with China is desirable in self-interest. Young people and students from Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia are beginning to go to China in larger numbers and are preparing themselves to learn Mandarin.17 ASEAN countries have regarded China as a crucial element in the power calculus of the Asia-Pacific region. China was invited by ASEAN to join the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1993 even before China became a dialogue partner. China also began to participate in the track

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two Council for Security Co-operation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP) in 1996, in which most ASEAN members were present. As reported in the Straits Times: how China will be wielding its newly acquired power in the coming months and years will be keenly watched in Southeast Asia. … The growing Chinese power must be at the center of any regional security strategy formulated by the Southeast Asian states — and by the U.S.18

Southeast Asia–India Relations The relations between Southeast Asia and India, although, equally old and rich in history, do not loom as large in Southeast Asian consciousness as the Southeast Asia–China relationship. “Modest is the operative word when the India–ASEAN relationship is contrasted with the Sino–ASEAN one.”19 The view of India from Southeast Asia is a mixed one. Historically India has had a benign and non-threatening contact with Southeast Asia. The misunderstandings and misperceptions in relation to India during the Cold War years have been changing in recent years. In Southeast Asia, the opening of the Indian economy and the steady progress of India, especially in the technological field, is being felt for the past four to five years. Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, aptly stated that: “India’s growing renaissance seems unstoppable.”20 Today, the sustained growth of India’s economy and its increasing competitiveness is perceived as both a challenge and an opportunity by Southeast Asian countries. Its advance in the knowledge-based economy, particularly in IT and biotechnology, and its competitiveness in pharmaceuticals, auto components and garments are beginning to put India in a new league. The demographics of India, like that of China, are increasingly seen to be favouring these huge economies. With a marketsize exceeding 300 million (the estimated number of middle-class people) growing at about 10 to 15 per cent a year, the movement of the “Indian elephant”, albeit slow when compared with the “Chinese dragon”, is a new consciousness in Southeast Asia. As in the case with China, Southeast Asia’s approach towards India in the emerging situation also appears to create a comprehensive vested interest among India and Southeast Asian countries for interdependence and co-existence. Hence, the emphasis on greater political, strategic and economic linkages. This is the significance of India–ASEAN strategic partnership, growing defence co-operation

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and the deepening of economic links. On its part, India seems to fully reciprocate the Southeast Asian countries’ approach. That India could also in future attract more investment, technology and tourists away from Southeast Asian countries is a related apprehension. As of 2004, India’s record is, however, poor in comparison with Southeast Asia with regard to foreign direct investments and tourism. As a result, Southeast Asian countries seem to find it necessary to plan strategies to deal with the challenge of being caught between the two prospective economic giants. One of the prudent ways for overcoming the factors of competitiveness on account of costs as well as the economies of scale and for taking the advantage of several complementarities is seen in seeking closer economic integration. This is dealt in greater detail in Chapter 4 on Economic Co-operation and Integration. India has no territorial claims or disputes with any ASEAN member countries. On the other hand, it has defence co-operation agreements with a number of Southeast Asian countries. Defence training facilities are provided by India in growing numbers and India holds joint naval exercises with several Southeast Asian countries at regular intervals. There are bilateral naval co-ordinated patrolling arrangements in the Bay of Bengal. In 2004, India and Singapore held joint air exercises in India, and in 2005 the two started joint army exercises. In these matters, India’s record seems to compare well with that of other major powers. On the multilateral level, India was invited by ASEAN in 1996 to be a member of the ARF, which is an exercise in co-operative security. Since then, India has been an active participant at the ARF ministerial and other inter-sessional meetings. In India, too, the view about China is undergoing continuous change. While the old scars of China’s 1962 war with India are not completely gone, the new generation sees no problem in doing business with the fast-expanding economy of China. The latter is seen as the main competitor in the economic field, but is recognized at the same time as an example to emulate. Politically, the relationship has stabilized over the years and renewed efforts to strengthen it are underway through high-level visits on both sides. India will remain concerned of China’s close links with Pakistan in strategic fields. Moreover, the China–India boundary question still remains unresolved. However, the approach on the part of both China and India is generally positive and constructive. The present trend in India–China trade relations suggests that China might become India’s largest trade partner in about ten

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years’ time. The two are even studying the possibility of entering into an FTA. From the foregoing, Southeast Asian countries and India would appear to have a similar policy approach vis-à-vis China. Both may not be free of traditional security concerns or territorial problems with the latter, yet would look to the future with a sense of realism and pragmatism. Co-operation and co-existence, and not confrontation, are likely to be the favoured policy guidelines when dealing with China. This will be the essence of their convergence.

TRADITIONAL SECURITY: DEFENCE It is to the credit of ASEAN that, despite sharp intramural differences over land, maritime boundaries or natural resources, the individual members have not resorted to military means to resolve them. A March 2005 incident involving Indonesia sending warships to the Sulawesi Sea in protest against Malaysia’s decision to award a contract to an Anglo-Dutch firm to explore and mine the Ambalat and East Ambalat oil and gas blocks may be one of the few exceptions. Negotiations and peaceful methods have been generally employed to resolve disputes. However, this has not reduced the need for individual countries to have modernized and well-equipped armed forces. Defence requirements, including training, are met by member states bilaterally with other member states of ASEAN or with other non-regional powers. Membership of defence arrangements such as the FPDA or bilateral treaties which Thailand and the Philippines have with the United States enable them to partly meet their needs. Given India’s well-developed defence capabilities, including arms equipment production and training facilities at competitive costs, ASEAN member states and India could find close convergence in this vital field. That India and ASEAN states have no disputes or outstanding issues can be a contributing factor in that direction.

NON-TRADITIONAL SECURITY: TERRORISM The primary concern and preoccupation of the Southeast Asian countries in the late nineties was to recover as early as possible from the severe sociopolitical and economic consequences of the 1997–98 Asian financial crisis. India, which remained relatively unscathed primarily because it

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had not allowed capital account convertibility, was at that time engaged in managing the political and economic fall-out of its nuclear tests conducted in May 1998. Both ASEAN and India had largely succeeded in their pursuits by the turn of the new millennium when the Al-Qaedadirected terrorism struck New York and Washington in September 2001. For Southeast Asia and India, terrorism with international links was not new. Both had been victims of Islamic fundamentalism for a long time. Both had been fighting with resoluteness and determination the terrorists and separatists, which sought to force political change through violence on their peaceful and constitutionally governed societies. However, September 11 and the Afghanistan intervention by the United States brought about a new security paradigm in South and Southeast Asia. The geopolitical scene underwent a radical transformation with consequences in strategic, economic and energy spheres. The salience of the Indian Ocean and its adjoining seas and straits grew in importance as they became a principal theatre for the U.S. operations against terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The war in Iraq further heightened the U.S. presence in the region and correspondingly the politico-security importance of several countries. For South and Southeast Asia these developments are not without serious implications. The September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, carried out with sophisticated precision and jihadi spirit, showed that the reach of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda was universal and that from the epicentre of the terrorist activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Al-Qaeda elements and Taliban could operate with impunity anywhere. Dr Condoleeza Rice, former National Security Adviser to President Bush and currently Secretary of State has stated: Integrating our counter-terrorism and regional strategies was the most difficult and the most important aspect of the new strategy to get right. Al-Qaeda was both client of and patron to the Taliban, which in turn was supported by Pakistan. Those relationships provided Al-Qaeda with a powerful umbrella of protection.21

According to a former Indian diplomat, G. Parthasarathy: There is now conclusive evidence that both Taliban and Pakistani groups like the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba were waging what they described as a jihad against India in Jammu and Kashmir with armed support from Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence.22

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There were also serious concerns about the illegal transfers of weapons of mass destruction from Pakistan. It has been reported that “the shocking revelations of top Pakistani nuclear scientist’s nuclear black marketing in which nuclear weapon technology was supplied to third countries suggested that this could not have happened without the blessings of the military.”23 The Time magazine described how Pakistan’s A. Q. Khan outwitted Western intelligence to build a global nuclear smuggling ring that made the world a more dangerous place.24

Dealing with the Scrouge of Terrorism: Common Challenges for India and Southeast Asia In South Asia, the scourge of terrorism has continued unabated for nearly two decades with India having suffered the killings of thousands of innocent civilians in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere by Islamic extremists and the displacement of thousands of Muslims and Hindus from Jammu and Kashmir. Soon after September 11, India experienced a terrorist attack on its Parliament building. In the long arc of the countries extending from Indonesia and the Philippines in Southeast Asia through South Asia to Russia and Europe and onwards to the United States, India has been a major target of Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organizations. Terrorism is, therefore, a deep national concern and anguish in India. Southeast Asia, too, has suffered deeply from terrorism for several years. Some examples are the atrocities committed by the extremist Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, the violence caused by the separatist Mindanao National Front (MNF) and by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the inter-religious killings in the Maluku islands of Indonesia as a result of clashes between the Laskar Jihad and Christian groups. It has been reported that a renegade faction of MILF is harbouring JI militants and a leader of the Abu Sayyaf group.25 This political violence in which thousands of innocent civilians have been killed is no different from terrorist violence perpetrated by the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in Bali in October 2002 and September 2005, at the Jakarta Mariott Hotel in August 2003 and outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in September 2004. JI is the largest terrorist organization operating in five Southeast Asian countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Founded in 1993, it had made its base in Malaysia when the

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Indonesian military during President Soeharto’s rule had come down heavily on radical Islamic elements. Its activities were first discovered in December 2001 when the Singapore authorities unearthed a JI plot to attack the U.S., British and Israel embassies and U.S. naval vessels in Singapore. A White Paper issued by the Singapore Government in January 2003 brought this out in detail.26 The involvement of JI in the Bali and Jakarta bombings and its close link with Al-Qaeda were established with the arrests of JI Amir Bashir and his deputy Hambali. Co-ordination and co-operation among the intelligence and enforcement agencies of the ASEAN countries has improved, and a series of agreements were signed with a view to jointly combat terrorism. ASEAN also signed a co-operation agreement with the United States to fight terror. Post-September 11, the U.S. attention in Southeast Asia was focused mainly on the issue of terrorism, especially since “this region had seemed like a good candidate for the second front in the U.S. campaign”.27 Although the Islamic tradition in Muslim majority countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia is noted for tolerance and liberalism, in recent years the influx of Wahabbi ideology was seen to be promoting a fundamentalist brand of Islam. The number of students and young persons from these countries and also from southern Thailand and Cambodia going to Pakistan to receive Islamic training in madrassas had been high till very recently. According to B. Raman, an Indian commentator, nearly 400 students from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were studying in the madrassas of Pakistan in 2002.28 Since 2002, the Indonesian and Malaysian governments reportedly introduced restrictions on the numbers of students going to Pakistan to study in madrassas. While ASEAN supported the U.S.-led coalition in its combat against terror, the reaction of individual countries to the whole issue was varied. For Southeast Asian governments, handling the terrorist challenge has become a major and delicate task. For example, in Malaysia and Indonesia, there were concerns felt by the people that the authorities might go too far in supporting the U.S. war against terror. The global outrage against terrorism was seen to be taking an anti-Islam overtone, and this had become a point of strident criticism in the domestic politics of the Muslim majority states of Southeast Asia and in several other Islamic countries in the world. In Indonesia, the government appeared to be in denial made till the Bali bombing incident took place in October 2002.

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In Thailand, the issue has become part of the complex domestic politics. The growing Muslim separatist and terrorist violence in southern Thailand and the reaction of the Thai military created a sense of fear and instability in that area. Concern over terrorism was evident in Cambodia when it was discovered that the JI deputy leader Hambali had found shelter in Cambodia for nearly six months before his arrest in Thailand. Mr Munoz, the chairman of the UN Security Council Committee on Al-Qaeda, had remarked that: Cambodia needed urgent help if it was to avoid turning into “a breeding ground” for terrorism. Cambodia, did not have anti-terrorism legislation in place. The country could use all the help from the international community to prevent terrorists from using it as a platform for their operations. According to the Cambodian Interior Ministry spokesman, Cambodia had “demonstrated preventive measures”, referring to the closure in 2003 of a Saudi-funded Islamic school outside Phnom Penh.29

The burning of the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur by a group of Rohingya Muslims allegedly in league with JI pointed to the activities of Islamic fundamentalists in Myanmar as well.30 Cambodia and Myanmar, which are predominantly Buddhist countries, are particularly apprehensive of the spread of Islamic extremism among their Muslim minorities. The recent situation in southern Thailand is a major concern to the region. The religious divide between Buddhists and Muslims has aggravated to such an extent that southern Thailand has continued to be rocked by large-scale violence since January 2004. The bloody clashes in April 2004 in which more that thirty Muslim militants were killed in a mosque created an outrage. Southern Thailand had been a bastion of Islamic separatists in the past. This region of approximately six million Muslims is marked by rural poverty and the lack of economic opportunities. The deprivations have created a deep sense of alienation among these people. The fear is that the groups of separatists may have links with the Al-Qaeda network.31 According to the National Security Council of Thailand, the Thai Muslim separatists tried to get support from external sources but failed. However, the insurgency had no known connections with the JI movement. The Thai government had identified Muslim schools as a hotbed of radicalism and had taken a series of measures to modernize them.32 Prime Minister Thaksin’s decision to appoint a National Reconciliation Commission, with former Prime

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Minister Anand Panyarachun as head, was an important step towards healing the wounds and finding a peaceful solution. Continuing unrest and communal violence in southern Thailand has implications for its ASEAN neighbours and countries in the region. There were remarks by the Thai leadership claiming that Thai insurgents were trained in the adjoining province of Malaysia. This was denied by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi who was quoted as saying that “Malaysia is not a base to be used by any group to make plans against any country. We will not allow our country to be used as a base.”33 For India, the continuing terrorist violence in Thailand would be a matter of concern. From the late 1980s, arms smugglers operating in the areas near the Thai borders with Laos and Cambodia became important sources for the sale of arms and ammunition to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Indian insurgent groups of the northeast. The group involved in the clandestine air-drop of arms and ammunition to Indian terrorist elements in the Purulia (West Bengal) area of India in December 1995 flew to Pattaya, Thailand after the air-drop.34 The scourge of terrorism that has engulfed the world poses a major challenge and concern to both India and ASEAN countries. Both India and ASEAN had fought back terrorism while suffering enormous human and material losses. In Southeast Asia, the Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism has injected an external dimension in situations of sociopolitical frustration or economic disappointment. As a result, Islamic radicalism rarely witnessed in the past in the generally tolerant and liberal Muslim societies of Indonesia, Malaysia or even southern Thailand is seen to be growing. That Osama bin Laden could co-opt Islamic groups such as the JI, MILF and Abu Sayyaf from Southeast Asia into his jihad against the West was significant. The linkage between Al-Qaeda and the JI is now well established, which only shows that the jihadi violent acts of Islamic extremists have the capacity to seriously affect the sociopolitical fabric of individual countries in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia and India have both experienced terrorism caused by violence by separatists. In Aceh and Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) in Indonesia, in Mindanao in the Philippines and the Pattani region in southern Thailand, extremist violence perpetrated by separatists has been witnessed for some time now. In the Philippines and southern Thailand, it is further mixed with growing Islamic radicalism. In all these cases, there is outright condemnation by society and the state of

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the wanton killings, kidnapping or injuring of innocent civilians or the destruction of property. Cross-border terrorism has been witnessed on a large scale for attempting separation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir through the use of force by Islamic extremists. Since the end of the eighties (when the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan ended) India had to face the main brunt of the well-armed Mujahiddeen and Taliban, many of whom were routed to Kashmir. Through terrorist violence, numerous Islamic radical groups attempted to attack the basic foundation of India’s secularism and democracy but failed miserably. India does not accept the argument that violence in the name of so-called “freedom fight” should not be treated as terrorism. On the other hand, it is of the view that violence against innocent civilians has no justification whatsoever and no distinct categorization. It is terrorism and has to be put down. On the basis of this thinking, India and ASEAN in the post-September 11 period have acted in close unison to evolve a co-operative framework to jointly deal with the scourge of terrorism. Both may not entirely share the view regarding the priority that should be accorded to this issue in their dialogue. India is conscious of the diversity of opinion on this within ASEAN. India also holds the view which is shared by ASEAN that there should be no double standards in the fight against terrorism. There is the tendency by some to condone terrorism in some places while condemning it elsewhere. Such leniency will only boomerang on everyone.35 The interconnection of jihadi terrorism between Southeast Asia and India is a matter of growing concern for both. There are reports that the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al-Islam (HUJI) from Pakistan, which are involved in assisting the jihadi terrorist elements in Southeast Asia, are members of Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF). These groups have been responsible for most of the terrorist incidents in India since 1999.36

Counter-Terrorism Co-operation The urgent need to deal jointly with terrorism prompted India and ASEAN to enter into agreements to share information and to co-ordinate actions. During the several visits that the leaders of India and Southeast Asian countries have exchanged since the September 11 incidents,

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terrorism issue has remained high on the agenda. As a result, information sharing on this subject should increase. For such an arrangement to succeed and be effective, however, there has to be better knowledge and understanding of the intelligence systems, enforcement procedures and relevant legal provisions. While there is some common ground between India and Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Myanmar due to the common British colonial experience, the situation with respect to other countries in Southeast Asia is different. Co-operation in combating terrorism can be facilitated if legal instruments such as Mutual Legal Assistance, Extradition Treaties, and Agreements on the Transfer of Convicted Offenders exist between India and the ASEAN members. India and the Philippines agreed on an Extradition Treaty in March 2004.37 It is significant that the two countries had expressed interest in sharing information and exchanging experience with regard to separatists or terrorist violence for some time. A Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between Thailand and India was signed and ratified in 2004. With Singapore, the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance was signed during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to India in June 2005. This accord will help tackle terrorist organizations and their sources of funding.38 Cambodia also believes that it may be useful for Southeast Asian countries to obtain the experience of India in dealing with global terrorism. It is the nature of the bilateral counter-terrorism arrangements that will determine the level of co-operation between India and ASEAN countries in this field. It is necessary to evaluate if the mechanisms put in place are practical enough and whether they have the necessary political backing required for the success of such measures. Indian officials have held talks in Bangkok with the leaders of insurgent groups from northeast India from time to time. Senior officials from the Myanmar Ministry of Home Affairs have also been meeting Indian officials periodically for past several years to exchange information regarding insurgency and violence in the border areas. India and ASEAN share the view that there should be greater attention to counter-terrorism and co-operation at bilateral, regional and international level. The adoption of a Joint Declaration by India and ASEAN at the Bali summit in October 2003 for Co-operation to Combat International Terrorism was, therefore, a major development on this important issue. See Appendix IV for the full declaration. The declaration clearly “rejects any attempt to associate terrorism with any

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religion, race or nationality” and regards “acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations committed wherever, whenever and by whomsoever”. Thus this declaration does not go into any definition of terrorism or possible cause. This is significant as “there are some who argue that certain ‘root causes’ are responsible for the phenomenon of terrorism and that this menace can only be addressed by dealing with the proclaimed political grievances of those indulging in violence”. Former Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha further remarked that: “Any argument that terrorists are ‘freedom fighters’ would imply that political grievances or sense of historical injustice can justify the use of violence against innocent civilians.”39 In this context, it might be pointed out that Western media has generally tended not to write about terrorist incidents in India, as compared with terrorist violence in other parts of the world. In India, the international connection to terrorism has been clearly witnessed. More people have probably been killed by terrorist acts in India than elsewhere. Yet, the gruesome incidents of terror in Kaluchak, Srinagar and Dodda, in Jammu and Kashmir, the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001, and the bombings in Mumbai 1993 and 2003 do not figure in the vocabulary of global terrorist acts. Terrorism in India is almost a forgotten story for the rest of the world.40 Indians are naturally pained by this and are dismayed at the distinction drawn between the terrorist violence in India and elsewhere.

Terrorism and Religion: Repudiation of Linkage Terrorism has political rather than religious connotations. President Bush had said a few days after the September 11 incident that “the face of the terrorist is not the true faith of Islam”.41 India and ASEAN, too, find commonality in repudiating any linkage between terrorism and religion including Islam. There is also a broad congruence on their perception of political Islam. The management of political Islam is an important factor in the body politic of Southeast Asia today. There has been a long-standing debate regarding the role of religion in the affairs of the state in Muslim majority states like Indonesia and Malaysia. The Indonesian Constitution, adopted in 1945, effectively separated religion from politics by the adoption of Pancasila as the national ideology. In the wake of growing Islamization in the past decade, there were pressures to review and revise this position. However, the Indonesian electorate rejected it in the 1999 elections and again in the 2004 legislative and

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Presidential elections. The mainstream Islam in Indonesia thus remains moderate. The long-standing presence and prominence in Indonesia of two sociocultural Muslim organizations, the Muhammadiyah (with 25 million members) and the Nahdlatul Ulama (with 30 million members), also testifies to it. At the same time, it should be noted that there is growing concern over the rapid spread of Islamic fundamentalism primarily supported by external sources. The number and strength of Islamic groups and parties have gone up and are also present in the Indonesian Parliament. In Malaysia the elections of March 2004 had shown that the Islamic opposition political party, PAS, which was seeking to create an Islamic state of Malaysia, failed in gaining popular support. The mainstream public opinion in the country supported Prime Minister Badawi’s stance that Islam, though a pre-eminent faith of Malaysia, is separate from the state. He has also been articulating this thought on Islam in a progressive and moderate manner through his Islam Hadhari (civilizational or progressive Islam) philosophy. In India’s case, the secular Constitution of 1950 entitles all citizens to freedom of religious worship and spiritual practice. Personal laws relating to marriage and inheritance are based on traditional religious codes. However, the Constitution draws a clear line between the state and religion. The people of India continue to treasure and nurture this hallmark of the Indian system despite occasional political turbulence or communal violence. It may be recalled that Islam came to Southeast Asia from Arabia, Gujarat and southern India, and Sufism from India became common in Southeast Asia for centuries. In the discourse between India and Southeast Asian countries, Islam should, therefore, be an important component. The tradition of moderation and sociocultural synthesis or the basic approach towards the separation of roles of religion and the state indicates considerable commonality between the two. The Muslims in India are a minority; but at 13 per cent of the national population of over 1 billion they constitute a sizeable number. To understand this large section of the Indian society which has contributed in a significant manner to the political, economic, social and cultural edifice of the nation is important for the people of Southeast Asia, just as the knowledge of Islam in Southeast Asia to the Indian people.

Maritime Terrorism The threat of maritime terrorism for the countries of Southeast Asia and India is real and a serious one. Because of their locations, both are

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quite vulnerable to the dangers of piracy as well as terrorist attacks on their ports, coastal installations, ships and the sea lanes of communication which straddle their coasts. Attacks on major ports in Southeast Asia with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) can severely disrupt global trade. Similarly, terrorist threats to ships carrying oil or liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean can have a debilitating effect on the energy security of industrialized countries such as Japan, China and Korea and some Southeast Asian states, all of which are dependent on oil from the Persian Gulf. Given the vast trade between Europe and East and Southeast Asia, and the growing trade between India and Southeast Asia and East Asia, the Malacca Strait assumes crucial importance. The safety of the Strait is a matter of concern not only to the adjoining states but the whole region and beyond. The incidents of piracy in the Strait have gone up in recent years. Political uncertainty or economic underdevelopment in the areas adjoining the main sea routes can further fuel piracy. Furthermore, activities of terrorist organizations including those with connection to the Al-Qaeda have grown in the region bordering the Malacca Strait. There are, thus, some common concerns of India and Southeast Asian countries which share a common maritime neighbourhood. This also creates possibilities for information sharing and co-operation for joint action. The tsunami disaster tragically brought realization to South and Southeast Asia of the common maritime space interlocking their destinies.

TRANSNATIONAL CRIME Between neighbours, the frequency of transborder crime cannot be easily eliminated. In the region of Southeast and South Asia, which has high level of poverty and unemployment, this menace continues to be a major challenge. Consequently, illegal migration, drug and arms trafficking, trafficking in women and children, and money laundering are rampant with inter-linkages between India and the countries of Southeast Asia. The existence of the Golden Triangle, spanning Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, which accounts for nearly 15 per cent of the world’s illegal production of drugs, adds a major dimension to the transnational crime that emanates in the region. It is important to note that consumer demand primarily from developed countries is the main cause of the large-scale poppy cultivation in the Golden Triangle. India

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also gets linked to the drug menace through the smuggling of opium and heroin into India across the India–Myanmar border. According to the Myanmar authorities, beginning from 1998, significant seizures of smuggled precursor chemicals, needed for the production of methamphetamine tablets, and ephedrine were made annually on the border areas with India.42 Drugs produced in Myanmar find their way illegally into different parts of India on their way to the West. Under a bilateral agreement on co-operation in drug control signed between Myanmar and India in 1993, the two countries exchange information and co-ordinate actions on a regular basis. The challenge of controlling and eventually eliminating transnational crimes becomes an important and immediate co-operative security objective. There is a broad identity of views between India and Southeast Asian countries on the containment of transnational crime, bilaterally as well as multilaterally including through the ARF. India and some of the ASEAN members have structured security dialogues with each other with a view to addressing these issues. They are prompted by mutual concern over transnational crime as well as global terrorism and the perceived need for co-operation. In the past five years, security talks on a regular basis have been institutionalized with Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. With Indonesia there had been a Joint Consultative Forum set up in 1997 which, inter alia, also looked at bilateral and regional security issues. This has since been upgraded to the Ministeriallevel Joint Commission.

India and Thailand Co-operation on the issues of mutual security concerns has grown in recent years. One of the main concerns for India is that insurgent groups from its northeast region have been using the Thai territory for the procurement and transshipment of arms and for anti-India activities. India and Thailand agreed to institutionalize security co-operation during Prime Minister Thaksin’s visit to India in November 2001.43 It was decided that a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Security be set up. The JWG held its first meeting in May 2003 in Bangkok. This group regularly conducts dialogue between Indian and Thai officials covering areas such as narcotics, terrorism, arms trafficking and smuggling, money laundering, illegal migration and international crime. The JWG subsequently met in December 2003 in New Delhi and in July 2004 in Thailand.

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Other co-operation in mutual security includes the signing of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters in February 2004. The treaty was ratified in June 2004, and discussions on an Extradition Treaty and an Agreement on Transfer of Convicted Prisoners are continuing. There is also a penta-lateral group of five countries for co-operation on narcotics control in which discussions are held regularly. The countries include Thailand, China, Laos, Myanmar and India. India joined the group in 2003. During the summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC) in 2004 it was decided that a Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism and International Crime be set up. This working group held its first meeting in December 2004.

India and Singapore A Joint Working Group was established after the visit of former Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani to Singapore in March 2003 for discussing international terrorism and organized crime. A Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Cases was signed in New Delhi in June 2005. Discussions on an Extradition Treaty are still underway between the two governments.

India and the Philippines As a result of the anguish that both have felt for several years on account of Islamic extremism, the Philippines and India decided to include a security dialogue in their annual foreign policy consultations. Through this they hoped to exchange information and intelligence on terrorism and transnational crime that have a global reach. During the first meeting of the dialogue in March 2004 in Manila, the two countries signed an Extradition Treaty.

ENERGY SECURITY One of the principal concerns in India today is energy. India’s own oil production meets only 30 per cent of its requirements. This figure is

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likely to go down to 15 per cent by 2025 unless there are new discoveries and early extraction of oil in India. The situation with respect to natural gas is more encouraging with large discoveries in 2004 and 2005 in the Bay of Bengal and Rajasthan. However, in this area too there will be a large deficit given the rapidly rising demand for domestic use. In addition, the need for electric power is critical for a fast-growing economy like India. Coal would continue to be the principal source for power generation. Nuclear power accounts for only 2.5 per cent of total power production. India has also made large investments in non-renewable sources of energy. However, they are still not cost-effective and also not adequate to meet the growing demand. In view of the spiralling global oil prices, larger investments are imperative in nuclear power production and in non-renewable sources. India has little option but to embark on a worldwide campaign of buying or leasing oil and gas assets. While the policy of investing in oil and gas fields in countries far and wide started a few years ago with ventures in Vietnam, Russia (the Sakhalin project), the Sudan and Myanmar, there is a new thrust to establish gas pipelines from the source country to India through countries whose overall relations with India had been less than friendly. These projects include the proposed Myanmar–Bangladesh–India and the Iran–Pakistan–India pipelines. Pipelines from Central Asian countries to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan have also been envisaged. In these arrangements, besides the supplier country, the country through which the gas pipeline transits would also be a substantial beneficiary. Thus, it will be a win-win situation for all three countries. India held a unique meeting in January 2005 in which major oil producing and consuming Asian countries participated. There were suggestions for an Asian oil market and a possible price band by the Asian members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for developing countries in Asia. A bold new approach in which geoeconomics will take precedence over geopolitics is being attempted through this oil and gas diplomacy. In dealing with the challenge of energy security, India and Southeast Asia can find natural convergence and partnership. It should be noted that Vietnam was one of the first countries with which India sought a joint venture arrangement for natural gas extraction. This project, conceived as early as the beginning of the nineties, with Vietnam and two Western multinationals went on stream two years ago. The proposed

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pipeline from Myanmar to India will be yet another major step in linking India with a Southeast Asian country in the vital field of energy on a long-term basis. India and Myanmar are also considering jointly developing the Tamanthi hydroelectric project on the India–Myanmar border, thus creating another interdependent linkage in the field of energy. Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Myanmar and Vietnam have been fortunately endowed with rich natural resources including oil, natural gas and coal. That creates a complementarity with India which is in acute need for energy. Long-term co-operation arrangements, therefore, can be achieved which will be mutually beneficial. With their considerable experience in oil exploration and extraction, Southeast Asian petroleum companies can undertake extraction in India’s offshore oil zone. India also has extensive experience in exploration and extraction as well as refining downstream processes. The Indian Petroleum Minister has described the Bay of Bengal as Asia’s North Sea.44 A new opportunity beckons India and Southeast Asia in building new assets of understanding on the premise of energy security. The situation with respect to oil and gas also holds true with coal. India though a large producer of coal requires huge imports of coal, especially for its massive needs of power. Often it has been seen that importing coal by ships from other countries in the east is more economical than transporting the coal within India by rail. Major coal producing countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia can be a large-scale supplier of coal and in the process create a strong economic bond. The vulnerability of oil supplies which India is concerned with can also be a cause for worry for some Southeast Asian countries which are importers of oil and gas. Even traditional exporters of oil such as Indonesia, the only OPEC member from Southeast Asia, understands that it might soon require large-scale imports. Thus, the concern for energy security can be a common cause for India and Southeast Asia to pool their expertise and skills. If the price of oil indeed shoots up to US$70 per barrel as warned by Iran,45 the economies of both India and Southeast Asia would stand to suffer a great deal. All the more reason for energy to be an area of convergence of interests for Southeast Asia and India. The initiative taken by Singapore in organizing an Asia-Middle East Dialogue (AMED) in June 2005 with the participation of West Asian, North African and Asian countries suggests how to address issues of

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common concern including energy through dialogue. India is also a participant in AMED.

DEFENCE CO-OPERATION With no adversarial relationship between India and Southeast Asian countries, it should be possible to have a meaningful and substantial defence relationship which will enable them to meet their legitimate defence needs. With its diversified industrial and engineering base and background in defence production, India is well placed to meet some of the defence requirements of the countries in the region. As in the overall politico-strategic sphere, so also in the defence field, the India–Southeast Asia chasm had widened during the long period of the Cold War. Previously, Indian leaders identified themselves with the political aspirations of Southeast Asian peoples. As early as 1927, Nehru had condemned the use of Indian soldiers in China, Burma, Malaya and other countries in furtherance of imperialist interests. In 1945, he expressed resentment at the use of Indian troops by Lord Mountbatten’s Southeast Asia Command against Indonesian nationalists.46 In the late forties and early fifties India had provided arms and military training to Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma in their anti-colonial or anti-insurgency struggle. In 1949, India had met the request of the U Nu government for immediate supply of artillery and arms by dispatching airplanes to Rangoon when Karen rebels were on the outskirts of the capital. In U Nu’s words, New Delhi managed to send “several shipments of arms without which Burma might have not recovered.”47 When the Indonesians were fighting the Dutch reoccupation during the period 1945–49, Indian planes made sorties to Indonesian cities defying the Dutch air blockade and provided supplies and military equipment. Biju Patnaik, a young dare-devil entrepreneur, inspired by Pandit Nehru’s ideals of anti-colonialism and Asian solidarity personally flew an aircraft to Sumatra to fly the Indonesian Prime Minister Sutan Syahrir to India. Patnaik later rose to become a popular leader in India. In the fifties, a large number of air force officers from Indonesia were provided training in India. However, since the midsixties much of the military level co-operation with Southeast Asian countries came to an end. The military alliance arrangements created by the United States or the Soviet Union began to primarily determine

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the sources of supply of military equipment. While countries affiliated to the U.S. alliance sought equipment from the United States, those close to the Soviet Union obtained military hardware from the latter. Training of military personnel from several Southeast Asian countries in specialized courses in India’s defence establishments or defence colleges, however, continued although overall defence co-operation remained limited since India itself became largely an arms importer. With the affiliations of the Cold War having faded away, both India and ASEAN are in a position to have a fresh look at the politico-security landscape in the region and possibilities of defence co-operation. Southeast Asians themselves have begun to gradually recognize India’s military capacity which could play a useful role in contributing to the stability of the region. Following the end of the Cold War with the Western powers reducing their presence, India’s possible contribution became more relevant even as apprehensions of China’s dominance grew. The upshot of convergence of concerns and interests of India and Southeast Asia was the genesis of a new strategic interaction of India with several of ASEAN nations.48 In the past decade, India’s defence relations with ASEAN countries have shown a steady improvement. In a lecture at Harvard University, former Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha said: the other aspect of Phase Two of the Look East policy is the movement away from exclusive focus on economic issues in Phase One to a broader agenda that involves security co-operation, including joint operations to protect sea lanes and pooling resources in the war against terrorism. The military contacts and joint exercises that India launched with ASEAN states on a low key basis in the early 1990s are now expanding into full-fledged cooperation. India’s defence contacts have widened to include Japan, South Korea, and China.49

It is an interesting coincidence that China’s engagement with India including in the military field is broadening. The two held a joint naval exercise off Shanghai in November 2003. In the meantime, India–U.S. ties including in the military sphere have also improved. For its part, India does not and should not seek closer military ties with Southeast Asia as a bulwark against China or Pakistan. On the other hand, a number of Southeast Asian nations, including Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, could see defence relationship with India as not only a factor for strengthening their defence capability, but also for

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contributing to peace and security, which the region is witnessing for the first time in nearly four decades. For ASEAN states, the preservation of such peaceful climate in the region is sine qua non for progress and hence their expectation would be that India remained committed to support this objective. Broadly speaking, these factors should bode well for the expansion of defence relationship between India and Southeast Asian countries which the latter would see primarily as supplementary to their existing defence arrangements. For India, co-operation with Southeast Asian countries in the defence area would serve useful purposes. It would be advantageous for India to obtain a range of components including electronics, advanced materials and metals from Southeast Asia to meet its defence needs. It can also benefit from the experience of Southeast Asian countries in jungle warfare and marine operations, such as mine-sweeping and marine disaster relief. Thus, there is enough scope for defence co-operation to be a mutually rewarding enterprise. It is in the area of military training that India has consistently supported Southeast Asian nations. Under the India Technical and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) programme, India has offered training facilities in civil and military courses over the past several years. Table 2.1 shows the position with regard to military courses allocated to Southeast Asian countries since 2001. Officers and trainees from Southeast Asian countries appear to have benefited from their experience in India. Defence courses offered in India’s training establishments are generally fully utilized by Southeast Asian defence officers. Joint exercises with the Indian armed forces is another area which is of interest to Southeast Asian countries. Singapore, for instance, has had a joint air force exercise with the Indian Air Force at Gwalior in central India in 2004. The Singapore Army conducted exercises with its artillery and armoured Indian counterparts in India from February to May 2005. India’s defence personnel have also been engaged in Southeast Asian countries in diverse operations such as the clearing of up to 18,000 land mines in Cambodia in the early nineties and setting up an anti-land mines school there. It also helped in the construction of a road from Tamu on the India–Myanmar border to Kalemyo, 160 kilometres inside Myanmar and the carrying out of a hydrographic survey in the Sunda Strait of Indonesia. Other than that, it conducted English language teaching at the Lao Military Academy. Military training is thus an important area that India and Southeast Asia should continue to look at closely in the future.

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TABLE 2.1 Military Courses Allocated to ASEAN Countries, 2001–04

Years

Total Allocation under ITEC, globally

Allocation

2001–02

130

Allocation at NDC

Allocation at DSSC

300

6

5

2002–03

Army Navy Air Force

63 43 31

Army Navy Air Force

136 112 53

4

7

2003–04

Army Navy Air Force

59 14 9

Army Navy Air Force

172 49 30

4

5

Notes: NDC = National Defence College, New Delhi. DSSC = Defence Services Staff College, Tamil Nadu Sources: Annual Reports of the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi: Appendix XXII of 2001–02; Appendix XIV of 2002–03; and Appendix XVII of 2003–04.

Defence co-operation has been perceived by India and the countries of Southeast Asia as an expression of providing support for each other’s independence, unity and territorial integrity. By signing the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation (TAC) with ASEAN at the Bali summit in October 2003, India formally committed itself to ASEAN’s stability and freedom. Vietnam’s Prime Minister Phan Van Khai had praised India’s participation in TAC, saying this would be the basis for further peaceful and stable development between India and ASEAN within the AsiaPacific region.50 There are also bilateral defence co-operation agreements with Indonesia and Singapore. India and Vietnam had a history of close co-operation in the defence field. As Vietnam’s Foreign Minister, Nguyen Dy Nien said, “strength of defence links was reflected by the exchange of many high-level visits and experience sharing between the two armies”.51 A Memorandum of Understanding with Malaysia was signed as early as in 1993. In spite of these framework arrangements, the volume of cooperation remains small. It is largely confined to military training. Clearly, both India and Southeast Asian countries have found it difficult to break the barriers with regard to defence co-operation. This may be due to the lack of adequate information about the available weapon

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systems in India, incompatibility due to different origins of the weapon systems, differences in financial terms and servicing and spare part facilities. Both India and Southeast Asian countries seem to be working towards diversification of their defence wherewithal. Southeast Asian states have, in recent years, engaged in force modernization programmes to varying degrees. They are enhancing existing capabilities as well as acquiring new capabilities.52 In 2003, the Indonesians announced plans to buy Sukhoi 30 fighters from Russia. India finalized its decision on jet trainer aircraft in 2004 and will be purchasing British Hawks. In 2003 India had signed an agreement for Israeli Falcon radar system while some of the Southeast Asian countries have also purchased Israeli military hardware. Thus, the problem of incompatibility, if any, should not pose any hurdle. For India, being cost competitive in defence equipment is a challenge that it needs to overcome. In the meantime, ASEAN and India should not let ideological or political predilections to come in the way of concrete co-operation in defence effort. India’s defence modernization programme is proceeding steadily, and India has an extensive research and development programme. For ASEAN, the Indian option could provide an avenue to diversify its sources of defence weapons and equipment. For India, ASEAN can become an important partner in defence-related advanced materials and R&D.

MULTILATERALISM IN SECURITY: ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM (ARF) After the end of the Cambodian crisis and the Cold War, a more confident ASEAN looked to new and innovative ways to ensure its security. The driving impulse was provided by two perceptions — a shift of the U.S. strategic interest and a simultaneous rise of China’s economic and military strength in the region. The Chinese claims on the sovereignty of the potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which were contested by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan, acted as an immediate cause to galvanize thinking among ASEAN to propose a multilateral security-related forum, the ARF, in the AsiaPacific that would include all major powers. ASEAN’s standing and prestige in the early 1990s helped it to persuade both the United States and China to join this grouping which was conceived as a platform for confidence-building and preventive diplomacy. ASEAN was to remain as the core of the ARF, with its “ASEAN Way” and well-established practice of musyawarah dan muafakat (consultation and consensus) forming the

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guiding principles. The ARF was unique in that it had all the nuclear powers represented in it. The initial success of the Forum was marked by China’s agreeing to the Manila Declaration in 1992.53 The Declaration called on all parties to “exercise restraint with a view to creating a positive climate for the eventual resolution of all disputes” pertaining to the South China Sea. This led to the rapid institutionalization of the process and also to the raising of expectations that the ARF could be a harbinger of preventive diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific. India and ASEAN saw a growing commonality in approach in dealing with the prickly security issues of the region. After its successful handling of the Cambodian conflict, ASEAN was already inclined to put greater emphasis on multilateralism in addressing Asia-Pacific security questions. India, which had generally not favoured discussing regional security issues with a bearing on its own core concerns in a multilateral framework, was by then increasingly more confident about participating in such groupings. Evidently ASEAN welcomed India’s entry in the ARF as a factor for stability and peace in the region. India saw a new politicosecurity order evolving in the Asia-Pacific after the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union and therefore, viewed positively the opportunity of the multilateral security grouping. Despite its panAsian outlook and proactive stance in that direction in the early years of its independence, India had for several years been looked upon merely as a South Asian entity. With ARF membership, India saw a valuable chance to act and project itself on the wider Asia-Pacific scene. Diplomatically, India was thus seeking to break out of the limited South Asian confines where it had remained most of the time. On the other hand, India also had to accept a commitment that it would participate fully in discussions on regional situations which might have a direct or indirect bearing on its own security interests. In affirming that it will abide by the ARF’s principles and live up to ASEAN’s hopes and expectation as a contributor to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region, India assumed a new role and responsibility on the wider security canvas of the Asia-Pacific and beyond. Ever since the ARF was established in 1994 it was seen that it had been used as a vehicle by different powers in pursuance of their objectives. China has been able to project through its participation that it is a responsible and benign power prepared to consider sympathetically concerns of other countries in the region especially ASEAN. Through the ARF, China has worked to enhance its credibility as a nation not unwilling

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to discuss major issues relating to security in the region in a multilateral setting. If China has tried to ride the ARF effectively so is the case with some other powers. The opportunity for bilateral discussions on the margin of ARF annual ministerial meetings has been found by most participants as a useful mechanism to reinforce their multilateral efforts through bilateral diplomacy as well. By being within the grouping rather than remaining outside, India, too, has managed to shape this Forum’s agenda by focusing on its main interests, such as maritime security and co-operation and terrorism, while naturalizing its position on certain contentious issues like the nuclear tests. India had to face severe criticism in the ARF following its nuclear tests in May 1998. Due to India’s painstaking diplomacy of explaining its standpoint to every individual member of ASEAN and because of ASEAN’s own position which, like India’s, was opposed to the discriminatory and unequal nature of the non-proliferation regime that the ARF statement at the Manila meeting in July 1998 only “deplored” the Indian nuclear tests and did not “condemn” them as sought by several countries. ASEAN states decided to place the nuclear tests in the wider, global nuclear disarmament context. Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas stated that “while regretting the tests in South Asia, [ASEAN] was severely critical of P-5’s attitude”. He went on to say that “their failure to initiate nuclear disarmament measures in the last 28 years was an incentive to nonnuclear states to go nuclear”.54 On this issue, ASEAN showed close understanding of India’s own concerns for security as legitimate, which helped to greatly reduce criticism in the ARF of India’s action within a couple of years time. In a sense, India benefited from the multilateralization of this issue as this Forum could not possibly castigate for long the largest democracy for its unexpected but bold and morally consistent action. (That Pakistan also benefited from this is another matter.) Realistically speaking, the nuclear tests raised India’s standing in the Asia-Pacific as a credible power with a capacity to contribute meaningfully to the stability of the region. India followed up by announcing in Singapore in 2000 that it was willing to abide to the protocol of Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ). Even though ASEAN saw that this could not formally materialize as India was not a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), they nevertheless appreciated India’s decision as a credible assurance to ASEAN. China is the only other nuclear weapon state that has given such assurance.

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Like ASEAN, India has looked upon the ARF as a mechanism to create greater confidence and transparency in security matters in the region, and also as a vehicle to strengthen its own credibility. At the same time both ASEAN and India are aware of ARF’s limitations as indeed their own role in managing progress on concrete issues. ASEAN found to its disappointment the inability of the ARF to render effective assistance during the financial crisis of 1997–98 and also at the time of the East Timor crisis. Furthermore, the ARF has been able to do little to help some of the ASEAN countries to overcome threats to their sovereignty posed by separatists or to peace and security by terrorists with global reach. A number of incisive questions about the role and relevance of the ARF have been raised, including by observers from Southeast Asia,55 and also the primacy of ASEAN in the ARF process. Major issues such as the situation on the Korean peninsula have been for all practical purposes taken out of the ARF. How should ASEAN and India look at the ARF as the latter continues to come under scrutiny amid calls for a fresh approach for the functioning of this body? The effectiveness of the ARF after its existence of over ten years is itself questioned while ASEAN’s central role in the institution has been on occasions challenged with demands for the chairmanship of the ARF to be shared with non-ASEAN members. Following globalization of terror and the Iraq war, the role for ARF in the Asia-Pacific region requires reconsideration. Both ASEAN and India have vital security interests in the region. They, therefore, need to refine ideas for an agenda in the ARF which would also help promote and protect their concerns. In the single superpower-dominated AsiaPacific region (as indeed elsewhere in the world) there are clearly identifiable poles which in the coming years are expected to grow in strength. These include China, Japan, ASEAN and India. These poles would inevitably interact with each other, hopefully in co-operation, but also competition or perhaps confrontation. The dimensions of their security interests would also be multiple, ranging from military to economic including food and energy to human security. Management of these issues itself constitutes a major task which the ARF as a platform for co-operative security can undertake. Possibly the chances of direct military confrontation may recede in the upcoming years. At least, for the present such dangers appear remote. Diplomacy should therefore become the first line of defence. However, the multifarious interests of nations and concerns, involving also non-state actors, over

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issues such as terrorism, transnational crime, cyber crime, drug and human trafficking, pandemics such as SARS or the bird flu, and energy security will still continue to pose serious challenge to the region. To address them effectively, issue-based coalitions of like-minded countries may come up rather than a consensus across the board.56 The ARF’s future role can be seen in the context of such coalitions that will think not so much in terms of classical military security but co-operative security; something which can be evolved and worked out from the common platform of this forum. To give an example of this, the suggestion made by Singapore Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean that “it would be useful for the ARF member countries to move beyond dialogue on maritime security and work towards conducting an ARF maritime security exercise in the near future” would merit support.57 Through such measures, the ARF will therefore be making a direct contribution in tackling some key issues confronting the region. With regard to increasing the pace towards preventive diplomacy in the ARF there is no consensus within ASEAN itself. Considering their preoccupation with domestic political, security and economic challenges, ASEAN members seem to favour maintaining the status quo, a view not dissimilar to India’s. On the question of chairmanship of the Forum, India shares and supports the view that ASEAN should continue to have the primary role in the ARF. India believes that the ARF as a process is based on certain norms and principles of state practices and experience of ASEAN countries. ASEAN’s inability in some specific instances to provide the necessary security-related assistance in intramural situations does not necessarily negate the importance of the principles on which the ARF was based. Consequently, in backing the view that the ARF should continue to be ASEAN-driven the validity of the basis of the ARF would be upheld and stressed. Should the membership of this Forum be expanded in an openended manner? Several countries have expressed interest in joining this grouping, among them some Gulf and Central Asian countries. The opinion regarding membership expansion within the ARF is divided. It is believed that there is division in the matter even within ASEAN. There is a feeling in the ARF that the criticism of the Forum being reduced to a “talk-shop” would be further sharpened with the entry of several more new members. Furthermore, there are certain criteria such as geographical location and close association with the politico-security and economic affairs of the Asia-Pacific that are highly relevant and essential for

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considering the membership. Pakistan was, however, admitted as a member at the ARF Jakarta meeting in July 2004 with the ARF expressing its expectation that Pakistan will contribute substantially to the war on terror. Pakistan gave an explicit assurance to the Chairman as well as to India that it will not raise any bilateral issues between India and Pakistan at this Forum.58

COUNCIL FOR SECURITY CO-OPERATION IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC (CSCAP) Around the time the ARF was established, another effort towards a multilateral dialogue or a consultative process at non-governmental second track level was underway in the Asia-Pacific. Starting in 1992 with a formation of a group of strategic studies centres from ten countries in the Asia-Pacific region with a view to providing a structural regional process towards confidence-building and enhancing regional security, it evolved rapidly into a Council with broad-based committees in member countries. The membership includes countries from ASEAN, regional powers from the Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe. Over the years, CSCAP has been consolidating its links with the first track process of ARF. It is described as “the most ambitious proposal to date for a regularized, focused and inclusive non-governmental process on the Asia-Pacific security matters”.59 India became an associate member in December 1994 and was elevated to full membership in June 2000. India is currently participating in a wide range of CSCAP activities, namely, working groups on Transnational Crime and Maritime Co-operation; Study Groups on Capacity Building for Maritime Security Co-operation; Regional PeaceKeeping and Peace Building; Developing Strategies to Reduce Human Trafficking in the Asia-Pacific; Enhancing Effectiveness of the Campaign against International Terrorism; Countering the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Future Prospects for Multilateral Security Frameworks in North Pacific/Northeast Asia besides the General Conference of CSCAP. India’s focus has been in the areas of maritime cooperation and campaign against international terrorism and transnational crime where Southeast Asian countries, too, have common concern and interest. CSCAP is therefore another forum where India and Southeast Asia can find security convergence in many fields.

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SHANGRILA DIALOGUE Another multilateral dialogue on the issues of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region is the Shangrila Dialogue organized in Singapore by the U.K.-based International Institute for Strategic Studies since 2002. This forum comprises of defence ministers, experts and professionals from more than twenty countries from the Asia-Pacific, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Singapore leaders have addressed it from its inception. The U.S. interest in this dialogue has been seen in the attendance by the Secretary of Defence. The major issues that have been discussed at the Shangrila Dialogue include North Korea’s nuclear programme, international terrorism, maritime security, weapons of mass destruction, peacekeeping and China’s rise. India has looked upon this dialogue in Singapore as a useful opportunity to participate in a multilateral setting to address the issues of stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region and has actively participated in the dialogue including at the defence ministerial level.

AREAS OF DIVERGENCE Against the backdrop of growing commonalities between India and Southeast Asia there are undeniably several divergences. This is only realistic and actually lends greater credibility to the rapidly developing relationship between the two. The divergences can arise out of two main factors: the diversity within Southeast Asia; and differences between India and Southeast Asian countries with regard to their perceptions about major powers and the politico-security trends in the region. Within ASEAN itself the views about security co-operation with India are likely to be varied. The Indonesian or Myanmar perception may be different from that of Singapore or Vietnam. The Indonesians have had apprehensions of the projected Indian naval expansion in the past. Those prejudices which perhaps might have arisen out of a sense of competitiveness in the region are no longer present. Moreover, closer interaction at the diplomatic, economic and military level has helped to dispel apprehensions, if any. Today, there is a growing dialogue in all fields. Vietnam looked upon India as a co-operative partner. Historically, Myanmar had been wary of its two large neighbours. Lately, however, high-level exchanges between India and

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Myanmar are on the increase. On the other hand, India’s defence or security-related interaction with the countries of Southeast Asia had also not been uniform. One of the main causes of this was the Cold War. For example, with the Philippines there has been little co-operation despite common concerns about Islamic radicalism. Another factor that can cause divergence is the view of India and Southeast Asian countries towards the United States or China. Today, almost all ASEAN members (barring Myanmar) are engaged with the United States, although it should be mentioned that the quality of their engagement does not appear to be uniform. India and the United States are witnessing a deepening engagement including in the military field. However, differences on several issues such as the Iraq war and nuclear non-proliferation still remain. It may be seen that the United States, India and ASEAN members have a broad similarity of views with respect to a number of issues but also divergence with regard to a few others. This is understandable in view of the differing core national interests. However, it seems that the divergence may not be so deep so as to cast a shadow on the overall India–Southeast Asia relationship. Similarly, the views of India and Southeast Asian countries towards China may not necessarily be similar, though today both India and Southeast Asian countries have a broad-ranging and growing relationship with China. Again, individual ASEAN countries have their own concerns or interests vis-à-vis China. Some regard it as an opportunity and a factor for stability while some might consider it a subtle threat. It is important to note here that despite considerable improvement of relations with China, India’s security concerns with China still remain. Sino–Indian differences could create divergence among ASEAN members with India. However, it seems that ASEAN countries would be increasingly guided in the future by the growing engagement between India and China, which has been welcomed by the latter. Moreover, the opportunity for direct dialogue between the leaders of China, India and Southeast Asia at East Asia summits would further reduce the likelihood of any divergence that might arise between India and Southeast Asia with regard to their outlook towards China. Has religion been a significant factor in India–Southeast Asia relations? Both regions are home to all major religions of the world. Hinduism and Buddhism originated in India. Islam in Southeast

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Asia also has had a close historical link with India when traders and Islamic scholars from India brought the religion to Southeast Asia. Over the years, there had been occasional differences following communal incidents or situations in India. However, they have not generally stood in the way of a comprehensive relationship between India and Southeast Asia. Evidently, long-term interests between the two have weighed in favour. Islam is a common legacy for India and Southeast Asia and, therefore, should be a platform for a dialogue. Today, Southeast Asia and India, have a broadly similar approach to political Islam. Both believe in the philosophy of “unity in diversity” (Bhinneka Tunggal Eka, which is the motto for Indonesia) and peaceful co-existence. That several Southeast Asian counties are democracies is an additional factor for mutual assurance. Besides, the long-standing and strong economic and cultural linkages would endure any temporary differences. One area of possible divergence which ASEAN countries would watch carefully is the developmental assistance by China as well as India to the CLMV countries. How will the latter see India’s human resource development and infrastructure-related assistance even as China is extensively involved in assisting the new ASEAN countries in their economic development? Would it be regarded as a competition to China’s thrust in the region? In this context India has already stated that “the Mekong Ganga Co-operation is in no way directed against China”.60 It may be mentioned here that “improved Sino–Indian relations both profit from and contribute to better relations between India and its South and Southeast Asian neighbours”.61 India, along with Japan, Brazil and Germany, had announced in September 2004 in the UN General Assembly that they will bid together for permanent seats in the Security Council as the UN undertook reforms. As India continues to seek the valuable support of the countries of Southeast Asia in this regard, the growing strategic convergence between the two should serve as a guiding principle. Some of the countries in Southeast Asia including Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have already considered India’s claim and pronounced their full support since 2004. Singapore has expressed support for the inclusion of Japan, India and Germany as permanent members but is opposed to giving the veto to new members as this, according to Singapore’s Foreign Minister, will paralyse decision-making.62

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Notes 1. Dewi Fortuna Anwar’s remarks during the discussion on her paper, “The Role of Indonesia in the Long-term Prospects of ASEAN”, presented at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 27 February 2004. 2. Author’s discussion with K. S. Nathan in Singapore in March 2004. 3. “Introduction”, in Non-Traditional Security Issues in Southeast Asia, edited by Andrew T. H. Tan and J. D. Kenneth Boutin (Singapore: Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, 2001), p. 2. 4. Jonathan Power, “Beyond Iraq, the world is enjoying rare peace”, International Herald Tribune, 18 November 2003. 5. Straits Times editorial, “ASEAN’s peace”, 8 March 2004. 6. Chin Kin Wah, “Southeast Asia in 2002: From Bali to Iraq — Co-operating for Security”, Southeast Asian Affairs 2003 (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2003), p. 9. 7. Author’s discussion with a former Director General of the Indonesian Foreign Office, in Singapore, October 2004. 8. Goh Chok Tong’s speech at the ASEAN Plus India Summit, Phnom Penh, November 2002. 9. Author’s discussion with Cambodian academics and officials in Phnom Penh, September 2004. 10. Deng Xiaoping’s remarks quoted in S. D. Muni, China’s Strategic Engagement with the “New ASEAN”, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Monograph No. 2 (Singapore: IDSS, 2002), p. 12. 11. Ibid., pp. 81–88. 12. Straits Times, “Manila and Beijing in defence accord”, 4 September 2004; see also Joint Press Statement of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, 3 September 2004, issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC. 13. Ho Khai Leong and Samuel C. Y. Ku, eds., China and Southeast Asia: Global Changes and Regional Challenges (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2005), pp. 28, 29, Table 2.4. 14. Straits Times, “PM Lee’s Taiwan message a diplomatic masterstroke”, 15 September 2004. 15. Straits Times, “China Envoy: Ties with Singapore fully restored”, 21 February 2005. 16. Author’s discussion with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi, September 2004; see also Muni, China’s Strategic Engagement, pp. 102, 109. 17. Straits Times, 28 February 2005. 18. Marvin Ott, “SE Asia must wake up to the rise of the dragon”, Straits Times, 8 September 2004. 19. Uday Bhaskar, “China–India–ASEAN relationship”, Radio Singapore International, www.archive.rsi.com.sg, 14 November 2002.

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20. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry, speech delivered at the India Forum organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, June 2004. 21. Condoleeza Rice, Testimony on 8 April 2004 before the U.S. National Commission enquiring into the September 11 terrorist strikes. Quoted in B. Raman, “Indo–US Relations: The Pakistan Factor”, www.saag.org. 22. G. Parthasarathy, “The New Strategic Salience of the Indian Ocean Region”, paper delivered at the Regional Outlook Forum organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 7 January 2004. 23. Straits Times, 4 February 2004. See also Indian Express, 4 February 2004. 24. Time magazine, “The Man who sold the Bomb”, 14 February 2005. 25. Straits Times, “Moro Rebels Sheltering JI Militants”, 6 April 2004. 26. “JI Arrests and the Threat of Terrorism”, White Paper issued by the Singapore Government, 7 January 2003. 27. John Gershman, “Is Southeast Asia the Second Front?”, Foreign Affairs 81, no. 4 (July/August 2002), p. 62. 28. B. Raman, “The Changing Trends in Southeast Asia”, paper delivered at a seminar at the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi, 10 March 2004. 29. Today (Singapore), “Threat to Cambodia: It could become ‘breeding ground’ for terrorism: UN official”, 26 October 2004. 30. UNHCR, News Archives, www.unrefugees.org, “Diplomat hurt as refugees attack Myanmar embassy in Malaysia”, 8 April 2004; see also Straits Times, “Myanmar Embassy in KL torched”, 8 April 2004. 31. Straits Times editorial, “Troubles in Thai South”, 2 February 2004. 32. “ ‘Southern Thailand Insurgents have no known connections with JI’ says Thai National Security Council official”, ISEAS Newsletter, Issue 1, January 2005. 33. Streats (Singapore), “KL slams Thaksin for rebel claim”, 20 December 2004. 34. Raman, “Changing Trends in Southeast Asia”. 35. Yashwant Sinha, former Indian Foreign Minister, at a lecture organized by the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Singapore, 26 August 2003. 36. Raman, “Changing Trends in Southeast Asia”. 37. The Hindu, “India and the Philippines Sign Extradition Treaty”, 14 March 2004. 38. Straits Times, 30 June 2005. 39. Yashwant Sinha, see note 35. 40. Straits Times, “Terrorism in India is a forgotten story”, 14 April 2004. 41. “ ‘Face of terror not true faith of Islam’ Bush declares”, President’s words from Islamic Center to Arab world, by Susan Baer and David L. Greene, Sun National staff, Baltimore Sun. Originally published 18 September 2001. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/custom/attack/bal.te.bush 18Sept.18,1,1631765story9,coll=/bal-attack-utility. Accessed on 28 September 2005.

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42. Pol. Col. Hkam Awng, Jt. Secretary, Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, Government of Myanmar, at the seminar on “Understanding Myanmar”, Yangon, 27–28 January 2004. 43. Press statement at the end of Prime Minister Thaksin’s visit to India, 28 November 2001. 44. R. Saran, “Mani for Oil”, India Today, 28 February 2005. 45. Straits Times, “Middle East oil at stake if Iran comes under attack”, 5 March 2005. 46. V. Suryanarayana, “Friendship Renewed”, Frontline 21, issue 22, 16–19 November 2004. 47. Gilles Boquérat, “India’s Confrontation with Chinese Interests in Myanmar”, in India and ASEAN: The Politics of India’s Look East Policy, edited by Frederic Grare and Amitabh Mattoo (New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2001), p. 168. 48. G. V. C. Naidu, “India and S.E. Asia: An Analysis of the Look East Policy”, paper presented at the seminar “India–ASEAN: Post-Summit Perspectives”, organized by the Centre for the Indian Ocean Studies, Osmania University, Hyderabad, 3–5 July 2003. 49. Business Line, 11 October 2003. 50. “Prime Minister praises India’s inclusion in TAC”, Vietnam News Agency, Hanoi, vnagency.com.vn, 9 October 2003. 51. P. S. Suryanarayana, “India can help Vietnam integrate with world economy”, The Hindu, 22 November 2004. 52. Andrew Tan, Force Modernisation Trends in Southeast Asia, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Monograph No. 59 (Singapore: IDSS, 2004). 53. “ASEAN Declaration on South China Sea, 1992”, ASEAN Secretariat website, www.aseansec.org. 54. Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, quoted to have said at the ARF meeting in Manila, 1998, as referred to by Kripa Sridharan, “The Contours of India’s Foreign Economic Policy and Its Trans-Regional Impact”, in India and ASEAN: The Growing Partnership for the 21st Century, edited by K. S. Nathan (Kuala Lumpur: Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, 2000), p. 81. 55. Barry Desker, “The Future of the ASEAN Regional Forum”, PacNet Newsletter no. 36, 7 September 2001. 56. Malla Prasad, “Political and Security Cooperation between ASEAN and India”, paper presented at the ASEAN–India Forum organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 9–10 February 2004. 57. Teo Chee Hean, Singapore Defence Minister quoted in “ARF states should stage joint drills”, Straits Times, 3 March 2005. 58. K. Natwar Singh, Indian Foreign Minister’s interview with Jakarta Post, 2 July 2004.

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59. CSCAP website at http://www.cscap.org. 60. Jaswant Singh, former Indian Foreign Minister, The Hindu, 11 November 2000. 61. C. V. Ranganathan and Vinod C. Khanna, India and China: The Way Ahead After Mao’s China War (New Delhi: Har-Anand, 2000), p. 164. 62. Straits Times, 25 June 2005.

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3 SEAS AS CONNECTING LINKS: SALIENCE OF THE INDIAN OCEAN AND PROSPECTS FOR MARITIME CO-OPERATION

Within a span of a few minutes on the fateful morning of 26 December 2004, the tsunami waves dealt a deadly blow to hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, and the physical landscape across several countries. In this regional catastrophe that brought about unprecedented death and misery, the stark reality of the oneness of the vast Indian Ocean region, and especially Southeast and South Asia, was driven home. The element of human security in the populous countries surrounding the Indian Ocean came into a sharp focus. The international community’s response to this tragedy was overwhelmingly spontaneous, sympathetic and supportive. The huge rehabilitation and reconstruction work in Aceh in Indonesia, the worst affected area, would continue for years. Other badly hit countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and India would also require massive reconstruction effort. Since the time of the disaster, India has been continuously engaged in meeting the enormous challenge of reconstruction in Tamil Nadu and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, largely with its own resources even as it immediately sent ships to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Indonesia and Thailand to assist these countries in relief work. In Sri Lanka and the Maldives, the Indian assistance was of critical value. The tragedy has shown how the destinies of the peoples of India and the neighbouring Southeast Asia are intertwined just as they had been for thousands of years in the past. It is no coincidence, therefore, that in India’s present Look East policy, the maritime issues constitute a principal dimension. The need for India to safeguard its defence and economic interests in the Indian Ocean region is based on many factors. India has a coastline of over 7,516 kilometres, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of

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2.172 million square kilometres, and a probable continental shelf, which is being demarcated, of more than 1 million square kilometres beyond the EEZ. To protect all these and the sea lanes of communication against pirates, terrorists, transnational crime and the spread of weapons of mass destruction call for a strategic view of the Indian Ocean as an area essential for its defence as well as development. Sardar K. M. Panikkar, a visionary Indian strategist, foresaw this way back in 1943. In his book The Future of Southeast Asia: An Indian View, he called for India and Southeast Asia to work out a “co-prosperity sphere” based on their interdependence and mentioned the need for a “common defensive system”.1 The co-operative security initiatives that India and Southeast Asian countries are today engaged in through networking and synergizing across a spectrum of political, diplomatic or economic relationships have the maritime connection as a sound basis. However, the Indian Ocean has not loomed large on ASEAN’s canvas, not comparable to the Pacific, at least in recent times. Perhaps it was because of the overwhelming presence of the United States in the Pacific region, the economic influence of Japan or the strategic importance of China. The Indian Ocean is also the least explored ocean, even though it has the largest concentration of naval forces, especially after September 11. As we look at the growing intertwining of interests and concerns of India and Southeast Asia in the contemporary geopolitical or geoeconomic context, it will be useful to see how the maritime interconnection between the two has had a long evolution.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND The historical ties between India and Southeast Asia are rooted in the maritime contacts across the Indian Ocean and the Malacca Strait, which date back to thousands of years. The forefathers of the people from India and Southeast Asia clearly did not regard the seas around them as dividing factors. Due to the long coastlines of their countries, they had developed maritime traditions and were adept at sailing the ocean and the seas around them for trade and business. Travel across the seas was the best means of communication, which was much developed before the European navigators started sailing around the world. This was prior to globalization becoming a universal phenomenon. Indian ships, not only from the east coast but also from faraway western coastal regions of Malabar and Gujarat, crossed the Indian

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Ocean to the fabled islands of Yawadwipa or Suvarnadwipa in pursuit of trade. They would travel to the Burmese ports and even further south, anchoring on the Kra peninsula. Goods from India would then be carried across the narrow stretch of land to the Gulf of Siam and onwards to the kingdom of Funan and beyond in the South China Sea. Indian ships sailed regularly through the Malacca Strait and travelled to the Vietnamese and Chinese ports. They seemed to have known the route to the islands of the present-day Indonesian archipelago very well. A Hindu king Moolvarman is said to have ruled in eastern Borneo (today’s Kalimantan in Indonesia) as early as in the fifth century A.D. A popular legend in Korea tracing the family line of the famous Kim families from Kimhae on the southern coast of Korea to an Indian princess who arrived in a ship from Ayodhya in India two thousand years ago suggests that Indian ships were travelling as far as to Korea in the east. In subsequent years, there were extensive contacts between the Kalinga, Pallava and Chola dynasties from east and south India with Burma, southern Siam, Malaya and the Srivijaya and Majapahit kingdoms of Sumatra and Java, all of which are well documented. “India and East Asia were the ‘greatest of all the world economies’ of the pre-industrial, pre-capitalist era.”2 So writes the historian Fernand Braudel. He went on to document that the “Far East” comprised three gigantic world economies: Islam, overlooking the Indian Ocean from the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf; India, whose influence extended throughout the Indian Ocean, both east and west of Cape Camorin; and China, at once a great territorial power and a maritime force, controlling the seas and countries bordering the Pacific.

Discussing the place of the “East Indies” he adds, “The logical confluence of trade, the crossroads lying at the centre of this super world economy could hardly be elsewhere than in the East Indies.” The sea-faring activity vigorously pursued for trade and commerce promoted in its wake infusion of the Indian religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata; Indian art and dance forms, music, language, textiles and architectural traditions. The Indianization of Southeast Asia which continued from the fourth century A.D. till as late as fifteenth century A.D. when Islamic thoughts and traditions also travelled from South India and Gujarat across the seas is a saga of IndoSoutheast Asian association and sociocultural synthesis. It is witnessed even today in myriad forms.

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How and why the maritime tradition so well developed in India rapidly declined, and crossing the seas became an anathema, a kind of religious transgression among the Hindus, is a mystery which has had implications for India’s defence in the subsequent period. Continuing invasions from northwest of India became a pattern of Indian history for over a millennium till the advent of the Europeans across the seas. By then the rulers as well as the trading communities of India had lost the sense of importance of the ocean around India as the principal means of communication and trade and also the defence imperative to guard India’s coastal frontier. From the time Portuguese adventurer Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut on the west coast of India in 1498 till the departure of the British in 1947, it was the colonial naval policy that dominated the defence as well as the mercantile policy thinking of India. During the seventeenth century, the Maratha king Shivaji showed the vision to build an indigenous navy and a chain of fortifications on the west coast of India. The Marathas were said to be “the first and perhaps the only to employ a navy; indeed, as the saying still goes Shivaji carried the capital of his empire on the high seas”.3 In the eighteenth century, the able admiral, Kanhoji Angre, created awe among the Portuguese, Dutch and British fleets, and also the Mysore ruler, Hyder Ali, invited French naval experts to develop a naval force. Earlier in the sixteenth century, Kunjali III had fought against the Portuguese. Other than these historical figures, there was hardly any indigenous effort in India to create a credible defence against the technologically advanced European naval powers. That India paid with its independence for this serious lapse and remained a colony for nearly two hundred years is well known. As Panikkar has reminded: In fact, it may truly be said that India never lost her independence till she lost the command of the sea in the first decade of the sixteenth century … With the islands of the Bay of Bengal properly equipped and protected and with a navy strong enough in its home waters, security can return to that part of the Indian Ocean which is of supreme importance to India. It need hardly be said that such an oceanic policy for India is possible only in the closest collaboration and association with the states of the Indian Ocean area.4

Even after such a bitter historical lesson, the main ingredient of India’s defence policy remained largely continental and land-based. In the initial years after the independence, governments in India did not seem to devote as much attention and funding to the development of a

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large and strong navy as it did in respect of the army. Pakistan’s attacks against India in 1947, 1965 and 1971 and that of China in 1962 were all across the land boundary. The Kashmir issue which has cast a shadow on India’s foreign policy and defence thinking for most of its postindependence period is land-based as also India’s defences against China along the mountainous boundary in the Himalayas. This inevitably necessitated strengthening the army and land forces along with the air force. It was only during the Indo–Pakistan war in 1971 that the Indian navy’s bombardment and blockade of the Karachi harbour dealt a blow to Pakistan’s economy and overall morale, thus resulting in hastening Pakistan’s surrender. Over the years, the Indian navy has undergone gradual expansion and modernization, both in terms of equipment and personnel skills, to come up as a credible force in the Indian Ocean. Today, the strength of the Indian navy stands at: 140 ships comprising one aircraft carrier, destroyers, DDGs, and frigates and corvettes as well as submarines plus aircraft and helicopters. The Coast Guard has ships, aircraft and helicopters. The proposed 15 year Ship Building Programme envisages a target of 185 ships by 2017. Aircraft carrier Gorshkov is expected to join the fleet by 2007. A 37,000t STOBAR Air Defence Ship designed by the Indian Naval Design Directorate has been ordered. It is hoped that the indigenous carrier will join the fleet in 2010. By 2017, if India’s economy continues to do well and can support the build up, the Indian Navy could possibly possess a three Carrier Battle Group Fleet with 20 MR aircraft, 50 potent helicopters, and 185 ships and submarines.5

Like India, Southeast Asia was also a victim of its neglect of maritime power from the time the Europeans started coming to the Southeast Asian islands, initially in search of spices and later other rich resources. Hailing primarily from an archipelagic setting, Southeast Asians have been well endowed with maritime and naval capabilities. The famous empires of Southeast Asia, namely, Srivijaya, Majapahit and Funan were mighty maritime powers. The inability of Southeast Asian powers to defend themselves successfully against the navigational technology of the Europeans or their military strength, including artillery, resulted in their losing control over strategic waterways and townships in a short span of time. It was extraordinary that the Portuguese took just over a decade to organize themselves on the west coast of India after Vasco da Gama’s arrival in Calicut in 1498 and to launch a

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campaign against the powerful Malaccan Kingdom in 1511. The fall of Malacca is indeed a historic event which marked the beginning of a long uninterrupted colonial rule in Southeast Asia which was to last for more than 400 years.

STRATEGIC INTEGRITY OF THE INDIAN OCEAN REGION In their naval strategy and campaigns, the European powers did not seem to make any distinction between the different regions, subregions or subsets of the Indian Ocean. The strategic integrity of the whole Indian Ocean region was recognized and kept in mind by the Portuguese in planning their Malacca campaign in 1511. Interestingly, it was also understood and practised even earlier by Chinese admiral Zheng He during the Ming dynasty.6 During his naval campaigns in the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean during 1405 to 1411, Zheng He had shown how under a powerful leadership and with a technologically advanced fleet the waters of the Indian Ocean stretching from the Malacca Strait to the Persian Gulf and the east coast of Africa could be commanded. Ifs and buts of history notwithstanding, the course of Western naval conquests across Asia might perhaps have turned out differently if the Chinese navy was not dismantled after 1433. In the nineteenth century, after their victories in India against the indigenous powers, the British using primarily the resources of India captured and colonized Malaya, Burma and made heavy inroads into China. Troops and weapons, goods and materials including opium were transported from India to Southeast Asia in ships built at the shipyards in India. The Europeans, especially the British, showed how the affairs of the countries in the Pacific were so closely linked to the Indian Ocean region through naval power. After securing the Indian Ocean as a virtual British lake by 1815, the British turned its attention to China and in a short span of time established its hold in Hong Kong and at the meeting point of the Pacific with the Indian Ocean, namely, Singapore. On the other hand, the reverse direction — from Southeast Asia towards India — was seen during World War II when the Japanese armed forces targeted India from the Southeast Asian theatre, and the eastern Indian Ocean region became the primary focus of the Japanese military activity. Some of the fiercest battles of World War II were fought on the India–Burma border. The Japanese had possibly calculated that their occupied possessions in Southeast Asia could be secured only after marching into India and defeating the British there.

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As previously stated, the strategic homogeneity or continuum of the whole region with its maritime connection extending from India to Southeast Asia to China is a reality that the nations of Asia cannot and should not ignore. This would be a valuable lesson from history even as the security scenario of the Asia-Pacific is examined in today’s context. It may be useful to keep in mind that the interests of the countries of the region would be better secured by creating suitable and co-operative arrangements among themselves (even if there is lack of cohesion between them) as the politico-security interests of extraregional powers might not always coincide with that of the countries of the region. Indeed, maritime issues present some of the most pertinent and opportune areas for cooperative security between Southeast Asia and India, given the factors of history, geography and the broad identity of these countries’ approaches to deal with questions of stability and peace. Co-operation among the navies of this region and India should get more institutionalized as the areas of mutual concern further converge.

SECURITY SCENARIO Even though the Vietnam war seemed to shift the strategic focus to the Pacific, the Great Power rivalry in the Indian Ocean remained intense after the United Kingdom ceded the Diego Garcia islands to the United States in the sixties and the Soviet Union began to take greater interest in the Indian Ocean from the Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. At the Lusaka non-aligned conference in 1970, India together with Indonesia, Singapore and Laos and some others agreed to exert special efforts for the adoption by the United Nations of the declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace free from all bases, military installations, and any other manifestation of great power presence in the context of great power rivalry. India also co-sponsored the UN General Assembly Resolution No. 2832 (XXVII), December 1972 in this regard.7 The General Assembly set up an Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean to study the implications of the declaration and consider practical measures to further it. The call in the United Nations by the non-aligned countries in which India and a number of Southeast Asian countries worked together for the proposal for the Indian Ocean to be a Zone of Peace and the adoption of the UN resolution to this effect in 1972 was a useful exercise to put pressure on the Great Powers. The oil crisis of 1973 further reinforced the necessity of keeping the Indian Ocean out of military tension and arms race.

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The 1970s and 1980s saw a period of turbulence in the Indian Ocean region especially with the Islamic revolution in Iran and the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. In the post-September 11 period, with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces deployed in Afghanistan and the continuing war in Iraq, the northern region of the Indian Ocean continues to be marked by instability and terrorism. The danger of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) persists. At the time of September 11, the Talibanized Afghanistan and Pakistan, run by a military regime, had emerged as epicentres of global terrorism. Even though in the last three to four years when President Musharraf’s government is seen to be engaged in a crackdown against Islamic fundamentalists and have arrested a few Al-Qaeda members, a number of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-inspired jihadis reportedly continue to live in Pakistan. G. Parthasarathy has stated: President Karzai of Afghanistan had told a Pakistani journalist in 2003, “We have one page where there is a tremendous desire for friendship (with Pakistan). But there is the other page of consequences if intervention continues, cross-border terrorism continues.” India has voiced similar concerns about support being rendered in Pakistan to groups linked to Bin Laden’s International Islamic Front like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad, that make no secret of their desire for jihad against India, the U.S. and Israel.8

Today, of all the oceans, the Indian Ocean region has the highest concentration of military forces. There has been a large-scale induction of the U.S. military hardware and armed personnel. The violence in Afghanistan and its border areas with Pakistan and the war in Iraq continue to impact on the security situation around the region. After the Iraqi election in January 2005, the situation had shown some signs of improvement; yet, it continues to be fragile with very frequent incidents of violence. Japan’s participation as a coalition partner in the Iraq war had been extended till the end of 2005. For the first time in the post-World War II period, the Japanese Self Defence Forces are serving combat duties abroad, and they are deployed in the Indian Ocean region. The political implications of the violent conflict in Iraq on the countries of the region, especially the Muslim-majority states like Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, have been significant, perhaps the most important being the strong anti-U.S. backlash. The U.S. action has been seen in several countries as anti-Islam. This has fuelled the jihadi sentiment further. The Middle East situation, which

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after the declaration of a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian authority in February 2005, is at a delicate stage and would be closely followed in the Islamic countries.

CHINA’S PRESENCE IN THE INDIAN OCEAN The question of China’s strategic presence in the Indian Ocean draws close attention of ASEAN countries as well as India. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) appears to have the capacity to operate far away in the Indian Ocean as well. In his book, John Garver mentioned that between 1985 and 1995: the PLAN doubled its complement of underway-replenishment ships, thereby substantially enhancing its ability to sustain operations at longer distances from Chinese ports… The anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and air defence capabilities of PLAN warships were substantially strengthened … China’s naval expansion has been considerably more intense than India’s.9

China’s naval projection as well as strategic interest in the Indian Ocean can also be served through the countries with which China has close ties. China has been engaged in assisting Pakistan, both in terms of equipment as well as finance, to build a major port at Gwadar near the Pakistan–Iran border. The first phase of the project was completed in January 2005, three months ahead of schedule. China had financed the building of the US$248 million port,10 which could help boost Pakistan’s naval capability as well as provide China with a support location near the strategically oil-rich region of the Persian Gulf. According to various studies, China had helped to build up the capacity of Myanmar’s armed forces following sanctions from Western countries against the Myanmar military regime. The Myanmar government’s search for economic and military support came at a time when China was exploring a convenient route to the Indian Ocean, especially for its southern provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan and Guangxi. With the asymmetrical economic development in China, which is concentrated on the coastal region, China was looking for a shorter access to the sea for its economically backward south and southwest regions in their foreign trade and business. The short land route through northern Myanmar provided a suitable option. Furthermore

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for China, the safety and security of the entry point to the Indian Ocean, namely, the Malacca Strait, appears vital as the bulk of China’s oil imports from the Gulf as well as its European trade passes through it. The Indian Ocean may rank lower than the Pacific in China’s priorities, but clearly appears to be an important area for China judging by the fact that China has been engaged with Myanmar for over a decade in supplying missile and patrol boats, modernizing or constructing port facilities at Kyapkyu, Sittwe, Hangyi, Yangon and Mergui.11 There are indications that access has been obtained by China to Myanmar’s Coco Island, north of Andaman Islands of India and a naval radar system for Myanmar’s Zadetkyi Island provided by China. This has been a subject of concern in India.12 India and ASEAN perceptions about the rising power of China may differ. However, both seem to ensure that their genuine security concerns are addressed even as they and China are in the process of building their bilateral relations. India’s engagement with China, especially in the economic field has expanded manifold. During the visit of China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to India in April 2005, the establishment of an India–China Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity was agreed to. It was also agreed to make joint efforts to increase the bilateral trade volume to US$20 billion or higher by 2008. The Joint Study Group recommended an India–China Regional Trading Arrangement.13 There is growing desire on the part of both to evolve an overall co-operative relationship. As for China and ASEAN, with the FTA signed in Vientiane during the ASEAN Summit in November 2004, the future of their relationship is seen more in terms of a vastly expanded economic partnership. Nevertheless, China’s strategic plans including in the naval field are likely to engage the attention of both Southeast Asian countries as well as India.

NON-TRADITIONAL MARITIME SECURITY ISSUES Non-traditional maritime security issues are also a major source of concern to the countries in the region. They include, for example, threats of maritime terrorism to the free and safe movement of international trade and energy (oil and natural gas) through the sea lanes of communications (SLOCs); growth in piracy; transnational crime involving arms-trafficking; and fears of movement of WMD. These are the areas

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where there is a growing convergence of concern between India and Southeast Asian countries and, hence, scope for co-operation.

Source of Energy Supplies in the Indian Ocean Energy, principally oil and natural gas, is a major asset of the countries in the Gulf region of the Indian Ocean. Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter of oil, and Iran, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates remain some of the biggest producers and exporters of oil and gas. Nearly 60 per cent of the global oil exports move through the first choke point in the Indian Ocean namely, the Straits of Hormuz, and subsequently through the Straits of Bab El-Mandab and Suez Canal to Europe; or through the Malacca Strait on the way to Japan, China, Korea and the west coast of the United States. On the latter route, the energy supplies go through the SLOCs near the Lakshadwip Islands and the Andaman and Nicobar islands of India. Singapore, at the southern end of the Malacca Strait is a key centre in the global oil scene. It is one of the world’s biggest oil hubs (after New York and London) and refining centres after Rotterdam and Houston. For the dynamic Northeast Asian economies of Japan, China and Korea, the Gulf oil is expected to remain the principal source of energy in the foreseeable period. It is estimated that the level of oil imports of China will increase to 340 million tonnes by 2010 and 440 million tones by 2020. In 2003, China overtook Japan to become the world’s second largest consumer and importer of oil after the United States. About 50 per cent of China’s oil imports come from the Gulf and 25 per cent from Africa. All of these is transported in tankers to China via Southeast Asian waterways. Nearly 60 per cent of ships passing by Singapore are currently either Chinese or conducting trade for China. For Japan and Korea, the Gulf oil is their lifeline and is expected to be so for the foreseeable future. India’s dependence on oil imports has gone up to nearly 70 per cent of its requirements, most of which comes from the Gulf. India has at the same time been trying to diversify its sources of oil and natural gas by entering into either joint venture production or long-term contracts with the Sudan, Sakhalin in Russia, Angola, Egypt, Iran and Venezuela as well as Vietnam and Myanmar in Southeast Asia. Of late, India’s own efforts, both through state-owned as well as private sector companies, for extracting oil and especially natural gas in the Bay of Bengal have

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yielded promising results. A significant step jointly taken by India, Myanmar and Bangladesh in January 2005 to agree to construct a gas pipeline from the Indo–Myanmar joint venture gas field in the Myanmar waters off the Rakhine coast to India through Bangladesh territory could mark the beginning of regional co-operation through oil and gas diplomacy. Similarly, a gas pipeline project from Iran to India passing through Pakistan is also under discussion. For Southeast Asian counties, too, the vagaries of oil and natural gas supplies can be a factor of uncertainty. Even though some of them are exporters of oil, this situation is not likely to last long. Forecasts suggest that Indonesia faces a large increase in oil imports in coming years.14 The Philippines is already heavily dependent on oil imports. Thailand has plans to build an oil pipeline across the narrow Kra Isthmus which will substantially reduce the cost and time of transportation of oil from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean.15 The Myanmar–Thailand gas pipeline in the Gulf of Martaban is an important source of gas to Thailand and revenue to Myanmar. Press reports indicate that China was considering a pipeline across Myanmar to Yunnan to ensure secure supply of the Gulf oil. It has been reported that: the Myanmar option is appealing, both politically and technically. When the entire eastern part of China fell into Japanese hands during the 2nd War, General Stilwell built the Stilwell Highway to bring supplies from Indian Ocean ports to the Chinese resistance movement.16

Multilateral Co-operation Arrangement for Oil Transportation Security The safety and security of the sea lanes in the Indian Ocean will be a core concern in the future for the countries from India to Southeast Asia and beyond, to China, Japan and South Korea. The question that would dog the minds of these countries even as they plan long-time co-operation in the form of ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+1 (with India) is how to ensure the energy security in and around the Indian Ocean region where various types of threats have grown in recent years. The continuing war in Iraq has further exacerbated the worries. As and when reconstruction starts in Iraq, the countries of Southeast and East Asia and India may get associated with such work. This could necessitate a series of shipments of construction materials to Iraq.

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As of now, there is no special arrangement apart from the guidelines laid down by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) with respect to the protection of international shipping. There is currently no provision for surveillance or tracking of ships (there are approximately 46,000 plying around the world at a given time) once they are on the high seas. This is unlike in civil aviation where the movement of every aircraft is known. How will states, therefore, ensure protection against future threats or dangers emanating from terrorists, pirates or other disruptive elements? Do importing countries need and should they seek additional protection? Is there any scope for a collective effort on part of the importing countries and the states that straddle the sea lanes? The imperative for maritime co-operation in the Indian Ocean arising out of the need for the safety of energy supplies for the importing countries can be a future basis in which both India and the countries in Southeast Asia can play an important role. A multilateral co-operative arrangement specifically meant for the security of energy supplies, namely, oil and LNG in the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean — from the Gulf through the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal and the choke point of the Malacca Strait to the South China Sea — could be conceived and jointly worked out among large oil consuming nations as well as major maritime powers such as Japan, China, Korea, Southeast Asia and India, along with the preponderant naval power, the United States, and Australia. India’s geographical location, which divides the northern Indian Ocean in the middle into the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, and the situation of its islands of Lakshadwip and the Andaman and Nicobar straddling the sea lanes from the Gulf to the Malacca Strait, puts it in a strategically advantageous position. From India’s newly expanded and upgraded base on the Andaman Island, called Fortress Andaman (FORTRON), the entire stretch of the entrance to the Malacca Strait is easily reachable. Similarly, Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore are located at the vantage points on the key straits such as the Malacca, Sunda and Lombok linking the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Co-operation of these Southeast Asian countries and India would, therefore, be central to any such arrangement. India’s own concerns for security of ships carrying oil from the Gulf countries, West Africa or the Sudan and Egypt to its ports on the west or east coast are considerable. It can be recalled that the terrorist incidents against the French oil tanker Limburg and the attack on the USS Cole

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took place in the waters near the Yemen coast and at Aden in Yemen respectively, in the northwestern part of the Indian Ocean. As in the case of oil and energy supplies, and also with mercantile trade, the need for safety of its movement in the Indian Ocean region presents a challenge. The threat of maritime terrorism poses a major danger to global trade.

Threat of Maritime Terrorism A major concern for Southeast Asia and India that has developed in recent years is the serious apprehension that terrorists may turn their attention to the sea, given the fact that countries have taken steps to increase land-based and aviation security. Considering the fact that nearly 80 per cent of global trade moves through the seas, this fear is not exaggerated. The extent of dislocation of mercantile traffic that could occur as a result of terrorist attacks on ships in narrow waterways or choke points like the Malacca Strait or major harbours of the world has been poignantly brought out in various studies. The attacks on USS Cole and Limburg, the hijacking of the ship Alondra Rainbow and the unearthing by the Singapore authorities of a plot in December 2001 of a terrorist threat to the U.S. military vessels in Singapore port are some major examples of the maritime threat faced today. According to a report by Aegis Defence Services, a London-based defence consultancy firm, suicide bombers might attack ships or terrorists may hijack vessels to crash into oil tankers near ports. With the centre of gravity of international terrorism shifting from the Middle East to Pakistan–Afghanistan, there appears to be confluence between groups located in the Asia-Pacific region and those in the Middle East. A quick look at the geography of the Asia-Pacific region indicates that terror hubs are located in the littorals: LTTE in Jaffna, Sri Lanka; Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Pakistan and Afghanistan; JI in Indonesia; the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, etc. According to military experts, future conflicts will take place in the littoral, i.e. where the sea meets land.17

International Trade: Vulnerability to Maritime Terror It is generally believed by officials in the United States, Asia and Europe that sea container shipping and its land links in the global supply chain

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are vulnerable to a major terrorist attack.18 One of the problems in this regard is that this sector is characterized by an extremely diverse international labour force and that crew members of ships belong to different nationalities. Both the Philippines and Indonesia are among the largest suppliers of merchant ship crew. These states are home to radical groups. Several terrorist organizations are known to have owned or chartered merchant ships.19 The container shipping industry, which is crucial for the global economy with about 90 per cent of cargo transported in containers, is extremely vulnerable to the threat of terrorism.20 The most dangerous possibility is that terrorists might use a powerful radiological bomb or even a nuclear explosive device, perhaps concealed in one of the containers.21 Concerned by fears of use of containers by Al-Qaeda, the U.S. administration implemented in January 2002 the Container Security Initiative which it calls “defence in depth”. Even employing conventional weapons, a terror attack using containers could paralyse trade by shutting down a major port which would cause other major ports worldwide to delay cargoes for security checks. There could be a maritime “spectacular” involving the simultaneous choking of key sea lanes that would throw world trade back to the dark days of pre-Suez 1869. Trade would be adversely blocked by the resultant prohibitive increase in insurance premiums or exclusion that would cover the area while security improvements are put in place. According to Mr Armstrong of Aegis Defence Services: As we know from 9/11, Al-Qaeda loves simultaneous attacks; but has not risked working in dramatically different time zones. As a result, the most likely combination would be attacks on the Straits of Malacca and the Suez Canal. An attack on any of the sea lanes would have a major disruptive effect on world trade.22

Ramifications of any maritime attacks in Southeast Asia will be significant and are being addressed by policy-makers. Over 25 per cent of global trade and 50 per cent of oil passes through the Straits of Malacca and other straits of Southeast Asia. There are a number of cases in recent years that point to a possible maritime attack by terrorists.23 It is to deal with such eventualities that governments began to take suitable steps. In Singapore, the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) had announced in October 2003 that any vessel not adequately protected against possible terrorist attacks would be barred from entering Singapore from July 2004. The MPA had aimed to have all Singapore-

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registered ships and port facilities fulfil the requirements of the security code by April 2004. On the global level, it has become evident that the twin objectives of trade facilitation and transport efficiency must be balanced with heightened security measures that addressed the system’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses.24 The first raft of measures had emerged in December 2002 from negotiations at the IMO in the form of the International Ship and Port Safety (ISPS) Code. This code enacted changes to the Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). The second set of measures were largely supplementary to the ISPS and had been developed and adopted by the government of the United States in response to its own analysis of the vulnerabilities of the maritime transport system. These measures were comprised of both mandatory and voluntary elements. The vulnerabilities are important and range from the possibility for physical breaches in the integrity of shipments and vessels to documentary fraud and illicit money-raising for terrorist groups. The costs of inaction are potentially tremendous. The maritime transport system is vulnerable to being targeted and/or exploited by terrorists. Most participants in the international maritime trading system seemed to agree that the recently enacted maritime security measures are desirable.25

Piracy Although piracy has been a hazard to maritime security from ancient times, its possible nexus with terrorism has been causing additional concern, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), while the number of pirate attacks dropped worldwide from 445 (in 2003) to 325 in 2004, there were more kidnappings in the Malacca Strait in 2004 than anywhere else in the world. In total, 36 crew members were kidnapped for ransom. The positive sign was that beefedup naval patrols in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore that started in July 2004 likely contributed to a decline in the number of attacks in the second half of the year, compared with the first six months.26

In the month of March 2005, there were two piracy incidents in the Malacca Strait within a period of one week in which sailors were taken hostage. Complex political reasons may be the cause for the inability to deal effectively with piracy. There is also the problem of a symbiotic

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relationship between insurgent groups as they feed one another. India is especially concerned of these spillover effects on the LTTE activities in its immediate vicinity.27 Any multilateral action has to respect each state’s territorial sovereignty and integrity, while each state polices its own waters. Given the high proportion of piracy incidents in Southeast Asia as compared globally, it, however, appears that the countries of the region may not be entirely able to handle the situation effectively without the co-ordination with or co-operation of other powers including Japan, the United States, India, Republic of Korea or Australia. Several instances of regional co-operation for the suppression of piracy can be cited. In 1999, the hijacking of the Japanese-owned ship (flying the Panama flag) Alondra Rainbow by pirates in the Indonesian waters and its successful capture in the Arabian Sea by the Indian Coast Guard after several days of chase brought home the seriousness of such crimes.28 A co-ordinated action by the Indian navy, the coast guard and the Anti-Piracy Centre in Kuala Lumpur demonstrated the need for co-operation among the regional navies and the Anti-Piracy Centre. Piracy has been an item on the ARF agenda. At subregional level, the multilateral grouping, BIMST-EC decided at its first summit in July 2004 to enlarge the scope of co-operation to include concerns such as piracy, terrorism and transnational crime. A regional effort to combat piracy is underway in the South China Sea, but due to limited budgets, overlapping jurisdictions, and lack of effective procedures, the co-operation is not very effective. Japan’s coast guard has undertaken joint exercises with its counterparts in Brunei, India, South Korea and Malaysia. A four-day anti-piracy meeting held in Tokyo in September 2003 involving ASEAN, Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Sri Lanka had produced a draft agreement on sharing of information, co-operation among national Maritime Safety agencies in maritime surveillance, and the establishment of a regional anti-piracy centre. National and regional efforts to control piracy are supported by the IMO and the IMB. The IMO has helped improve inter-ship communication systems including the Long Range International Tracking (LRIT) and the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and is currently developing the ISPS Code. It needs to be noted that although piracy is criminalized by Article 101 of the U.N. Conference on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), responsibility for the pursuit and punishment of pirates in international waters falls on national navies and national courts. The navies of all countries are entitled to seize a ship taken by pirates and

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arrest them according to UNCLOS. At present the prosecution of pirates, however, depends on national courts, the rulings of which vary considerably.29

Dealing with the Challenges of Maritime Terrorism The threat of maritime terrorism in Southeast Asian countries, through which waters trade, oil and LNG are moved daily, is likely to grow in the coming years. Against this backdrop, there is an imperative need for confidence-building among the navies and coast guards of the countries of the region, as well as for enhancing their capacity for securing the sea lanes. Southeast Asian navies and coast guards have in recent years been engaged in developing better communication and contact with the navies of the neighbouring countries, either bilaterally or through regional networking arrangements or multilateral security forum like the ARF. The accent is on promoting mutual contacts, familarization with each other’s institutional structures and information sharing. After the tsunami catastrophe, the armed forces of Indonesia have developed excellent functional contacts with their counterparts from a number of countries. The role played by the Singapore armed forces in making a significant and timely contribution for providing relief won appreciation from the Indonesian leadership as well as the military. Military-to-military relationship between the United States and Indonesia has shown improvement following the massive assistance provided by the U.S. armed forces to Indonesia in the wake of the tragedy. The MILAN (a Hindi word for get-together) exercise conducted annually by the Indian navy as an initiative in co-operative maritime security at the Fortress Andaman headquarters since 1995 has helped to create better understanding and interpersonal connection between the senior navy and coast guard officers of the Indian Ocean countries through useful exchanges on issues of ocean governance, environmental management, piracy and terrorism and disaster at sea. Similarly, the anti-piracy workshop and seminars organized by India under the InterSessional Group meetings of the ARF in 2001 and 2002 have helped to enlarge mutual knowledge on the issue and promote understanding. Real “at sea” co-operation in the suppression of piracy has, however, still lagged behind despite the ARF’s efforts in that regard. Southeast Asian governments have already begun to address the issue of maritime terrorism through bilateral co-operative arrangements

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with neighbouring countries. For example, the Singapore Government is clearly attaching high priority to security, especially the prevention of maritime terrorism, in its relations with India. In his speech to the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi in October 2003 the Singapore Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean had spoken of the high and common stakes in this regard. The defence co-operation agreement signed during his visit to Delhi was a logical step forward given the similar security threats which the two countries face. The editorial in the Straits Times called on Singapore and India, which have engaged in joint naval exercises and carried out joint anti-piracy exercises near the straits, to work together to ensure that sea lanes were safe to use.30 Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Tony Tan had called for associating regional navies like India’s along with that of the littoral states like Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia in the Malacca Strait.31 As reported by the Indian newspaper, The Hindu, Malaysia’s Naval Chief Admiral Dato Seri Mohd Anwar during his visit to Delhi in September 2004 stressed on holding more joint exercises between the two countries and training by India of its naval personnel. Indian naval and coast guard warships are likely to resume patrolling of the strategic Malacca Strait along with other navies of the region shortly. The participation of the Indian navy was among the topics discussed during the visit.32 During his meeting with India’s Prime Minister in Vientiane on the occasion of ASEAN summit on 29–30 November 2004, Indonesian President Bambang Yudhoyono sought defence co-operation from India and emphasized on maritime security, joint patrolling in the seas and suggested an institutionalized arrangement.33 It would be useful if the ASEAN–India agenda continue to put stress on the subject of maritime co-operation as a priority item of mutual interest. A comprehensive programme which will deal with terrorism on the seas can be drawn up. For that purpose, the ideas which the IMO has proposed and also the initiatives which other countries including the United States had put forth can be considered. Given the fact that this issue affects all countries in the region, and also outside powers, the various stake-holders such as governments, private business, ship-owners and port-workers would need to come together in drawing up feasible mechanisms which will also take into account the sensitivities of the countries concerned.

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Mechanism of “Distance Support” In the consideration of measures to combat maritime terrorism, perhaps a mechanism of “distance support” in the SLOCs in the Indian Ocean might be found useful by the navies and coast guards of Southeast and South Asian countries. Under such arrangement, information about the location of a ship, crew, the nature of cargo and destination could be exchanged between the shipping authorities of the countries concerned. This would be useful to provide assistance if any ship were under the threat of attack by terrorists or pirates. Under this arrangement, the movement or location of a ship in a SLOC will be kept under close observation. Technological inputs such as the LRIT and AIS would be helpful for the purpose. If the ship did not reach a certain destination on scheduled time or was facing trouble on account of attacks by terrorists or pirates, necessary help could be made available. Today, once a ship leaves the territorial waters and enters the high seas its accurate movement is difficult to trace. With its naval facilities on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Lakshadwip Islands and the naval and coast guard installations on the east and west coasts, India may be well placed to provide such distance support to countries in Southeast Asia. This could form a major plank of maritime co-operation. In the recent tsunami disaster, Indian naval ships reached Sri Lanka and the Maldives within a very short time. Indian ships including a medical ship were also sent to Indonesia and Thailand. A kind of distance support was provided to the tsunamiaffected countries by the navies of several countries including India.

International Initiatives Post-September 11, there have been several initiatives, both multilaterally by the IMO or by individual countries to deal with the issue of maritime terrorism. Given the geostrategic importance of the Malacca Strait and the SLOCs in the Indian Ocean, these measures bear direct relevance to Southeast Asia and India.

IMO Maritime Security Measures The IMO adopted a set of maritime security measures for ships and port facilities at its Diplomatic Conference in December 2002. These measures are contained in the amendments to the Convention on SOLAS and the

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ISPS Code, which came into force on 1 July 2004. The ISPS Code is comprehensive in its application, covering all passenger ships, cargo ships of above 500 tonnage, mobile offshore drilling units and port facilities serving such ships.

Container Security Initiative The Homeland Security Act and the Container Security Initiative (CSI) were immediate responses in the United States to deal with the threat of maritime terror. While the Homeland Security Act empowers the U.S. authorities to inspect any ship approaching the U.S. ports 500 miles from the shore with regard to its cargo, the CSI, first announced in January 2002, provides a layered screening system that would extend the American borders outwards to ports from which American imports originate. Singapore was the first port in Asia to subscribe to this Initiative in September 2002. Malaysia has also joined the CSI. By the end of 2003, the CSI was operational in at least sixteen major ports of Asia, Canada and Europe. Following China’s agreement in September 2003 to join the CSI, U.S. customs inspectors were allowed into its ports. India, which had not formally joined the CSI until 2005, had entered into negotiations with the United States. Talks have continued, and given India’s own concerns about container security, India’s participation in the CSI is expected to be confirmed.

Regional Maritime Security Initiative There have been several initiatives principally by the United States to combat maritime terrorism since September 11. Reaction to these initiatives by other countries has mainly centred on the assessment of their own hardcore interests and their perception/apprehension of interference by the United States in their national jurisdiction. Testifying before the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on 31 March 2004, the U.S. Pacific Command in-charge Admiral Fargo in a response to a question if the United States had the resources to pursue a regional initiative with Southeast Asian countries to curb piracy, terrorism and transnational crime in the Malacca Strait, had stated that the U.S. military was looking at putting special operation forces on highspeed vessels to conduct effective interdiction in those sea lanes of communications.34 Fargo’s remarks created a storm in Southeast Asia.

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While Singapore favoured joint action with the United States and Japan to undertake the complex and enormous task of protecting the sea lanes against maritime terrorism, other littoral states, namely, Malaysia and Indonesia, strongly rejected it, raising the issue of sovereignty and maintained that the Strait was within their territorial waters and hence under their jurisdiction and that they were capable of handling any terrorist threat on their own.35 Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib ruled out the idea of U.S. involvement in the straits while suggesting that specific areas of co-operation and collaboration can be identified, but not in terms of interdiction and intervention.36 The Indonesian military chief General Endriartono Sutarto also said that co-operation with other countries including the United States was possible but only in the form of intelligence exchanges, joint training and capacity enhancement.37 The Singapore Defence Minister, while stating that the primary responsibility lay with the three (Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia), said that what was in place was not adequate to safeguard the regional waters and therefore multilateral co-operation to enhance security in the waterway would have to be undertaken within the bounds of international law.38 Other ASEAN states, like Vietnam, also did not favour a special role for the United States in the security of the Malacca Strait. After considerable debate, this issue seemed temporarily resolved with the three littoral states forming a joint all-year-round patrolling mechanism called MALSINDO. Under this, each of the three countries would deploy five to seven corvettes to strengthen their regular patrols and a task force composed of forces from each country would operate under their national commands. The United States in the meanwhile clarified that it did not plan to unilaterally deploy American forces to provide security in the Malacca Strait. The U.S. recognizes that the littoral states along the straits — Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia — have special rights and responsibilities for maintaining the security of the straits; each participating nation will define how much, if any, RMSI activity will take place within its waters.39

The issue of security in the Malacca Strait and the question of its responsibility has engaged the attention of not only the United States and the littoral states, but also major regional powers including China, India and Japan which have stakes in a secure and safe strait. In the view of a Chinese academic:

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many in China are concerned that RMSI will exceed the right of transit passage, encroach upon the sovereignty of its coastal states and evidently contravene the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea… It is doubtful whether the RMSI is designed to block China’s energy channel and China’s economic development… China hope that related countries could establish a mechanism in the Strait through consultation and cooperation with the Strait’s coastal states within the framework of the U.N. Convention or the Law of the Sea to guarantee the Straits’ security.40

The Japanese who are supportive of the U.S. role in the Malacca Strait suggest a somewhat different view at the non-official level. According to a Japanese scholar, the ASEAN solidarity against interventions by outside powers should play an important role. The best way for the ASEAN countries to check unwanted interventions by any external power (the United States, China, Japan, India and possibly Korea) would be to invite them, which would put ASEAN governments in the driver’s seat when it comes to multilateral security co-operation in the Strait: outside powers would play supporting roles and leave enforcement to the littoral states themselves.41 Interestingly, there are calls for Japan to be a more active player in the international co-operation to fight maritime terrorism. It is in Japan’s interest to be more deeply engaged in combating terrorism in Southeast Asia as its people and assets abroad are declared targets of attack by Al-Qaeda and its affiliates.42

India has taken the position that it will be willing to provide naval support in the Malacca Strait if specifically asked for. It was on this basis that India had agreed to joint patrolling in the Malacca Strait when requested by the United States to provide help as a member of the coalition in the global war on terrorism. India did that by extending protection to high-value assets including tankers from possible terrorist attacks during the Operation Enduring Freedom for a period of six months from April to September 2002 and by safeguarding the U.S. noncombatant and merchant ships transiting the Malacca Strait, which freed U.S. Navy ships for missions in that war.43 Singapore had supported India’s participation while Indonesia and Malaysia were consulted. In response to a question whether India was willing to co-operate with Southeast Asian countries to provide security in the strait, India’s Foreign Minister K. Natwar Singh said during his visit to Jakarta to attend the ARF meeting on 2 July 2004 that it was in his country’s

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interest to ensure that the strait remained a crime-free lane, and the answer from India is affirmative. “Such co-operation is not new for India. We are neighbours. Nicobar Island and the northern part of Sumatra are only 80 miles apart. And the Malacca Strait is equally important strategically. And the answer is yes”.44 After the controversy that the proposed RMSI stirred in Southeast Asia, it is unlikely that non-littoral countries or non-regional powers will be invited or associated with the security initiative in the Malacca Strait, at least in the near future. However, for a long-term secure arrangement, the involvement of countries outside the littoral, but which are in the proximity of the Malacca Strait might be useful and perhaps necessary. In that case, India would be a right and credible partner for Southeast Asian countries. India’s participation would be advantageous given India’s proximity, capacity and willingness to play a helpful role whenever necessary. Already, India and Indonesia had conducted in 2002 coordinated naval patrols off the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal to check poaching, smuggling and drug trafficking. Similarly, co-ordinated patrols between the Thai and Indian navies were also envisaged with a view to checking arms and drug trafficking, terrorism and illegal fishing. Besides, co-ordinated patrols, training and technical assistance from India could be useful if littoral states plan to set up a regime to secure the SLOCs in the Malacca Strait. This would be another assurance to the countries adjoining the strait. It might be a mutually supportive measure especially since geographically India is at the entry point to the Malacca Strait. In multilateral terms too, “the formulation of a RMSI involving India and the ASEAN navies should further synergise the prevalent India-ARF ties.”45

Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) In the context of concerns over maritime terrorism, the one initiative that has met with strong reaction for its extra-legal and unilateral provisions is the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Among the various proposals or initiatives that the United States has taken after September 11 includes the PSI, which was announced by President Bush on 31 May 2003 in Krakow, Poland. As the term PSI denotes, it is aimed at stopping proliferation of WMDs including nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or materials as well as missiles through unilateral preventive measures of interdiction. The PSI also calls for the collection

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and sharing of intelligence relating to WMDs which are transported by illegal shipments. So far sixteen countries have joined this initiative. Singapore and Japan are the only two from Asia. The principal objection voiced by several countries is that this initiative violates one of the basic principles of international law, namely, the freedom of navigation on the high seas. They do not accept that some countries can assume the right to stop a ship on the high seas or interdict its cargo on the grounds that it has WMD-related contents. Furthermore, it is feared that under the PSI, certain specific countries that are not friendly to the PSI coalition could be targeted. At the same time, however, most countries are opposed to the clandestine proliferation or dissemination of nuclear and missile materials by a small number of countries. The United Nations has not recognized this initiative so far. China has not formally joined the PSI. India’s former Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha, at a press conference with former U.S. Secretary of State on 16 March 2004 had said that: “India will discuss PSI at official level and see how India could engage in the full process.” On 13 May 2005, the Indian Parliament passed the Bill on Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities). The Bill illustrates India’s abiding commitment to prevent nuclear proliferation. India’s system of export controls remained under continuous review. The strict regulation of external transfers and tight controls to prevent internal leakages should give confidence to international community.46

India may have legal constraints with regard to PSI membership. On the other hand, India’s views on some of the objectives of the PSI are not dissimilar. India stands firmly against the proliferation of WMDs. India itself was severely affected by their clandestine proliferation and has concerns in this regard.

ADDRESSING NON-TRADITIONAL MARITIME SECURITY ENVIRONMENT Just as the security of transportation of energy supplies such as oil and LNG forms an important plank of maritime co-operation between Southeast Asia and India, so should environmental security. The SLOCs in the region are the channels through which nearly 60 per cent of the global oil supplies pass. Fifty super-tankers traverse between the

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Lakshadwip and Andaman Islands every day. In 2020, the number of tankers traversing this path is estimated to be between 150 and 200 daily, carrying oil valued at US$180 billion annually.47 The dimension of environmental hazard by any disaster at sea or oil spill can be visualized by these estimated volumes. It would, therefore, be highly useful that Southeast Asian countries and India share information and expertise about environmental dangers including possible oil spill disasters. So far, the technologies with regard to such environmental issues were primarily available with developed countries and oil multinationals. However, over the years, some Southeast Asian countries and India have developed technological skills in this field. Pooling of these skills and expertise by India and Southeast Asia can create a useful technology fund for common use. India and Southeast Asia are home to distinctive marine life, fauna and flora. Preservation of this heritage becomes a common responsibility as their environment is indivisible and interdependent. A dialogue between the two, both at governmental as well as civil society level, is necessary to widen that awareness and create common stakes in nurturing their shared environment.

ROLE OF THE NAVIES: PROMOTING MARITIME SECURITY IN THE REGION The navy can be a powerful instrument in the projection of foreign policy as has been the case in many situations in the past. As seen earlier, Western colonialism had extensively used navy in its expansion in Asia and elsewhere. Today, in the context of a new phenomenon of globalization of terror including maritime terror, navies have the potential to play a different but a positive role in effectively addressing this menace. On the Southeast Asian scene where several naval powers interact all the time this would be highly pertinent. Admittedly, following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the situation of Great Power rivalry in the Indian Ocean has subsided. The U.S. military and naval preponderance in the region is unchallenged. The French have their Indian Ocean fleet. The scale of the British and Russian naval forces in the region is limited. China’s navy is on its way to be a blue water navy in the western Pacific, and China is said to be expanding its naval activity in the region.48 The Indian navy is a littoral

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maritime power in the northern Indian Ocean area. The naval forces of Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Myanmar are also being expanded and upgraded. Any contribution that the Indian navy can make to maritime security and co-operation in the Indian Ocean region, besides its capacity and strength, will be largely dependent on its perception among the countries of the region and the confidence-level it enjoys with their navies. The perception of Southeast Asian countries about India’s naval activities in the Indian Ocean had in the past been largely influenced by the Cold War attitude or the state of overall bilateral relationship with India. In the mid-eighties, certain circles in Indonesia were disturbed by press reports that India was planning to build a naval base on the Great Nicobar Island. The Far Eastern Economic Review in its 15 May 1986 issue mentioned that the Indian decision to build this base “underlines India’s drive for a multi-role blue-water navy” in the vicinity of the Straits of Malacca.49 A day prior to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Jakarta in October 1986, there were press reports quoting General Hartas, Commanding General of Diponegoro Command, that Soviet submarines were roaming in Indonesian waters around Sabang and that they came from the Indian base in Nicobar Island.50 These reports were denied by the Indian Government. At around that time, fears were also expressed in Australia about reports of India’s plans of creating a “blue water navy” with operational capacity far beyond India’s shores. Speculation about India’s major naval expansion proved unfounded as the Indian defence budgets in the late eighties did not make any such provision. Today, a decade and half later, the Indian navy appears more acceptable and better prepared to contribute to peace and security in the Indian Ocean region.

INDIA’S JOINT NAVAL EXERCISES: A CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURE The joint exercises carried out by the Indian navy for nearly a decade with the navies of East Asian countries including South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and most recently with China have opened new possibilities for co-operation in anti-piracy, disaster relief and rescue operations, and security of sea lanes. The first-ever visit of three Indian naval ships to the Shanghai port and exercises with the Chinese navy in

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November 2003, after being suggested by India as early as 1992, might have been largely symbolic; but it had important political significance. That the Chinese agreed for this exercise within a month of Pakistani naval ships’ exercise off Shanghai was also beyond just a coincidence. From 1999, Indian naval ships have visited the Philippines and Vietnam to develop bilateral relationship and naval contacts with the countries in the South China Sea. There was a visit to the Philippines in October 2004 and to Vietnam in November 2004. They have also paid visits to ports in Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. With Singapore, eleven exercises have been held in Kochi, Kerala since 1994. During the visit of six Indian naval ships to Singapore in February–March 2005, the Indian Navy (IN) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) conducted a bilateral Exercise SIMBEX 05 from 24 February to 3 March 2005. The IN and RSN have extensive co-operation dating back to 1994 when the exercises were started primarily with Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) focus. The scope and complexity of these exercises have increased over the years and the exercises now include other disciplines like Maritime Interdiction, Air Defence and Gunnery aspects also.51 The goodwill visit of the Indian aircraft carrier Virat and four ships to Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia in July 2005 was an important goodwill event in the Indian navy’s continuing efforts to establish closer contacts with their counterparts in Southeast Asia. The United States appears to have recognized a strategic role for India in the Indian Ocean. The U.S. National Security Strategy unveiled by President Bush in 2002 displayed for the first time a new understanding of the potential for co-operation. The strategy stated: The United States has undertaken a transformation in its bilateral relationship with India based on a conviction that U.S. interests require a strong relationship with India. We are the two largest democracies, committed to political freedom protected by representative government. India is moving to economic freedom as well. We have a common interest in the free flow of commerce, including through the vital sea lanes of the Indian Ocean. Finally we share an interest in fighting terrorism and in creating a strategically stable Asia.52

The U.S. National Security Strategy can provide a basis for India and the United States to work together for strategic stability in the Indian Ocean region.

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In recent times, the U.S. and Indian navies have conducted the “Malabar” exercises off the coast of Kerala in the Arabian Sea. There had been exercises between the U.S. and Indian armies in Alaska and near Agra and in the northeast state of Mizoram in India. The two air forces exercised together in 2003 at Gwalior in central India. This should be assuring to the countries of Southeast Asia that India has also begun to interact and co-operate with the United States in strategic areas in and around the Indian Ocean region. It is important to note that some of the Southeast Asian countries are either formally aligned to the United States in security arrangements or receive U.S. military assistance or protection. For example, the Philippines and Thailand have formal security ties with the United States. With Indonesia, the U.S. military contacts had remained at a low level for over a decade for alleged human rights violations in East Timor. They had already begun to improve after President Yudhoyono was elected in October 2004. After the tsunami disaster, the U.S. military had been engaged in a major relief and rehabilitation effort in Aceh in Indonesia, which received appreciation from the Indonesian authorities and people. In the context of the present situation in the Indian Ocean, what is the role expected of the navies of littoral countries — either singly or in co-operative arrangements with the countries of the region or even with the navies of extraregional powers? No doubt, defence as the primary function of all navies would continue to be their main responsibility. Indirectly, they are also contributing to socioeconomic development by providing security to trade and oil transportation. As for the Indian navy, it is also engaged in safeguarding and promoting India’s economic interests in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and in the Indian Ocean region. After all, most of the trade is sea-related, and this includes energy transportation and oil and gas exploration in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The successful goodwill visits to neighbouring countries and joint exercises that the Indian navy has conducted over a period with the navies of Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, South Africa, Japan, South Korea and China suggest that the Indian navy can play a co-operative role with a number of countries. In 2002, the Indian navy was called upon to provide security in Mauritius’s exclusive economic zone. Indian naval ships were anchored off the Mozambique capital, Maputo, when the Organization of African Unity (OAU) conference was being held there in 2003. In future, the navy can be

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associated in the common and huge task of maritime security which would need to be addressed jointly through co-operation. The vulnerability to the threat of terrorism could act as an immediate impulse to consider joint arrangements.

INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF MARITIME CO-OPERATION: THE NEED FOR A NEW MANTRA Co-operation among leading navies of the world is already on the increase. In the next decade or so it could get more and more institutionalized. There is a growing convergence on the main areas of concern — governments and people of Southeast Asia and India are all against terrorism, piracy, transnational crime, drug smuggling, human trafficking and illegal fishing. So also are their navies and coast guards. A spirit of coalition is therefore automatically developing irrespective of other differences they may have. The seas are unique. Beyond twelve miles of territorial waters there is international freedom. Seas are, thus, unowned, without borders and without requirements of visa. So far, it is only on the high seas that there is no issue of sovereignty. Much of Southeast Asia is either archipelagic or with long coastlines. For India, which has a coastline of 7,516 kilometres and a total of 1,197 island territories in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, the seas around it offer excellent opportunities for co-operation and to serve as invaluable links.

INDIA’S MARITIME DOCTRINE The deteriorating security situation in the Indian Ocean region in recent years seemed to have prompted the Indian Government to come out with a Maritime Doctrine. In April 2004, for the first time India enunciated a maritime doctrine in which the Indian navy stressed the need for a submarine-based credible minimum nuclear deterrence (MND) capability that is “inexorably linked” to India pursuing an independent foreign policy posture and “if India is to exude the quiet confidence of a nation that seeks to be neither deferential nor belligerent”. Through the Maritime Doctrine, the Indian navy is endeavouring to project power through reach and multiply it through sustainability across “its legitimate areas of interest” stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Malacca Strait.53 The authors of the maritime doctrine had the Look East policy in mind since

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it highlighted the need to build co-operative maritime security with the countries on the Indian Ocean littoral with regard to common tasks and challenges, including safe flows of trade and energy as well as threats of terrorism, piracy or transnational crime while expanding bilateral and multilateral interaction through joint exercises, joint patrolling and antiterror operations. In that way it could complement for a sufficient support to the navies of the U.S., U.K., France, Australia, Japan operating in the Indian Ocean while in a reassuring sense provide co-operative naval support in the transnational maritime roles to the navies of ASEAN. The accent of India’s Look East policy is articulated in the Indian Naval Doctrine that seeks the nurture of co-operative maritime security while reserves the right to legitimately address its genuine threat perceptions.54

PROSPECTS FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION Just as in maritime security, there is a great deal of potential for India and Southeast Asia to co-operate in maritime economic co-operation, be it in the fisheries, fossil fuels and natural gas, sea-bed minerals or even tourism. The EEZs of India and the Southeast Asian countries on the littoral of the Bay of Bengal remain largely untapped so far. Modern technology offers innumerable opportunities for the exploitation of marine natural resources.

FISHERIES India and Southeast Asian nations are major fishing countries. While India ranks seventh in fish production, Thailand is recognized as having the fifth largest trawling fleet in the world. In Indonesia and Malaysia, too, harvesting of marine products is an important activity. While the scope for expanding co-operation in this field is being considered in bilateral or subregional context (as in BIMST-EC which is discussed in Chapter 4) it will be necessary to refer to illegal fishing as an important transnational security issue not only within Southeast Asia, but also with India. The incidents of fishermen of the neighbouring countries, Myanmar, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand caught for crossing into Indian waters for illegal fishing are numerous. Similarly, Indian fishermen are also apprehended and detained in some of the neighbouring countries on similar grounds. In such situations occurring

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out of poverty, ignorance of the exact location of the other country’s waters, or in some cases, through deliberate attempts of illegal fishing activity, fishermen become hostage to the larger political issues between the countries of the region. The security implications of illegal fishing have contributed to and become interactive with both threat perceptions and naval modernization. Three countries of Southeast Asia, namely, Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia have been involved in naval modernization partly to replace obsolete equipment but also to enhance maritime surveillance… The potential for illegal fishing to lead to large-scale conflict should not be discounted.55

It is important to address this human problem so as to remove an avoidable problem between countries of Southeast Asia and India in promoting co-operative security in the maritime field. Another concrete area of developing maritime economic co-operation would relate to joint activity of oil and natural gas exploration and exploitation in the Bay of Bengal between countries of Southeast Asia and India. As stated earlier, this region is one of the least explored regions. Lately, the Indian public as well as private sector companies and foreign firms have explored oil and gas in the Krishna and Godavari basins. Thailand and Myanmar have a joint gas project in the Gulf of Martaban. India’s Oil and Natural Gas Commission (Videsh) and Myanmar have undertaken exploration of gas in the Shwe gas field off the Rakhine coast where promising deposits have been discovered. As already referred to, a bold approach has been adopted by Myanmar, Bangladesh and India by signing an agreement in January 2005 to construct a gas pipeline from Myanmar to India through Bangladesh. It will be a winwin situation for all three. More of such joint projects can be feasible in the future. This will largely depend upon the assurance of stability and security in the region. It is through better understanding and co-operation among the states surrounding the Bay of Bengal that this can be achieved.

THE NEED FOR ACTIVATION OF THE IOR–ARC The developments since September 11 and the tsunami disaster of 26 December 2004 have once again brought to the fore the imperative need to look at the various issues of economic and human security through the prism of a joint approach and co-operation. A visionary

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effort was initiated about a decade ago when a small group of Indian Ocean countries came together to set up an association for regional cooperation in the Indian Ocean. Since its beginning in 1995, the membership of the Indian Ocean Rim–Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR–ARC) has expanded from six to nineteen. In terms of progress towards trade expansion or economic co-operation, however, it has moved little. Perhaps the approach of open regionalism followed in the IOR–ARC has not been sufficient enough in setting specific benchmarks for trade liberalization and investment promotion. More importantly, there was evident lack of political will on the part of the participants to forge ahead. A fresh impetus to activate this association with a modified mandate is called for, which is indeed opportune in the present circumstances.

THE TSUNAMI: A REMINDER TO THE INDIAN OCEAN REGION TO CO-OPERATE The most extraordinary maritime shock in the form of the tsunami disaster in December 2004 not only made the countries of South and Southeast Asia conscious of the need to put in place a technical warning system for any future occurrence, but also to jointly think of their common destiny. The affected countries like Thailand and India have announced their intention to set up warning systems on their own, which could be shared by the countries of the Indian Ocean region, while a number of developed nations have offered technology and the necessary funds. The remarks of Indonesian President Yudhoyono at the end of a conference convened in Jakarta on 6 January 2005 that “it is not just the technology and equipment, but education, co-ordination and co-operation which will be necessary to meet the challenge” will continue to resonate as a poignant and apt message to everyone in the region and beyond.

Notes 1. Sardar K. M. Panikkar, The Future of Southeast Asia: An Indian View (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1943), p. 16. 2. Fernand Braudel, The Perspective of the World, vol. 3, Civilisation and Capitalism, 15–18th Century (Collins/Fontana Press, 1985), pp. 484–535. 3. Jaswant Singh, Defending India (Chennai: Macmillan India Ltd, 1999), p. 76.

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4. Sardar K. M. Panikkar, “An Essay on the Influence of Sea Power on Indian History”, in India and the Indian Ocean (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1945), pp. 7, 15. 5. Ranjit Rai, “Indian Navy in the 21st Century”, Asia Focus (Naval Forces) 6, 2003. 6. Also spelt as Cheng Ho. See Gavin Menzies, 1421: The Year China Discovered America (New York: Perennial, 2002). 7. Ramesh Dixit, Southeast Asia in Indian Policy: Problems of Relationship with a Neighbouring Region (New Delhi: Radha Publications, 1998), p. 65. 8. G. Parthasarathy, “The New Strategic Salience of the Indian Ocean Region”, paper presented at the Regional Outlook Forum organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, January 2004. 9. John Garver, Protracted Contest: Sino–Indian Rivalry in the Twentieth Century (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2001), pp. 284, 287. 10. Yahoo! India News, Indo Asian News Service, 31 March 2005. 11. Garver, Protracted Contest, p. 265; also Andrew Selth, “Burma’s China Connection and the Indian Ocean Region”, paper presented at the conference on “India and the Emerging Geopolitics of the Indian Ocean Region” organized by Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, 19–21 August 2003, p. 3. 12. S. D. Muni, China’s Strategic Engagement with the “New ASEAN”, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Monograph No. 2 (Singapore: IDSS, 2002), p. 85. 13. Joint Statement of the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China, 11 April 2005, on the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to India from 9 to 12 April 2005. Available from www.meaindia.nic.in. 14. Financial Times, “Indonesia considers leaving OPEC as domestic crude oil output falls”, 8–11 February 2005. 15. Asia Today online, “Thai Challenge to Singapore for Asia Oil Business”, 1–2–2004, www.asiatoday.com.au. 16. Straits Times, 31 July 2004. 17. Straits Times, 16 October 2003. 18. Michael Richardson, A Time Bomb for Global Trade: Maritime-related Terrorism in an Age of Weapons of Mass Destruction (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2004), p. 1. 19. Vijay Sakhuja, “Maritime Terrorism: India Must Be Prepared”, www.satp.org/ satporgtp/publication/faultlines/volume12/Article4.htm. 20. OECD Report, “Security in Maritime Transport: Risk Factors and Economic Impact”, Maritime Transport Committee, July 2003. 21. Richardson, A Time Bomb for Global Trade, p. 49. 22. Straits Times, 16 October 2003. 23. Straits Times, “Sinister Plans”, 16 October 2003.

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24. 25. 26. 27.

OECD Report, “Security in Maritime Transport”. “Executive Summary” in OECD Report, “Security in Maritime Transport”. Straits Times, “IMB latest figures on piracy”, 6 February 2005. Premvir Das, “Regional Naval Developments in South Asia”, paper presented at CSCAP meeting, Hanoi, 25–27 May 2004. Sakhuja, “Maritime Terrorism”. Asia-Pacific Round Table, Kuala Lumpur, May–June 2004, Discussion on the Thematic Paper, “Combating Piracy: Latest developments and what more needs to be done?” by Etty R. Argoes, Padjadjaran University, Indonesia. Straits Times editorial, “Trade tied to security”, 16 October 2003. Tony Tan’s speech at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, October 2004. The Hindu, “India to resume patrolling of Malacca Straits”, 8 September 2004. The Hindu, “India–ASEAN relations taking on a new dimension: Manmohan”, 29 November 2004. Far Eastern Economic Review, 22 April 2004. Straits Times, “Safety in the Strait”, 22 May 2004. Straits Times, “KL rejects foreign policing of Straits”, 28 April 2004. Jakarta Post, “RI, Singapore and Malaysia to sign pact on Malacca patrol”, 15 July 2004. Straits Times, “Shippers want better policing of Straits”, 10 May 2004. Straits Times, from a press statement by John Medeiros, Cd’A U.S. Embassy, 7 April 2004. Ji Guoxing, Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai, Jiao University. An abridged version of his paper was published in Jiefang Daily, Shanghai, 27 June 2004. Yoichiro Sato, “U.S and Japan in the Malacca Strait, Not Stepping In”, AsiaPacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, Hawaii, 12 July 2004. Michael Richardson, “Japan can be more active in fighting terror at sea”, Straits Times, 10 December 2003. “Indian Navy Safeguards U.S Ships”, Asia-Pacific Defence Forum, Winter 2002–03. Jakarta Post, “India says ‘yes’ to securing Straits”, 1 July 2004. W. Lawrence Prabhakar, “India’s Strategic Interests in Southeast Asia: A Perspective of India’s Look-East Policy”, paper presented at the Workshop on Maritime Security, Maritime Terrorism and Piracy in Asia, organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 23–24 September 2004, p. 11. Ambassador Jayant Prasad, Statement to the Committee on Disarmament (Press Release DCF/448), Geneva, 2 June, 2005 Parthasarathy, “The New Strategic Salience”.

28. 29.

30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

41. 42. 43. 44. 45.

46. 47.

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48. John Garver, “China’s blue water navy: Japan unveils new defence guidelines”, Straits Times, 11 December 2004. 49. Mohammad Ayoob, India and Southeast Asia: Indian Perceptions and Policies (London and New York: Routledge, 1990), p. 42. 50. Ibid., p. 44. 51. “Indian and Singapore Navies conduct Bilateral Exercise”, India News (Newsletter of the High Commission of India, Singapore), Issue 75, March 2005, www.embassyofindia.com. 52. U.S. National Security Strategy; Chapter VIII Develop Agendas for Cooperative Action with the Other Main Centres of Global Power. The White House. September 2002. http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss8.html. 53. Rahul Bedi, “A new doctrine for the Navy”, Frontline (India), 3–16 July 2004. 54. Prabhakar, “India’s Strategic Interests in Southeast Asia”. 55. N. Ganesan, “Illegal Fishing and Illegal Migration in Thailand’s Bilateral Relations with Malaysia and Myanmar”, in Non-Traditional Security Issues in Southeast Asia, edited by Andrew T. H. Tan and J. D. Kenneth Boutin, (Singapore: Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, 2001), p. 507.

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4 ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND INTEGRATION: BUILDING BLOCKS OF SECURITY

Geopolitics versus geoeconomics. It is often argued that today the latter has taken the centre stage of international relations. Whether it is true is a debatable point. However, it is apparent that economic interests are seen to be dominant in relationship between countries even as the role of politico-security factors remains largely undiminished. In present times, as was broadly true in the past, it is not just military strength but also the economic well-being and wherewithal that lends to a country a sense of stability and security. The goal of human security, which all countries aspire to reach, cannot be attained without economic security. In the opposing pulls and pressures caused by the universal trend towards globalization on the one hand and regional economic integration on the other, countries need to strike an appropriate balance between the two. Regional co-operation in trade and economic matters can create a sense of interdependence and security, which does not remain confined to merely governments and state players, but permeates to the people-to-people level. Both India and the countries of Southeast Asia are seized of this reality and are tailoring their trade and economic policies accordingly.

INDIA–SOUTHEAST ASIA RELATIONS: THE ECONOMIC IMPULSE With respect to the renewed intensification of India–Southeast Asia relations in political and economic field, it will be hard to pin down what inspired the other first. Is it the thawing in political relations following the end of the Cold War (and the Cambodian conflict) or is it mutual attraction for market place and economic complementarities? In any

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case, a strong economic impulse contributed to a rediscovery of each other and to the beginning of a process of integration. It is a fortuitous coincidence that even in the ancient past, trade had played the leading role in bringing India and Southeast Asia together. Today, history seems to repeat itself. In just a decade since starting a serious dialogue, with a focus on expanding economic relations, India and ASEAN signed a framework agreement for developing comprehensive economic co-operation including a free trade agreement in October 2003. This marked a rapid rise in the trajectory of their relations. That year two-way trade exceeded US$12.1 billion. In absolute terms this is a modest figure given their combined population of more than 1.5 billion and the large sizes of their economies. Trade was, however, primarily concentrated in four countries, namely, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.1 The situation for investments was not much encouraging either. The investments figure from India to the ASEAN countries was US$225.28 million during the period 1995–2001, whereas approvals by India for foreign direct investment (FDI) from the ASEAN-6 countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, to India came to US$2,072.96 million during the period 1996–2001.2 For India and Southeast Asia, the overall economic depth in their relationship is still fairly marginal compared with the continuing upsurge in the latter’s economic relations with China. China–ASEAN trade was expected to exceed US$100 billion in 2004.3 The contrast is particularly sharp. However, the fact that India demonstrated a willingness and resolve to enter into a Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA) including an FTA with ASEAN, like what China and Japan had done, was itself a manifestation of India’s desire to be a serious player in the politico-economic arena of the Asia-Pacific. For ASEAN countries, this act put them in a more confident position with respect to India’s engagement in the region and their own engagement with India. In the earlier years there was evidence of complementarities and mutually needed strengths by both sides. However, regrettably, the economic ties seemed to mirror the overall political relations. After the mid-1960s till the end of the Cold War when India–Southeast Asia relations (with the exception of India’s relations with the Indochina countries) were largely formal, the volume of economic relations remained low. In the beginning of the 1990s, India’s trade with the ASEAN-6

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countries stood at US$2.9 billion, a paltry figure by any standard. How can there be any meaningful and enduring relationship when the economic stakes on both sides were so marginal? The economic potential of India was recognized by the ASEAN members even before the 1990s when improvement in political relations began. The vast and expanding Indian market and a rapidly growing middle class with increasing purchasing power offered immense scope for exports from Southeast Asian countries. As a result of the opening of their economies and increasing FDI inflows from Japan, the United States and the EU, these countries had moved ahead especially in infrastructural development and the production of consumer goods. They saw an opportunity for technology exchanges, particularly in IT, know-how in financial services and HRD facilities, in which India had begun to compete globally. India, too, needed the large market of Southeast Asian countries for its engineering goods, pharmaceutical products and chemicals. Its market in the former Soviet Union had reduced considerably. India also saw in some of the economically advanced ASEAN members, especially Singapore, opportunities for investment in India’s upcoming software and IT industry as well as infrastructure like ports, airports and highways. When India’s former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao delivered the 1994 Singapore Lecture, Singapore’s Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew introduced him as a leader who launched fundamental changes in India that can be as lasting as those of Deng Xiaoping’s in China. In that lecture Prime Minister Rao went on to state that the diversity of the Asia-Pacific gives it the resilience that enables it to sustain the almost unbelievable growth rates which it will continue to see well into the next century. The Asia-Pacific could be the springboard for India’s leap into the global market-place. He was enunciating his belief in the vision of a new relationship between India and the AsiaPacific from Singapore, which he considered the geographic and symbolic centre of the Asia-Pacific.4 India’s economic reforms, initiated in the early nineties, offered the promise of an economy being rapidly opened and restructured. Since then, there has been a broad national consensus on the necessity of economic reforms despite several changes of government. Economic reforms in India are now irreversible. The process of liberalization and integration is continuous and ongoing. Foreign trade constitutes a major proportion of the economy of ASEAN countries while India has a large domestic economy. ASEAN countries have watched the Indian reform

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process closely. Increasingly, there is growing influence on each other’s economies with greater diversification in the contents in relations. The ASEAN–India Vision 2020 notes that: The India–ASEAN economic relations are now becoming much stronger as they traverse through the science and technology route instead of the silk route of olden times and businessmen and IT professionals taking the place of religious and cultural emissaries leading to deepening social, cultural, commercial and political interface. In a sense, the synergies now being rejuvenated centre around past performance, shared vision towards development, and common economic and political challenges ahead.5

India’s fast-growing trade and economic co-operation with ASEAN countries over the past decade has lent it credibility as a serious economic partner. It has also been helpful in India’s economic interaction with China, Japan and Korea. That India could establish a strong commercial and technological relationship with the open and globally competitive economies of Southeast Asia is seen as a positive factor by the industrialized Northeast Asian countries.

BACKGROUND OF THE EVOLVING COMMERCIAL AND ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP India’s reorientation to the east was driven in no small measure by the perceived need to work closely with the vibrant and successful economies of East and Southeast Asia. India was impressed by the East Asian miracle in the 1970s and 1980s. The per capita income of ASEAN was nearly twice that of India. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia had emerged as large exporting nations with export to GDP ratio much higher than that of India. The new policy approach in India started to take shape in the form of enhanced economic and commercial interaction with Southeast Asia. Bilateral efforts to develop trade were encouraged. Promotional efforts got underway to enlarge India–Southeast Asia trade and business through visits of business delegations, exhibitions and buyer–seller meetings. Unlike the markets of West Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, Southeast Asia had distinct advantages for Indian exports. There was greater political and economic stability, growing purchasing power and a fast-improving infrastructure. Nonetheless, the governments of Southeast Asian countries and India had to assume a

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lead role in this direction. Chambers of commerce and industry on both sides were in close consultation with their respective governments in formulating strategies for expansion of trade and investment. By the early 1990s, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had established a good relationship with the Singapore leadership. Since then they have visited Singapore every year and been given the opportunity by the Singapore’s Prime Minister for a meeting. Leaders in India’s business and industry were beginning to get an exposure to the dynamic and rapidly liberalized economic environment of Southeast Asia even as India was going through the process of liberalization and opening up of the economy. Investments on both sides, though relatively small, had also gone up. The growing corporate interest among Indian companies in Southeast Asia includes the Aditya Birla group in polyester yarn and palm oil in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia; the Tata group’s buying of the Singapore Natsteel company for US$478 million; the joint venture between Sunil Mittal’s Bharati group with SingTel; and the listing of Indian companies on the Singapore Stock Exchange. In the Multimedia Super Corridor near Kuala Lumpur, a number of Indian software companies have opened up offices. More than 400 Indian companies now have offices or representatives in Singapore. In the other direction, several Malaysian construction companies are engaged in highway projects and industrial construction in India. Singapore company Ascendas’s flagship Software Park in Bangalore is a major success story. With the acquisition of Tata’s share in April 2005, Ascendas will now hold 80 per cent of the equity in the Bangalore Park. Other projects include the DistriPark container warehousing project in Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai. A major group in the Philippines, San Miguel, has a successful venture in India. It is through the route of joint ventures and investments that greater confidence and mutual stakes can be generated between Southeast Asia and India. Nonetheless, Indian investment in Southeast Asia is still marginal. Even though companies from Southeast Asia have not been enthusiastic about investing in India, so far their investment ventures have not lost money either. Indian companies also see the opportunity of integrating into the value-chain of multinational corporations (MNCs) present in Southeast Asian countries. Their presence in India is far smaller than in Southeast Asia. Through such integration, Indian companies stand to gain in terms of technology and marketing experience.

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While bilateralism was the principal instrument for trade expansion, the institutionalized mechanism of dialogue partnership at regional level supplemented it and increasingly became useful for all round economic and commercial relationship. Following Singapore’s proposal, India became a sectoral dialogue partner in 1992. The four sectors that were identified under the sectoral dialogue relationship were trade, investment, science and technology, and tourism. A joint co-ordination committee was established between India and ASEAN to monitor progress in the identified sectors of co-operation. In 1995, when India became a full dialogue partner of ASEAN, the scope of co-operation widened further and economic relations between the two began to be addressed jointly by their Foreign Ministers. As the country co-ordinator for India in the initial years, Singapore again played a very helpful and vital role in the progress of India’s full dialogue partnership. Singapore Deputy Prime Minister, who was then Foreign Minister, S. Jayakumar, inaugurated the meeting of the Joint Co-ordination Committee and cochaired the Dialogue meetings with India’s Foreign Minister. Foreign Ministers of other ASEAN countries also attended the dialogue meetings. The Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi who was then the Foreign Minister was among them. The financial crisis of 1997–98 that hit the East and Southeast Asian countries was disturbing for India as well. At that time, India saw how globalization could severely affect fellow developing countries, and India’s fast-growing economic relationship with Southeast Asia received a setback. Fortunately, it proved to be temporary. The Indian Government took steps to demonstrate its support to the crisis-hit Southeast Asian countries, although they appeared small in comparison with what the other major powers did. India’s commitment to maintain the momentum of trade and investment during the period of economic turbulence in the Southeast Asian region was exemplified by proposals such as the Exim Bank credit for trade finance; facilities for counter trade; and guarantees and counterguarantees for trade finance. Both sides admitted to collaborations in the field of information technology, biotechnology and advanced materials.6 India’s support might not have been impressive, but it was directed towards sectors affected by the crisis. Moreover, India itself had barely escaped the Asian financial crisis, largely because it had decided against the capital account convertibility of the Indian rupee. Under the full dialogue partnership, India–ASEAN exchanges in economic and commercial fields acquired a clear direction and purpose.

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An ASEAN–India fund was set up by India, and it was operated jointly with the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. A definitive regional plan to maximize the synergies in the areas such as trade and investment, infrastructure, communications, science and technology, human resources development, civil aviation and tourism began to emerge while actual implementation of the decisions continued to be done bilaterally. This is indeed an interesting development whereby interactions were taking place both bilaterally as well as regionally while reinforcing each other in the process. This was a somewhat new experience for India whose earlier experience with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had remained relatively limited because of the lack of sustained progress in that association. It was useful for India as it started to work towards regional integration and FTAs. From full dialogue partnership to the summit-level participation was a rapid progression of India’s relationship with ASEAN. With continuous support from some ASEAN members, this idea had started developing since the latter part of 2000. India continued to take keen interest in building closer bilateral relations with individual members. This can be seen in high-level visits by former Indian President Narayanan to Singapore in November 2000; former Prime Minister Vajpayee to Indonesia and Vietnam in January 2001, to Malaysia in May 2001and to Cambodia in April and October 2002. The response from ASEAN leaders was also positive. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen who hosted the ASEAN conferences in 2002 strongly supported India’s summit-level partnership with ASEAN. The decision-making process on this issue was understood to be not smooth-sailing as the up-gradation to full dialogue partnership in 1995 was not. On both occasions Singapore’s former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong played a key role.

AFTA AND INDIA India saw ASEAN’s proposal for an ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) within the region as a successful effort in trade liberalization by a regional organization. As a result, India had consistently stated that it planned to bring at the earliest its own tariff regime in line with that of AFTA. Successive Finance Ministers of India had spoken about this in the Budget statements. In his 2005 Budget speech, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram repeated this by stating that:

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I intend to advance the Government’s declared policy of making the customs duty structure closer to that of our East Asian neighbours. Therefore, I propose to reduce the peak rate for non-agricultural products from 20% to 15%.7

In view of the above thinking, a free trade area with ASEAN was a natural step. There was also expectation that a Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement with ASEAN could open doors for India in the larger and dynamic economic space of East Asia. After announcing this decision at the Phnom Penh summit in November 2002, India negotiated a framework agreement with ASEAN in a record time of ten months and signed it at the Bali summit in October 2003. Considering that China had signed an FTA with ASEAN in the previous year and Japan has entered into an FTA with ASEAN, India taking similar steps assumes importance. It might appear as though ASEAN’s large neighbours were all courting ASEAN. This should enhance ASEAN’s confidence further as the region has recovered from the aftereffects of the financial crisis and embarked on removing socioeconomic disparities between its old and new members.

ASEAN–INDIA FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT FOR COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION It would be instructive to analyse India–ASEAN trade, especially India’s exports, immediately following the Asian financial crisis. India’s export growth rate had severely declined to almost a rock-bottom level. Did this have anything to do with AFTA? The implementation of AFTA, though accepting open regionalism, promotes intraregional trade in practice, which was seen by the rise in intra-ASEAN trade by nearly 40 per cent in the backdrop of the ASEAN crisis.8 ASEAN’s global trade had also grown rapidly during this period, but was less than intra-ASEAN trade. For example, ASEAN’s global exports rose by 29.4 per cent from 1999 to 2003 while its global imports increased by 32 per cent.9 It has been reported that: AFTA would also slow down ASEAN foreign investment in India mainly because ASEAN investors link their investment with trading opportunities. The implementation of AFTA would ensure higher trade interaction between the regional partners which would eventually lead to higher investment opportunities between them.10

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AFTA, which is still not fully implemented, thus poses both a challenge and opportunity to India. It will be a challenge since AFTA would lead to the enhancing of the region’s competitiveness, which could indirectly undermine India’s export markets, besides affecting India’s exports to ASEAN and ASEAN investment to India. The opportunity will arise as the Indian and ASEAN economies integrate, therefore opening up a larger market for India. The agreement on ASEAN–India FTA, signed in October 2003, represents an opportunity as a long-term AFTA–India linkage and is a landmark step by the two in the direction of economic integration. It should enable India to overcome the challenges referred to above. The objectives of the agreement include: economic, trade and investment cooperation; progressive liberalization and promotion of trade in goods and services; and facilitation of the more effective economic integration of the new ASEAN member states. Thus, it is not a mere free trade agreement but is comprehensive in its approach to wide-ranging cooperation between India and ASEAN. Already under the functional co-operation, such areas as health, transport and infrastructure, small and medium enterprises, information and communication technology and agriculture have been included. The period stipulated to complete the process is roughly identical to what is planned by ASEAN with China or Japan. Nevertheless, the depth of ASEAN’s economic interaction with the latter two countries is much greater than with India. Moreover, ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and Korea) process is already considerably institutionalized. There are seventeen sectoral mechanisms currently working under this arrangement. With India, the ASEAN+1 (India) process is relatively new and is still not fully institutionalized. However, it should be noted that through expansion of trade in services such as banking, insurance, finance, transport, travel and IT, India–ASEAN cooperation can become quite substantive. Services sector is India’s growing strength and constitutes a vital component in any bilateral or multilateral agreement on economic co-operation. The Framework Agreement provides for an Early Harvest Programme for exchange of tariff preferences between November 2004 and October 2007 for a list of products with ASEAN-6 and India and 2010 for the new ASEAN members. India has offered unilateral concessions to new ASEAN members in order to assist them in their industrialization with market access on a non-reciprocal basis. The full implementation of the ASEAN–India FTA will be by 2011 for

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ASEAN-5 (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Brunei) and India, 2016 by the Philippines and India, and by 2011 by India, and 2016 by the new ASEAN member countries. The liberalization of trade in services would start from 2007. It can be seen that overall regional trade liberalization between ASEAN and India will commence with the Early Harvest Programme in 2004 and will be completed in 2016. Along with trade liberalization it will be equally important to identify and remove non-trade barriers. This will require harmonization of customs procedures and also co-operation between standards and export inspection bodies of ASEAN and India. Mutual recognition of conformity assessment procedures between member countries for the purposes of meeting their respective regulatory requirements will also be necessary.11 At the Vientiane summit in November 2004, India and ASEAN signed the documents for Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity and the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN–India Partnership (see Appendixes V and VI, respectively). Through these documents, the two sides have formalized a comprehensive, conceptual and executive framework for the totality of relationship which should act as a “roadmap for the future”. The agenda set forth for the Comprehensive Economic Co-operation is by no means small and easy. Sustained political will is called for on both sides as negotiations on the level and pace of tariff reductions gets underway. In addition to political understanding, it will be the willingness of business communities that will be the critical determinant in coming to agreements on the removal of tariff as well as non-tariff barriers. In India where business has been accustomed to protectionism for a long time, the process of liberalization is not without hurdles and pain. After a decade of economic reforms and progressive tariff reduction the average tariff in India is now 15 per cent. In ASEAN, the situation with respect to tariff levels varies from country to country. Singapore has zero tariffs, whereas the new ASEAN members have a medium level of protection. Vietnam’s tariff is 17.40 per cent, and Laos 12.20 per cent in 2001.12 It is clearly understood that the level of India–ASEAN economic cooperation can be sustained only through bilateral trade, investments and joint ventures. The role of the governments is no doubt pivotal, but is merely as a facilitator who can provide a suitable business environment and regulatory framework. Primary effort is required to be made by

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corporate and individual businessmen. The institutional mechanism set up with chambers of commerce such as the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) in India and its counterparts in Southeast Asia in the form of an annual India–ASEAN Business Summit preceding the summit meeting of ASEAN and Indian leaders in an ASEAN capital is a useful platform for bringing businessmen of both sides together. FICCI also organizes India–ASEAN business leaders’ meeting in India. During the visits of Indian leaders to Southeast Asian capitals or vice versa, business delegations invariably form part of the state delegation. This trend should be welcomed. Continuous follow-up by businessmen is equally necessary especially since their mutual knowledge and exposure to each other has so far been limited. Unless the information gap that still exists is bridged, business will not flow adequately in both directions. For India, its negotiations with Singapore on CECA provided a useful guide and valuable experience. In responding positively to Singapore’s proposal in early 2000 for considering an FTA, India was embarking on a bold and novel experiment. India had not entered into an FTA with any developed country before. Singapore, too, had never before negotiated an FTA with a developing nation. After two years of negotiations, which involved thirteen rounds of discussions conducted in the Joint Study Group, on 29 June 2005 India and Singapore signed the landmark economic agreement that has been hailed as historic by leaders of both countries. According to India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, “CECA is a historic agreement which will take our economic relations to a new plane. It opens doors for a quantitative jump in trade and investment flows between us.”13 The agreement covers a comprehensive ground including: 1. tariffs — 75 per cent of Singapore exports to India will be at zero tariff within five years; 2. investments — Singaporean and Indian investors will be able to freely transfer funds related to their investments; 3. services — preferential access will be given to service sectors such as construction and engineering services, financial, telecommunications and tourism; 4. banks — Singapore banks can set up their subsidiaries in India and Indian banks will be given wholesale bank licences; 5. work visas — rules for work visas will be liberalized and long-term visa will be available.

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CECA thus marks an important milestone in the process of India’s integration with East Asian economies. As Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has stated: CECA is a strong signal that India is committed to continuing economic liberalization and market reforms. It heralds further moves by India to engage the outside world, not just with ASEAN, but also with major partners.14

In India’s economic diplomacy, especially in the last decade, ASEAN countries have acquired a major dimension. Besides the India–Singapore CECA, and at the regional level, the Framework Agreement with ASEAN on Comprehensive Economic Co-operation including an FTA, India also signed in October 2003 a framework bilateral FTA with Thailand, an economically dynamic country. The FTA with Thailand includes goods, services and investments. To start with, eighty-four items are covered for tariff-free movement which include food products, auto components, electronic goods and tourism. Negotiations on the bilateral FTA had not been easy, especially due to initial apprehensions of the Indian industry that they will not be able to compete with Thai auto components. Compared with the Indian economy, the Thai economy has been more integrated with other economies and for a longer duration. However, the differences between India and Thailand on these and issues relating to rules of origin were addressed. Negotiations on the FTA were expected to be concluded in 2005 and zero duty imports on both sides scheduled to start from 2010. An India–Malaysia comprehensive economic cooperation agreement is also under discussion. Besides these bilateral agreements, India has also entered into two subregional economic cooperation arrangements with countries of Southeast Asia. They are the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the Mekong Ganga Co-operation (MGC).

SUBREGIONAL CO-OPERATION Having lagged behind other parts of the world in regional and subregional co-operation, South Asian countries appeared keen on taking advantage of the opportunity that was presented to them in this regard by Southeast Asian neighbours. Thailand’s initiative in 1995 to create a subregional grouping with India and a few members from South Asia was welcomed by India, as well as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who also seemed frustrated

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by the lack of substantive movement in the SAARC. India looked upon BIMSTEC as a useful linkage to bring its northeast region in direct touch with Southeast Asia with which India shares geographical proximity and ethno-cultural ties. For all the member states of BIMSTEC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan), the grouping should not be just another forum but rather a unique opportunity to build on their commonalities. These countries are not only bound by the Bay of Bengal but also have several common characteristics such as underdevelopment, socioeconomic turbulence and poverty. Despite several rounds of ministerial and official level discussions since its inception, however, progress in BIMSTEC had been slow, if not marginal. This seemed to prove the point that regional or subregional co-operation cannot be promoted on the basis of common characteristics or complementarities alone. Critically, it requires political will and preparedness to open the economies to the other partners for preferential trade and investment which calls for hard decisions at home. Fortunately, a fresh impetus to an FTA in the subregion was given in 2004. With India already having free trade area regimes with Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan and close to finalizing an FTA with Thailand, a broad preparatory background was already in place. The BIMSTEC Group of Experts had prepared a draft Framework Agreement for the FTA. This proposed a fast track liberalization between 2006 and 2011 and a normal track between 2007 and 2017, depending upon the level of development of the country. The time-frame agreed to for tariff reduction appears rather long, although the framework provides for a voluntary fast track liberalization.15 Similarly, under sectoral chairmanships individual member countries had been entrusted with responsibilities to plan and co-ordinate action with regard to joint projects. Since 2002, the sectors where member countries hold lead country status are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

trade and investment: Bangladesh; technology: Sri Lanka; transport and communications: India; energy: Myanmar; tourism: India; and fisheries: Thailand.16

BIMSTEC has the potential of emerging as a trade liberalization regime and a useful co-ordinating mechanism in the fields of road transportation linkages and energy exploration and supply. The Ministerial Meeting

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held in Phuket, Thailand in February 2004 had decided to place before the grouping the objective of a free trade area in the subregion and accordingly signed the Framework Agreement on BIMSTEC Free Trade Arrangement. The first summit held in July 2004 adopted this decision. Detailed modalities for tariff reduction or elimination, rules of origin, non-trade barriers and number of products in the negative lists are subject to negotiations. It was also proposed that the negotiations to move towards the formation of a Customs Union should be started. The grouping, which was expanded to include Nepal and Bhutan, and renamed as Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation should then move on to further deepening of the economic integration by creating a Bay of Bengal Economic Community by 2020.17 The framework of a Bay of Bengal Economic Community offers a valuable opportunity to India and Southeast Asian countries on the littoral of Bay of Bengal to develop common economic security, energy security and human security. This subregion is faced with numerous security concerns: Maoist insurgency, separatists’ violence, Islamic fundamentalism and drug menace. Under BIMSTEC it has been agreed that terrorism and transnational crime are to be dealt with in a cooperative manner through exchange of information and co-ordination. Developing connectivity with Southeast Asia has been among the objectives of India’s economic co-operation with Myanmar. BIMSTEC becomes a good catalyst in that direction. The trilateral co-operation in a road network proposed between Thailand, India and Myanmar18 is an example of establishing direct connection, just as the Tamu-Kalemyo road built by India’s Border Roads Organization. In the railway field, India has offered to Myanmar a credit of US$56.35 million for upgrading the Yangon-Mandalay railway line. India has the expertise to undertake such a project, which should serve a useful purpose in improving the connectivity within Myanmar and also with India through a railway link between Hanoi and Delhi as suggested by the Indian Prime Minister during the ASEAN–India summit in Bali in 2003. At the ministerial meeting of MGC in Phnom Penh in August 2004, the member countries agreed to the desirability of a rail link. India has commissioned a feasibility study, costing US$76,600 by Rail India Technical and Economic Services Ltd (RITES) to examine the technical feasibility of laying the missing link of about 200 kilometres between Jiriban in Manipur and Kalay in Myanmar. These projects in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are expected to be covered under the ASEAN Rail Connectivity

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Programme.19 Even though these projects do not come under the ambit of BIMSTEC, the existence of this forum enables the countries of the region to co-ordinate policies or implementation of bilateral or trilateral projects involving these countries. The seven northeast states of India, often described as the “Seven Sisters”, with a population of over 50 million have remained out of the economic mainstream in India. There could be several factors for this. The long-standing insurgency and ethnic violence present many hurdles. Connectivity and border trade with the adjoining Southeast Asia with which they share ethnical and cultural similarities could create new opportunities for them in widening their exposure. Opening of the transborder road communications, increasing the number of border trade points (as of now there are only two, one between Tamu and Moreh on the Manipur border; and another at Champa and Rhea on the Mizoram border), will help reduce the sense of isolation experienced over the years. An example of IT links between India and Singapore–Malaysia is the tie-up between the Reliance Group of India and Software Technical Park of India and Maxis Communication of Malaysia and StarHub of Singapore to build a submarine cable. Competition for overseas connectivity is expected to add 14 terabit per second of additional capacity, almost 300 times the current capacity available in India. The other private parties are Bharati Televentures and Dishnet DSL.20 In the context of connectivity, the importance and priority that should be attached by India to civil aviation with Southeast Asia cannot be overemphasized. Despite improvement in recent years, the situation with regard to direct air links between the major cities of Southeast Asia and India remains unsatisfactory. In this regard, India woefully lags behind northeast Asia where privatized airlines have knitted a web of air connections between the capitals and major cities of ASEAN countries with that of China, Japan and Korea. A useful opportunity of upgrading air travel and modernization of India’s airports was missed in the midnineties when, according to Indian journalist Inder Malhotra: a massive and mutually beneficial project for building a state-of-art airport at Bangalore with the participation of the Singapore Airline was strangulated by the time-honoured technique of dilatoriness in decisionmaking.21

This had raised the concern that “vested interests have tended to scuttle many potential and even approved projects involving foreign collaboration

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confirming the pitfalls of a fickle policy environment.”22 On the other hand, the level of integration as reflected in civil aviation contacts is seen to be demonstrably impressive between northeast and southeast Asia which has spurred trade and tourism in a substantial way. The announcement by India at the Bali summit in October 2003 conveying unilaterally that India will agree to flights between four cities — Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai — and all ASEAN capitals without any bilateral discussions and flights to eighteen centres of tourist interest in India from ASEAN cities was, therefore, seen as a bold and timely move. This was welcomed in the ASEAN capitals. The Indian government’s decision to go in at an early date for total renovation of the two major airports, namely Mumbai and Delhi, through open international bids and the announcement in early 2005 to permit private sector airlines to operate outside India, including to Southeast Asia was yet another positive indication of progressive liberalization of civil aviation policy. Private airlines from India have been allowed to fly to Southeast Asia and they started their operations from May 2005. If India’s economic or tourism linkages are to grow with this region, as indeed elsewhere, then civil aviation holds the key. The scope for growth as far as Southeast Asia is concerned is unlimited. India, therefore, needs to have an “open sky” policy with this region. India’s own civil aviation sector and more importantly India’s business and tourism industry stand to benefit enormously as a result.

ENERGY CO-OPERATION IN BIMSTEC Co-operation in the vital field of energy has been a useful fall-out of exchanges within BIMSTEC. Myanmar’s voluntary offer at the Dhaka ministerial meeting in December 1998 to be a co-ordinator for the sector on energy was a positive signal. With Bangladesh seemingly having reservations on the supply of natural gas to the neighbouring Indian market, the Myanmar source was particularly attractive to India. Myanmar has rich reserves of gas off the Rakhine coast. In the offshore gas exploration project, Daewoo of South Korea and Indian companies have a joint venture. It has been reported that: the gas field is estimated to contain reserves of 14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The offshore A1 block is being developed by a consortium headed by South Korea’s Daewoo International, which has a 60% share in the venture. India’s state-owned ONGC and the Gas Authority of

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India Ltd have 20 and 10% share respectively and the remaining 10% by South Korea’s state owned KOGAS.23

The main question, however, remained about the mode of transportation from Myanmar to India. Whether Bangladesh would agree to a pipeline through its territory posed a continuing doubt even though in such arrangement it also stood to benefit. A trilateral agreement signed in Myanmar in January 2005 between India, Myanmar and Bangladesh on the proposed pipeline is a good example of a win-win situation for all partners in this subregional co-operation. However, there seem to be still an uncertainty if Bangladesh would actually permit transportation of gas through its territory. Indeed, Bangladesh should be able to draw considerable benefits through BIMSTEC, whether in energy, transportation, tourism, fisheries or trade. Therefore, it is hoped that the BIMSTEC route could also prove useful in minimizing/overcoming some of the outstanding difficulties between Bangladesh and India. BIMSTEC is an integral part of Thailand’s policy of forging close economic links with its neighbours in South and West Asia. India, the emerging regional economic power, is igniting the economic dynamism of South Asia as it achieves one of the fastest economic growth rates in Asia. It is therefore not surprising that member countries recognize the enormous benefits from closer economic co-operation within BIMSTEC.24

SUBREGIONAL CO-OPERATION WITH CLMV COUNTRIES India’s efforts through subregional co-operation with countries of Southeast Asia also appear aimed at re-establishing its traditional links with Indochina countries. In the post-Cold War period, India’s trade, investments and joint ventures in the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) were not commensurate with political relations which remained close throughout the Vietnam war and the Kampuchean conflict. China, on the other hand, seemed to put its erstwhile political differences aside and had embarked on major programmes for economic co-operation, both bilaterally as well as through the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) scheme. The latter was initiated by the Asian Development Bank as an integrated project linking CLMV countries and China’s Kunming province. An observer has commented that: China’s investments in CLMV countries, especially in recent years are sizeable. In Vietnam they are recorded at US$185.77 million as of April

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2001, in Myanmar at US$60.901 million as of March 2001, in Laos US$74.485 million. In Cambodia, China ranks among the top ten investors and, in per capita terms, this investment is higher than China’s investments in Vietnam.25

What was there for India to offer to these Mekong countries so that they could feel attracted to rejuvenate their traditional bonds with India? The answer to this question was in a sense provided by Thailand and the CLMV countries themselves when in mid-2000 they proposed a subregional co-operation arrangement to India in certain specified sectors. In this Thai initiative the main impulse was cultural-spiritual as India and these countries share the rich heritage of Buddhism. Interest in tourism, cultural exchanges and India’s experience in human resource development (HRD) and excellence in science and technology formed the main basis for a creative proposal of the Mekong Ganga Co-operation (MGC), which the Foreign Ministers of Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and India readily adopted on the margins of the Full Dialogue Partnership meetings in Bangkok in May 2000. Subsequently, the MGC was launched in Vientiane in November 2000. This novel concept based on the common civilizational links aims at exploring and promoting co-operation in the areas such as education, including Buddhist studies, tourism and communications. India’s revived outreach in the form of MGC aroused speculation and comment in the media whether it was directed at China which was not part of the grouping. However, the then Indian Foreign Minister dispelled any such apprehension by pointing out that the “initiative was not aimed at China, nor a means of increasing India’s power projection”. He termed it as “an affirmation of historical, cultural and geographical ties”.26 The Laotian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr Somsavat Lengsavad, made it clear that the MGC project was not intended to establish a military grouping against anybody. It was primarily intended to assist the countries in the region to promote economic development.27 A mention may be made here of a track two initiative, known as the Kunming initiative, which China has been pursuing with a view to promoting subregional economic co-operation between the South Asian and the Mekong basin countries. Members of this Initiative include China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and India. The grouping aims at developing direct commercial, economic and cultural linkages in this subregion which lags behind in economic progress. However, after several deliberations there is little forward movement. Evidently, there is still no

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clear understanding among the participating countries as to the aims and objectives of this initiative. While India and China should not deny the importance of working together in fostering subregional co-operation, it appears that any apprehensions that the two large neighbours may have about each other’s interests with regard to this subregion would only recede with the improvement of overall bilateral relations.

INDIA’S ECONOMIC TIES WITH CLMV COUNTRIES The effectiveness of the above subregional arrangements as well as India’s bilateral efforts with CLMV countries will be judged by what has actually been achieved on the ground through timely implementation of various ideas and projects. A high-profile symbolic action was planned for November 2004 when, as proposed by India’s Prime Minister at the Bali summit in 2003, a car rally was held in which more than sixty cars from India and ASEAN countries participated in the journey from Guwahati in India across Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and finally ending in Batam, Indonesia. In this unique 8,000-kilometre travel, the emphasis was on connectivity, familiarization of each other’s roads, conditions and culture, and on a partnership between the governments and private sectors of the participating countries. Singapore’s Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s words to the rally in Singapore fully echoed the sentiments of the people of participating nations: This rally has broken the psychological barrier that India is a distant land separated from Southeast Asia by the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. By traversing the heartland of continental Southeast Asia, this rally is a symbolic demonstration of what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has aptly called the “essential oneness of India and Southeast Asia”.28

India’s capacity to provide suitable technology and investment to CLMV countries will determine whether India can create long-term linkages in this strategically important region. Until now only a few successful examples can be cited. The Cuu Long Rice Research Institute in Vietnam set up more than twenty-five years ago with India’s assistance has contributed a great deal in helping to raise substantially the rice production in the country. In Laos, the diesel pumps supplied by an Indian company, the Kirloskar Brothers, has helped to change the situation with regard to irrigation and flood control leading to a major increase in

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rice production. India’s private sector software companies have in the past five to six years trained a large number of young software professionals in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The innovative idea of setting up Internet kiosks by Indian company NIIT in Cambodia has helped to take IT awareness to the grassroots. Indian expertise could further help develop local content according to local needs and in local languages so that people can use the web for their benefit. In agreeing to do conservation and massive restoration to the famous temple, Ta Prohm, in the Angkor complex over a period of ten to twelve years at an estimated cost of Rupees 25 crores (about US$5.8 million) India has committed once again to contribute substantially to preserve the extraordinary human heritage of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, which is also that country’s major source of tourism. India has offered to set up Entrepreneurship Development Institutes (EDIs) in all CLMV countries, and the first one was inaugurated in Vientiane during the India–ASEAN summit in October 2004. In doing so, India has responded to the specific requirements of the new members of ASEAN which are short of management and entrepreneurial skills and appropriate technologies. EDIs should go a long way in addressing the needs of skill-management and help in alleviating unemployment. Clearly, the main requirement of CLMV countries is not just capital, but also HRD, technology and training. It is in the latter areas that India can add good value. In fact, India has emerged as a major source of HRD training for CLMV countries. Under the India Technical Economic Co-operation (ITEC) programme around 150 places are offered every year to officials and trainees from these countries. Additional places for IT are also made available. In the ongoing efforts and programmes of ASEAN to bridge the development gap between the old and new members through the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), India’s co-operation should make a useful contribution. However, as stated earlier, much will depend on how efficiently India is able to deliver on its assurances. The scale of India’s co-operation will also matter. For example, with Vietnam, a country traditionally friendly to India, the economic relationship has not grown commensurate with the close political ties. There has been a large imbalance in trade for a number of years. The volume of India’s imports is small (US$71 million in 2003–04 as against exports of US$457 million). In contrast, the United States with its FTA with Vietnam has become the latter’s major market. China in the meantime

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has become Vietnam’s leading economic partner. With Cambodia and Laos too, India’s imports are small. How can India expand trade with Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia since the range of products that India can import from them commercially is limited? Vietnam is already a competitor to India in such agricultural items as coffee, cashew and spices. One way to overcome this problem would be through investments from India in the fields of priority interest to these countries. This is very important for India if a strong and viable economic relationship with a major and friendly Southeast Asian country, namely, Vietnam is to be sustained. Already, Indian companies in such fields as sugar, cement and pharmaceuticals have invested in joint ventures in Vietnam. In an offshore oil and natural gas field in Vietnam, India’s leading public sector organization, Oil and Natural Gas Commission-VIDESH Ltd has a production sharing contract with Petro-Vietnam, British company BP and Norwegian company Statoil. The ONGC-VL has a share of 45 per cent and an investment of US$228 million. India was one of the first foreign companies to invest in Vietnam as early as in 1989. The project has gone on-stream and has been supplying gas since November 2002. Indian IT companies have made investments in Vietnam. Through the joint ventures set up with Indian investments, Vietnam could enhance its export to India or other countries. Supply of Vietnam’s oil to India, especially on the east coast, had been under consideration. However, the compatibility of oil thickness for refineries in India seemed to be the inhibiting factor. This should, however, be further explored so that a major item such as oil could be added to Vietnam’s export basket to India. CLMV countries are being integrated into the ASEAN mainstream, inter alia, through the Mekong Basin Development Programme employing intensive HRD and special programmes involving information and communications technology. China, Japan and the Republic of Korea are already deeply involved in the Mekong development programme. In the context of the above, the former Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Ali Alatas had suggested that any proposed involvement of India in this undertaking will be logical since India has a common border with Myanmar, one of the Mekong basin countries, and such involvement is certainly welcome by the entire ASEAN family.29 He had also invited Indian participation in the projects pertaining to the IAI discussions and expressed ASEAN’s interest in India’s experience in producing generic drugs without being overcome by constraints from the issue of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs).

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India can position itself as a partner to the countries of East Asia including Japan, China and Republic of Korea in the development programmes of the Mekong Basin, drawing upon the complementarities of strengths of each of them. This will have a useful strategic value. Indeed, this could recreate a situation that existed in the ancient past when India and China interacted in this region of Southeast Asia which came to be known as Indochina. Today, however, there seems to be a growing worry in the Mekong Basin countries as reflected in recent news reports such as: China’s thirst for hydroelectric power is choking the waterway that sustains some 70 million people … Researchers have also concluded that China’s network of dams would likely lead to lower water levels in the river, less flooding of the Tonle Sap (the biggest lake in Cambodia), less transfer of nutrient-rich sediment and a degraded fishery … China’s neighbours have so far muted their criticism, preferring to promote trade … A Cambodian Minister, Khy Tanglim said, “What can we do? They are upstream. They are a richer country operating in their sovereign territory. How can we stop them?”30

In the context of China’s rapidly expanding relationship with CLMV countries, the above aspect was also likely to be kept in mind by Southeast Asian countries.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: KEY INSTRUMENT FOR CO-OPERATION For the developing countries of Southeast Asia and India, the traditional values of education, literacy and respect for scholarship can have a significant relevance in today’s times especially because science and technology have an overarching influence on our daily lives. In Southeast Asia, the post-independence period has seen a marked progress in the areas of primary education and literacy. In India, there has been notable improvement in opportunities at the high school and university-level education particularly in the areas of technical and vocational education. This has led to the formation of a large pool of high-skilled and entrepreneurial manpower. India produces annually some 500,000 engineers and diploma holders who form the backbone of the country’s engineering and IT industry. Southeast Asian countries, especially Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, have made impressive strides in infrastructure and hardware. How to complement the respective

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strengths of India and Southeast Asian countries should be the main agenda of policy-makers on both sides. Science and technology can rightly be described as one of the pillars on which India and ASEAN relationship can be firmly rooted. At the Post-Ministerial Conference in Bangkok in May 2000 the Indian Foreign Minister had said that “the focus of ASEAN–India activities is technology based”.31 The success of activities would largely depend on the competitiveness of technologies, both quality-wise and price-wise. The ASEAN economies are primarily trade-oriented. As such, most of them have been in a position to obtain the best technologies either through exports earnings or investments which the Western and Japanese MNCs have made in their countries. India did not have this benefit as India’s exports or inflow of FDI had been (and continue to be) quite small. However, since the Dialogue Partnership started with ASEAN, India has emphasized the technology dimension and one of the first programmes of co-operation was related to IT, biotechnology and advanced materials. Most of ASEAN–India co-operation projects in the science and technology sector are funded by the ASEAN–India Co-operation Fund which was augmented by India in October 2002 by a contribution of US$2.5 million. The initiative with regard to science and technology is of importance to ASEAN itself for realizing its Vision 2020, and therefore seemed to have created credible linkages. It has helped to develop synergies between India’s software capabilities and the strength of some of ASEAN states in computer hardware. The offers made by India for providing training and fellowships to IT students from ASEAN, the establishment of an Advanced Institute of Information Technology in Vietnam, Indian companies’ presence in most ASEAN countries for software development and IT training could help in addressing the digital divide and also for promoting e-governance, e-commerce and for establishing a knowledge-based society.32 A number of useful proposals have been made in the India– ASEAN Vision 2020. These include: ASEAN–India Fund for promoting joint R&D with the active involvement of private sector and academia; co-operation in the field of technology management to address issues like management of intellectual property rights; technology forecasting, technology assessment and technology intermediation; and setting up an ASEAN India Biotechnology Network to encourage biotechnology cooperation. For India and ASEAN, these projects present a challenge which they should take up in fulfilment of their common vision.

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SPACE TECHNOLOGY It is in the area of space technology that ASEAN countries could find India’s capabilities of particular interest. While some of them are interested in developing their own remote sensing data analysis facilities and capabilities, some are keen on having their own satellites launched in space to meet their communications and broadcasting as well as remote sensing needs. India’s expertise and competitiveness in the field of space technology is generally well known in Southeast Asia. Malaysia is already engaged in receiving data from the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites. The Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO) has its Telemetry Tracking Centres located in Biak, Indonesia and in Brunei, and thus there is already ongoing co-operation between India and these countries in the field of space research. Top Indian space scientists have visited ASEAN countries to give lectures in this field. India and ASEAN countries are well placed to develop mutually beneficial relationship in the area of space technology and its applications. India’s assistance in satellite designing, fabrication, launching, and training of its personnel in these fields as well as for remote sensing data analysis can be obtained by ASEAN countries. ISRO and its related organization, ANTRIX, are well equipped to provide these services.

BIOTECHNOLOGY Biotechnology is a field of mutual interest to India and Southeast Asia given their biodiversity, their needs for food and agricultural products and also as a source for employment. It is commonly perceived that biotechnology is the future of this century and research in this area is highly skill-intensive. Therefore, there is a need for close co-operation between India and Southeast Asian countries for mutual advantage. The areas envisaged for joint research in biotechnology include, but are not limited to, plant biotechnology, bioinformatics and industrial biotechnology. An India–ASEAN Biotechnology Network is being set up.

BILATERALISM Relations with ASEAN is largely a summation of India’s relations with the individual countries of Southeast Asia. Bilateralism, therefore, will

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primarily determine the overall relationship of India with this region. The level of relationship is still not sufficiently high, except with some ASEAN members. Recognizing this, leaders from India and the countries of the region are engaged in the process of enhancing relations in a wide range of fields. The dialogue partnership and ARF meetings provide the ministers from India and Southeast Asia an opportunity to develop personal contacts. The annual summit of ASEAN with India offers the highest leadership on both sides a useful occasion to meet and exchange views on bilateral issues as well. The forthcoming East Asia summit will widen this opportunity further. Bilateral visits by the leaders of India and Southeast Asia would no doubt be the principal means for development of relations. In the promotion of bilateral relations between India and Southeast Asian countries it is important to note that the scope and prospects vary between ASEAN-6 and the new ASEAN members. For that matter they vary with every Southeast Asian country. Each of them has a separate history with each other as also with India. Each of them has its own interests and concerns with powers, regional or extra-regional. Bilateral relations today encompass a whole range of areas and issues. They include political and security, economic and commercial, culture and human resources development. Development of bilateral relations can take place satisfactorily provided the two sides are sensitive of each other’s needs and concerns. This is possible only through deep knowledge and understanding of each other. Diplomatic interaction and meeting of the minds of political leadership can have a major influence in this regard. Sociocultural commonality between India and Southeast Asia can be another helpful factor. As discussed in the earlier pages, today the economics is a primary impulse in shaping bilateral relations. Between India and Southeast Asia, both being developing countries, there are enormous opportunities to benefit through comparative advantage. Complementarities of natural resources, capital, technology, market and human resources need to be identified and utilized to mutual benefit. For example, in new ASEAN countries, India’s expertise and capital can be highly useful in fields like petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, knowledge-based activities like IT, financial services, railways, production of two or three wheelers, etc. India and Vietnam can look at some of these areas intensively. With Cambodia and Laos, India’s human resource development and SME (small and medium enterprise) experience finds

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ready acceptance. Both Cambodia and Laos have huge water resources, in the utilization of which the Indian expertise could be helpful. India’s IT has become a trademark and India has offered to establish Advanced Institutes of Information Technology in these countries. With ASEAN-6 members, the opportunities for investment in a variety of fields are available. And yet, the volume of investments to and from India in these Southeast Asian countries is very small. India needs investment and technology in infrastructural projects such as airports, roads and ports, or natural resource-based items like paper, coal, petroleum and petroleum products. Requirements of Southeast Asian countries include petrochemicals, sugar, transport vehicles, railways, textiles and IT, financial services, health and education. The two have a complementarity in this regard which they can build on. Southeast Asian countries have had highly successful tourism industry. Their experience can be of direct benefit to India. Besides economic and commercial exchanges, defence can be another important field for bilateral co-operation. As discussed earlier, India and each of the Southeast Asian countries need to study respective requirements and draw out plans for mutually beneficial interaction. Bilateralism will today be primarily influenced by people-to-people exchanges, civil societies, tourists and students. As the countries of Southeast Asia and India get to know each other better through contacts at various level, the barriers of distance, immigration and visa would hopefully become less rigid and cumbersome. This will be a useful step in the direction towards convergence between India and Southeast Asia.

ECONOMIC INTEGRATION: A STRATEGIC OUTLOOK Economic co-operation among states — even among those run by socialist or communist philosophies — is today largely the result of comparative benefit primarily driven by economic forces. In the process, it enables states to develop linkages which create common stake-holders in peace and security. In contemporary times, it is the economic changes which have maximum impact on the overall political or security situation of a country. Although it is not axiomatic that political relationship and economic bonds may run parallel to each other, they are generally seen to be in tandem and complementary. In that way they help develop co-operative security between two countries. Interestingly, the players involved in these two processes are usually different. While political

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relations are largely influenced by the state and the government, economic connection is built by public and private business enterprises, depending upon the political economy of each state. ASEAN leaders are fully aware that unless ASEAN economies are open to the outside world they will not remain competitive. For years, foreign trade in these countries constituted a high percentage of their GDP; therefore, for them, freer and open trading regimes has been sine qua non for progress. Just as ASEAN countries seem to strongly believe in the logic of their own integration within and with neighbouring economies such as China and India, so does India with respect to the ASEAN economy. In terms of the size of its external trade compared with its domestic economy, the need for India to forge closer bonds with the ASEAN economy may not seem apparent. However, as seen earlier, India would defy the logic of economic integration with ASEAN only at its own peril. For India, the volume of economic exchanges available in South Asia (even assuming full normalization of relations with Pakistan) is limited. In 2004–05, India’s trade with SAARC countries was only US$7 billion as against US$13 billion with ASEAN. Geography places a constraint on a dynamic economic relationship with Central Asia though India will have to manage sooner than later the politics of gas pipelines from Central Asia across Afghanistan, Iran or Pakistan. With the countries of the Gulf, an interdependent relationship — energy from the Gulf; exports of consumer goods and the source of large-scale skilled manpower from India — already exists. In the era of regional trade and economic integration, it is Southeast Asia and East Asia that India needs to turn to and forge a mutually reinforcing relationship. The latter, therefore, assumes a crucial role in India’s Look East policy matrix as the ASEAN leaders themselves find that they are standing “at the cusp of a period of unprecedented development on a grand scale involving India, China and ASEAN”.33 India–ASEAN enhanced economic interaction and integration is becoming both a necessity and a reality. Fortunately, in India there is today a broad consensus cutting across the political spectrum, though not without dissenting voices, on the continuing need for widening and deepening economic reforms and for opening of the economy. The protagonists of keeping it insular on the grounds that the large domestic economy can be self-sustaining are becoming fewer and have also been proven wrong by globalization. The incremental process of economic reforms in India is no doubt continuously watched in Southeast Asian countries as it has direct repercussions on India–Southeast Asia economic relations.

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The decisions taken by India and ASEAN in the 1990s to accelerate economic interaction could not have come a day too soon. The prevalent trend in East Asia today is the intensification of dialogue between ASEAN and the three major economies of the region, namely, China, Japan and Korea. The ASEAN+3 process is fast getting institutionalized with crosslinkages developing among a wide range of political, economic, security and cultural issues. A vast economic zone is thus in the offing. Whether it will be China-centric or whether Japan will continue to be the prime engine for investment and growth remains to be seen. The latter continues to be the biggest economic player in ASEAN. The fact remains that the ASEAN+3 process is very much to stay and is on the upswing. On this background, India–ASEAN relationship is modest. While China–ASEAN relationship has galloped away in the economic and trade field with twoway trade at US$100 billion, India’s two-way trade with ASEAN is only at US$13 billion. The FTA between China and ASEAN signed in Vientiane in November 2004 caught everybody’s attention as it would create the world’s biggest FTA covering 1,700 million people. How would have India found itself if ASEAN and India had not embarked on a similar process of a summit-level dialogue between them in 2002? In spite of having begun rather late, India is nevertheless consolidating its position. Given China’s and Japan’s overwhelming economic presence in the region, India’s strategy lies in working together with these economic powers while trying to create synergies in the process. ASEAN countries would also welcome such approach. The immediate task ahead for India is to negotiate and finalize the ASEAN–India FTA expeditiously and then implement it successfully. This is indeed a major challenge for both India and ASEAN countries which they need to address in full measure. The benchmark in this regard will be the ASEAN+3 agreements on similar subjects and the progress therein.

INDIA’S MEMBERSHIP IN ASIAN ECONOMIC ORGANIZATIONS Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) In India’s steady march towards integration with the economic processes of Asia, there has been one primary hurdle which the Cold War had created and the political forces in the Asia-Pacific region had succeeded in its perpetuation. As discussed earlier, this was with respect to India not being recognized as a part of the Asia-Pacific. Highly anomalous as it may sound but in the lexicon of the Asia-Pacific, India did not seem to

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find a place. Apart from the geographic definitional aspect, the perception among the rapidly growing economies of East Asia, especially in the 1980s and the early 1990s that India did not belong to the market-driven economies’ group managed to keep India outside their circle. Things began to change as India embarked itself on the path of economic reforms from 1991, and its economic performance steadily improved. Yet, India was not considered seriously for membership of the newly formed inter-regional economic grouping in the Asia-Pacific, the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC). Comprising all major economies in Asia (including Japan, China, Korea, Russia and most members of ASEAN), North America (the United States, Canada and Mexico) and South America (Chile, Peru) this group is the largest transcontinental association accounting for nearly 40 per cent of global trade and 50 per cent of investment. Though based on the principle of “open regionalism” (i.e. voluntary liberalization by member states), economic integration being achieved through APEC is progressively expanding. In the important areas of trade facilitation and business promotion, transfer of technology and investment, APEC membership can serve useful economic and strategic interests. India could not join APEC when the expansion of membership was effected the last time in 1997. Lack of consensus for India’s membership was the ostensible reason. There will predictably be wider acceptance among the membership of APEC for India’s entry when the current moratorium ends in 2007. The fact that India is increasingly invited by G-8 to their Finance Ministers’ meeting or the summit could be an important consideration in this regard. Even though critics might argue that APEC has not progressed satisfactorily towards its declared goals (partly due to its voluntary provision of open regionalism) and has lately also lost its focus on economic co-operation by concentrating far too much on non-economic issues such as terrorism, the long-term importance and utility of this forum cannot be overemphasized. In pursuance of economic integration with ASEAN and East Asia, the membership of APEC should prove to be highly useful for India.

MONETARY CO-OPERATION Several Asian countries suffered from exchange rate fluctuations especially during the 1997 financial crisis. To overcome this problem, an important step towards regional monetary co-operation was taken in

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2000 in which a currency swap, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative, was created between the ten ASEAN states and Japan, China and Korea. Under this initiative participating countries can draw automatically on 10 per cent of available capital without triggering any linkage to conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme. India has had bilateral swap arrangements with some of the ASEAN countries and, therefore, extension of ASEAN+3 Swap Arrangement to cover India could usher in monetary co-operation among all major economies of Asia. The proposed Reserve Bank of Asia comprising ASEAN, Japan, China, Korea and India would be a possible avenue to promote Regional Keynesianism (to revive demand for utilizing excess capacity) without adding to the government expenditure in the surplus countries.34 Creation of an Asian Special Drawing Rights (SDR) backed by deposits in surplus countries and its use as a unit of account and as reserve asset in the region could be another possibility. Similarly, a mechanism needs to be created for seeding and developing viable Regional Infrastructural Projects such as the Asian Highway, the Asian Railway, an Asian Power Grid, the Asian Satellites and the Asian Information Infrastructure (a broadband cable) which would further promote connectivity among Asian nations.

CO-OPERATION IN FINANCIAL SERVICES The proposed Asian Exim Bank trade facilitation constitutes an important element in the strategy for enhancing India’s bilateral trade and investment relations with countries of Southeast Asia. With a view to enhancing cooperation in financial exchanges, an Asian Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) Forum was formed in 1996 at the initiative of the Export-Import Bank of India. The step of exploring the possibility of setting up a Regional ECA (EXIM Bank) with the support of a regional organization like the Asian Development Bank has been pursued and found broad support among the member ECAs. To ensure adequate availability of trade finance, a Regional Export Credit Agency for Asia (RECAA) is required. The objective of RECAA will be to improve access to trade finance for Asian economies, through credit enhancement and risk mitigation measures, thereby, contributing to enhance intraregional and extraregional trade and investment. RECAA will be a refinancing/rediscounting/reinsurance

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institution and not a direct financier. Just as the Asian Development Bank’s role and operation did not conflict with the national development financial institution (DFI), in the same way, a regional export credit agency, if established with ADB’s support and participation, will not conflict with the national ECAs but will only be complementary and a source of strength.35

CO-OPERATION BETWEEN INDIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORGANIZATIONS As members of several international organizations, India and Southeast Asian countries have the opportunity to exchange views and co-operate on issues of common interest. In the World Trade Organization (WTO), India and Southeast Asian nations, which are members of WTO, share common concerns on issues like labour standards, trade and investment, trade and environment, IPRs and public health. They have strongly expressed the view that the “development goals” have not been met by developed countries. India and several Southeast Asian countries are joined together in their demand that developed countries rapidly eliminate agricultural subsidies so that the former can have a level playing field with regard to export of their agricultural products. They have also jointly stressed the view that the agenda of WTO should not be overloaded with new issues such as investment and competition until the basic demands of the developing countries on liberalization in agriculture and implementation issues are met. In the newly formed coalition of developing countries — the G20 in WTO — India and Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are associated. Co-operation among them would deepen through co-ordination on their common stand in WTO negotiations.

ECONOMIC INTEGRATION LEADING TO AN ASIAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY The steady progress witnessed with respect to the regional integration in Asia holds the promise of an Asian Economic Community to emerge in a phased manner. The economic community can begin with a core group combining the major economies that are already engaged in regional economic integration such as ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+1 (India). This core group, JACIK (Japan, ASEAN, China, India and Korea) alone accounts for half the world’s population, a GDP larger than EU’s, exports larger

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than NAFTA’s and foreign reserves larger than EU’s and NAFTA’s combined. Once the programmes of economic integration have consolidated and produced some results, other countries in Asia would also join.36 Through FTA linkages such as ASEAN+3 or ASEAN+1 and also bilateral FTAs which a number of major Asian economies have created among themselves, a virtual Asian economic community is already taking shape. It has been argued that: India’s unilateral liberalization policies since the early 1990s, and purposeful and strategic pursuance of its Look East policy has resulted in considerably greater integration with the rest of Asia than is commonly realized or acknowledged. Closer cooperation among ASEAN, Japan, South Korea, China and India would provide considerable win-win opportunities and will have far ranging implications for the world.37

Governments, think-tanks and private business in these countries are becoming mindful of this extraordinary development. At the India– ASEAN Business Summit in October 2004, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that: “Asian economic community is an idea whose time is fast approaching. And we must be prepared for it collectively.” The emergence of a large middle class (and consequently a large market) and civil society in Asian countries would create dynamic impulses towards panAsian economic integration.

EAST ASIA SUMMIT, DECEMBER 2005: ISSUE OF MEMBERSHIP The announcement at the Laos ASEAN summit in November 2004 of an East Asian summit (EAS) in 2005 has given impetus to further thinking about closer association and future integration of the major economies in East Asia. The earlier proposal of an East Asian Economic Grouping is being revived in the process. The question of membership at the summit was left open at the Vientiane summit as there was no consensus on this issue, and it was to be finalized by Foreign Ministers of ASEAN during early 2005. A view was increasingly expressed in ASEAN circles that it would make eminent sense if India, Australia and New Zealand were included in it. In his parliamentary speech on 4 March 2005, Singapore’s Foreign Minister George Yeo said: Singapore supports the inclusion of India, Australia and New Zealand in the East Asia Summit. Their inclusion will keep ASEAN at the centre

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and put it beyond doubt that ASEAN are externally-oriented and inclusive.38

Indonesian President Yudhoyono had also expressed the view supporting an inclusive approach as regards the membership of the upcoming EAS.39 It was against this background that ASEAN Foreign Ministers during their retreat at Cebu in the Philippines in April 2005 decided to lay down three main criteria for the membership of the EAS: 1. Substantive relations with ASEAN; 2. Full Dialogue Partner status; and 3. Accession to the ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Co-operation. The Foreign Minister of Singapore had stated that, India obviously qualifies on all three counts and it will be included in the first EAS. We hope that Australia and New Zealand which have not acceded to the TAC, will agree to the TAC in the coming months. If so, we would welcome them to the EAS in Kuala Lumpur.40

The Minister further added that ASEAN alone will decide the future members of all subsequent summits and “this is to ensure that ASEAN remains in the driver’s seat of the EAS process”. This development can have far-reaching ramifications. At the ASEAN Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) in Laos on 26 July 2005 it was announced that India, Australia and New Zealand will be invited to the summit in December. By signalling affirmatively to India’s inclusion in the upcoming EAS summit, ASEAN have clearly shown a vision towards future economic integration between ASEAN and India. The growing convergence between the two on a wide range of security issues is thus expressly recognized and accepted. For India, it is a new and important challenge and also a responsibility. The whole economic-security paradigm of India might undergo a transformation as India begins to interact as a partner on the larger Asia-Pacific canvas. The East Asia summit without the U.S. participation is a significant development in the region. It appears that a few participating countries would have favoured the U.S. presence. The United States has so far not acceded to the ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Co-operation, one of the criteria for the membership. For ASEAN and India, the goal of an Asian Economic Community is a logical corollary of the process of economic integration they have set

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themselves on. India’s participation in the EAS will formalize its association with this process. The ASEAN and India Comprehensive Economic Co-operation including an FTA will substantively cement it further. India will, thus, be contributing directly to the building of an Asian Economic Community. As the latter takes shape, it would no doubt create a web of interdependence across Asia, strengthening in its wake stability and security in the whole region.

Notes 1. See the ASEAN Secretariat website at www.aseansec.org, especially the sections on India–ASEAN Trade, ASEAN’s External Relations and ASEAN– India Trade Statistics. 2. Figures for: India–ASEAN investments obtained from “India’s Approved FDI inflows by Countries”, SIA Newsletter (Secretariat for Industrial Assistance, New Delhi), January 2003; FDI in ASEAN from India 1995–2001 obtained from ASEAN FDI Statistics Database, 2003, and from Rahul Sen, Mukul G. Asher and Ramkishen S. Rajan, “ASEAN–India Economic Relations”, Economic and Political Weekly (India), 17 July 2004. 3. China Daily, 29 November 2004. 4. P. V. Narasimha Rao, India and the Asia-Pacific: Forging a New Relationship (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1994), pp. 1, 15, 16, 17. 5. ASEAN–India Network of Think-Tanks, ASEAN–India Vision 2020: Working Together for a Shared Prosperity” (New Delhi: Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), 2004), p. 2. 6. Kripa Sridharan, “The Contours of India’s Foreign Economic Policy and Its Transregional Impact”, in India and ASEAN: The Growing Partnership for the 21st Century, edited by K. S. Nathan (Kuala Lumpur: Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, 2000), p. 79. 7. P. Chidambaram when delivering the Budget speech in the Indian Parliament, 28 February 2005, para. 112. 8. Sanjay Ambatkar, India and ASEAN in the 21st Century (New Delhi: Anmol Publications, 2002), p. 134. 9. ASEAN Finance and Macroeconomic Surveillance Unit (FMSU) database; data on Balance of Payments. 10. Ambatkar, India and ASEAN, p. 135. 11. ASEAN–India Vision 2020, p. 13. 12. “Weighted Mean Tariff for All Products”, World Development Indicators 2004. 13. Straits Times, 30 June 2005. 14. Straits Times, “The Inside Story on how Singapore–India free trade deal was struck”, 2 July 2005.

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15. Future Directions of BIMSTEC: Towards a Bay of Bengal Economic Community, (New Delhi: Research and Information System of Developing Countries (RIS), 2004), p. 26. 16. “What is BIMSTEC?”, www.bimstec.org. 17. Ibid., p. 27. 18. Straits Times, “New road link for S.E. Asia and India”, 24 December 2003. 19. “Clean Air Initiative: Asia”, www.clearairnet.org/caiasia; “Rail Link From New Delhi to Hanoi Discussed in Phnom Penh”; also New Destination (Vietnam), Issue 28, October/December 2003, www.exotissimo.com. 20. K. J. Joseph and Govindan Parayil, “India and ASEAN Co-operation in Information and Communication Technologies: Issues and Prospects”, RIS-DP, no. 70/2004, April 2004. 21. Inder Malhotra, “Pursue ‘Look East’ policy purposefully” and “Features Samachar”, [email protected], 14 December 2004. 22. Sridharan, “The Contours of India’s Foreign Economic Policy”, p. 91. 23. Myanmar Times and Business Review, “Pipeline meeting to be held later this month”, 21–27 February 2005; see also other reports in Myanmar Times, 17–23 January 2005 and 24–30 January 2005. 24. The Nation, “BIMSTEC Linking South and Southeast Asia”, 28 July 2004. 25. S. D. Muni, China’s Strategic Engagement with the “New ASEAN”, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Monograph No. 2 (Singapore: IDSS, 2002), p. 107. 26. The Hindu, 9 November 2000. 27. Amit Barual, “Mekong project aimed at economic development”, The Hindu, 10 November, 2000. 28. Straits Times, 22 November 2004. 29. Ali Alatas, “International Relations in the Era of Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for India–ASEAN Cooperation”, in India–ASEAN Partnership in an Era of Globalization: Reflections by Eminent Persons, edited by Research and Information System for the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries (RIS) (New Delhi: RIS, 2002), p. 129. 30. Myanmar Times, “Downstream Mekong nations worry about China’s thirst for hydro-power”, 14–20 February 2005. 31. ASEAN–India Vision 2020. 32. Ibid., p. 15. 33. Singapore Minister of State for Trade Vivian Balakrishnan at the India– ASEAN Forum, Singapore, June 2004. 34. Nagesh Kumar, “Longer Term Vision of Close Economic Cooperation between ASEAN and India”, ASEAN–India Forum, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 9 February 2004.

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35. Rahul Sen, ed., Regional Economic Integration: Case for a Regional Export Credit Agency for Asia (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2005). 36. Nagesh Kumar, “The Vision of an Asian Economic Community”, in Towards an Asian Economic Community: Vision of a New Asia, edited by Nagesh Kumar (New Delhi: Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS); Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2004), p. 10. 37. Mukul G. Asher and Rahul Sen, “India and East Asia Integration”, RIS Discussion Paper No. 91/2005, New Delhi, 2005. 38. Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo as quoted in Straits Times, 7 March 2005. 39. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during the question-and-answer session after the Twenty-Fifth Singapore Lecture, organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies on 16 February 2005 40. Straits Times, “India included in summit on Asia bloc”, 12 April 2005.

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5 DEMOCRACY, CULTURE AND THE INDIAN DIASPORA

In today’s world of rapid communication and globalization, mutuality of interests of comprehensive and human security which encompasses socio-political, economic or cultural dimension can make an important contribution to the building of security convergence between two nations. As non-traditional issues of security have become a major global concern, intrasociety or intranational aspects of security will also need close attention. The role of civil society or non-state players is on the rise and it is being witnessed in Southeast Asia and India. In fact, in the context of these countries, it should be recalled that from ancient times, the contact was mainly through non-state players like traders, artisans, scholars, priests and artists who weaved a strong fabric of intricate relationships between the two societies and countries. Their role would, therefore, be crucial in the future as well. Former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas has stated that he believes: India and ASEAN can do more for each other’s security by cooperating in the field of economic and social development than if they cooperated in the political and security field alone. For if they succeed in that kind of cooperation they help remove the environment of poverty and ignorance in which terrorism thrives, they help remove the distrust and the tendency to miscalculation that often results in interstate wars, and also address the issue of globalization and the persistent socio-political issues of our time.1

In dealing with the demands made by deepening globalization and increasing democratization, which includes large-scale movement of persons and cultural flows cutting across national boundaries, it is seen that the traditional definition and assumptions of security are inadequate to meet the new challenges. This is particularly witnessed when more

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non-state players such as terrorists are found to operate on a global level, or when a pandemic such as SARS or bird flu hits several countries, disrupting the lives of millions. Perhaps a retooling of the approach to address the socio-political or cultural needs of the people will have to be seriously thought of to overcome the limitations of the traditional parameters of security and where necessary, to duly supplement them. While economic development is undoubtedly an essential component for the progress of any society, it is equally true that social and political development is the foundation for nation-building. The socio-political institutions that a country establishes in the process of nation-building are, therefore, its important assets and strengths. The political system of a nation-state is a by-product of its historical and socio-cultural experience and a reflection of its goals and aspirations. Interestingly, civil societies that are emerging today often act as its conscience-keeper. In analysing any security convergence or divergence between neighbouring countries like Southeast Asia and India, it is useful to understand the political processes that go into the evolution of decision-making. Inevitably, they have a close bearing on the issues related to human security such as human rights, independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press, employment opportunities and migration. Today, these issues have become more relevant as the political or economic discourse around the world is deeply influenced by the surge in globalization and greater acceptance of democratization. After their common historical experience of colonialism, India and Southeast Asian countries, except Thailand which was not colonized, adopted varying political systems in the post-colonial period. They have ranged from monarchy, democracy, communism to military rule. In the past five decades, the march towards the form of government in these countries has been largely conditioned by their individual sociocultural background as well as socio-political evolution. Each of these countries has gone through a distinctive historical experience and evolved its own ethos. In India, the long freedom struggle which was a mass movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi led to the formation of a republic based on a democratic and secular constitution. The evolution of India’s parliamentary democratic structure has its roots in the country’s religious, ethnic or cultural diversity and plurality. In Southeast Asia, the experience of individual countries has been varied. From being authoritarian regimes not too long ago, Indonesia and Thailand have emerged as democracies. On the other hand, Myanmar has had military

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rule for most of the period since its independence. As stated earlier, the choice of a particular type of government is for the people of that country to make and, therefore, there can be no question of any comparison with others with regard to the system of governance. However, it is necessary to understand and analyse how the governance in India or Southeast Asian countries has had repercussions — sociocultural, economic or political — within the boundaries of the countries and on the countries in the neighbourhood. In the context of growing interdependence and regionalism, this is particularly relevant.

COPING WITH NEW CHALLENGES Prior to 1990, the ideological divide in the world revolved primarily around communism. In the West’s battle against communism, violations of democratic principles or human rights in a country were often overlooked as long as the latter joined hands in the cause against that ideology. Military rulers in Pakistan and Pinochet in Chile were some examples. The West won the Cold War, conventional wisdom holds, not because of its military superiority but because of the strength of its social, economic and political institutions.2 In the cultural or ideological “triumphalism” that was witnessed since then, there was insistence that the road to progress should go through democracy and human rights. Amitav Acharya has commented that: The early 1990s saw human rights and democracy gaining a new salience as a result of the changing new international environment, especially with the greater emphasis on human rights and democracy in the policy agenda of Western governments.3

Today this new triumvirate, namely, democracy, human rights and globalization has assumed a central position in the post-modernist period. In the circumstances, Asian countries seemed to have found strength in their own value system. Buoyed by its strong economic growth and advance in human development in the 1980s and 1990s, the countries of East and Southeast Asia felt bold enough to point out that the “Asian values” practised by them were no less human or inferior than the set of values of the West, which the latter was propounding albeit with great selectivity to suit its own strategic interests. In articulating the Asian values, the East and Southeast Asians had emphasized Asia’s historical

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tradition of hospitality, tolerance and accommodation which reflected Asia’s rich diversity and plurality. The Asian values sought conflict resolution through consultation (musyawarah) and consensus (muafakat). The Asian financial and economic crisis of 1997–98 was said to have dealt a blow to the proud advocacy of the Asian values; there was a reassertion of “we told you so” argument by the cynics. No doubt, the painful experience of the financial crisis led to an introspection and reassessment among the Asian policy-makers and thinkers of the tenability of the concept. The resilience of the East and Southeast Asian societies and economies has, however, shown that its intrinsic validity and strength remain unaffected. The Asian values was largely regarded as an ASEAN-inspired concept with a strong imprint of the East Asian Confucian philosophy. For a while, the West and several countries of Southeast and East Asia seemed to have differences over the compatibility between democracy and economic development. Kishore Mahbubani has commented that: the key question remains whether Asian minds will be able to develop the right blend of values that will both preserve some of the traditional strengths of Asian values (e.g. attachment to the family as an institution, deference to societal interests, thrift, conservatism in social mores, respect for authority) as well as absorb the strengths of Western values (the emphasis on individual achievement, political and economic freedom, respect for the rule of law as well as for key national institutions). This will be a complex challenge.4

Interestingly, however, the two sides now appear to have moved to a broadly common path, namely, more democracy and more economic development. India is somewhat in different position from both. While it adopted the Westminster form of parliamentary democracy and adapted it to its own socio-political milieu, its sociocultural value system is, however, essentially Asian. Perhaps not identical to the East Asian system, but typically Indian. Like the East and Southeast Asian system, India values family hierarchy and order, filial loyalties, emphasis on education, literacy and self-development. Features such as a social order as expressed in the caste, religious philosophy or linguistic sub-cultural diversity also formed the components of the Indian value system. However, the “Asianness” is distinctly common to both India and Southeast Asia.

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A DIALOGUE OVER DEMOCRACY If India was not regarded as a constituent of the grouping of the countries observing the Asian values, it was possibly because for years India had not been part of the mainstream East and Southeast Asian politicoeconomic dynamic. The “Asian miracle”, which included the economic tigers and the flying geese model, did not cover India as its socioeconomic philosophy seemed different from that of most countries in East and Southeast Asia. The highly successful economic performance, especially in infrastructural development put Southeast Asian countries in a separate league from India. On the political plane, too, the Indian democratic system was seen as distinctive and disparate from the types of governments of a number of East and Southeast Asian nations. However, as stated earlier, the Indian socio-political or cultural norms were closely related to the common Asianness. The Indian tradition of tolerance and accommodation is age-old. In fact, the adage “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” from the Indian ancient scriptures clearly points to the firm belief in inclusiveness when it says that the whole world should be one’s own family. The Indian ethos has also been marked by pluralism — religious, ethnic, linguistic and cultural. The basic tenet of everyday life that has evolved as a result is “live and let live”, peaceful co-existence among individuals, subsections of a society or nations. And this is consistent with the basic teachings of all religions which incidentally are Asian in origin and are practised in one form or another in India. The Asian values are thus pan-Asian in character. If political ideologies followed by individual countries tended to cause rifts in this value system it was a relatively recent phenomenon. Democracy, good governance, freedom of the press and the judiciary, and human rights are today regarded as yardsticks by which the progress (or lack of it) of a country is measured. Surely, these values are unexceptional, and there is no disputing the fact that countries around the world, including Southeast Asian countries and India, practise them in the form and manner which suit their socio-political ethos or cultural tradition. There could be successes in this pursuit, or flaws and deficiencies. It is not an argument for apology. Nor a reiteration of the argument for non-interference on grounds of sovereignty. It has to be understood that a country itself should be the best judge to evaluate its performance and take suitable action to reform, where necessary. However, if an outside attempt is made to push a certain timetable or

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prescribe a set of measures to determine the performance of the country in the areas such as democracy, human rights or freedom of press, there would inevitably be displeasure and possibly resistance. In the post-Cold War period and in the era of globalization there are voices such as that of Professor Fukuyama whose main thesis as spelt out in his book The End of History and the Last Man was that liberal democracy had finally overcome all other ideologies, literally putting an end to history seen as a series of confrontation between ideologies.5 One can see the force in this argument especially since the model of governance that is broadly followed around the world or aspired for is that of liberal democracy. However, it can also be pointed out that the factor of individual sociopolitical, ethnic, cultural or socioeconomic characteristics is no less influential or important. It is against this backdrop that the philosophical basis, its need and ramifications of a dialogue on democracy between India and Southeast Asian countries requires examination. A question could be posed: why a dialogue on democracy, culture and human rights? Surely, these are internal and sovereign matters for a country and, therefore, in the classical diplomatic practice, should fall outside its purview. Even assuming that in the post-Cold War era, the definition of diplomacy or interstate relations has undergone a change as can be seen with the ever-increasing role and influence of civil society, it could be asked what special or specific agenda do India and the countries of Southeast Asia have to discuss so as to include these issues in their dialogue. Do they contribute to the promotion of security with respect to each other? And if so, how? Apprehension of any kind vis-à-vis each other is the cause of insecurity. If co-operative security is to be promoted, the foremost need is to remove any source of apprehension or fear. There may not be always a clear case of commonality or complementarity as far as mutual needs or interests are concerned. For example, in the areas under discussion, namely, democracy, human rights or culture, there could be different viewpoints or emphasis. “What is more important is the perceived necessity to strengthen relationships. Mostly, the mutuality of interests and the felt needs are likely to exert a strong pressure to pursue a special relationship.”6 A stable society marked by good governance, transparent institutions and accountability generates a sense of security in the eyes of the other. This is what India looks for in the socio-political landscape of Southeast Asia. India is conscious of and sensitive to the diversity of the governing structures of the regimes, as indeed to the sociocultural,

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ethnic and religious tapestry of the region. After all, India itself is home to such rich diversity. Buddhism and Hinduism, which have shaped Southeast Asia’s history and culture, originated from India and are still practised by millions today. Islam, the principal faith in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, also went to Southeast Asia via India. Today, India has the second largest population of Muslims in the world. It is also noteworthy that most of the societies of Southeast Asia and India are predominantly religious (as against having any particular religion as a state religion) where people especially in the countryside have been following their religion peacefully. It is the practice of their respective religions in the vast rural areas of India with due regard to other religions that has preserved the fabric of peaceful co-existence in India. As political thinker Ashis Nandy has observed: In India, a huge majority of riots — indeed nearly all of them — take place in cities. Even the few that take place in villages begin almost always in the cities…. To go to an Indian village to teach tolerance through secularism is a form of arrogance.7

This observation, I believe, would also apply to much of the countryside of Southeast Asia, thus proving the point that no religion can be the cause of violence. Dr Syed Farid Alatas, a professor at the National University of Singapore has commented: It is precisely when we are steeped in our own tradition that we recognize the richness of others. It is that recognition that leads to the suppression of extremist orientations towards others.8

Like Southeast Asia, India, too, has hundreds of ethnic groups, languages and dialects, and cultural traditions, many of which happen to be common and overlapping. In terms of political ideology, again, the diversity and variety is striking. The political spectrum in India spreads from the extreme right to extreme left, and the Indian democratic system seems adept and mature to accommodate it, constitutionally and peacefully. It was in India that the Communists, for the first time ever, decided to choose an electoral path, way back in 1957. Even today, elected representatives of Communist parties run three state (province) governments; the Parliament in New Delhi, too, has a large number of Communist members. Interestingly, in Southeast Asia, too, the political ideological spectrum is quite wide. At one end there is a monarchy; while at the other, there are Communist regimes. Not

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surprisingly, therefore, India should wish to interact with Southeast Asia on the issues of democracy and human rights with an approach that is characterized not by any form of interference, but as a civilizational interface and dialogue. The dialogue can be held simultaneously at all levels — government, parliament members and law makers, business, press, academics, civil society and professionals. Clearly, the intensity of interaction at the people-to-people level would need to be intensified. In that way a more mature understanding about each other would be developed. In the democracies of Southeast Asia, some of which are re-emerging after a long gap, there is a great deal of enthusiasm for readopting this form of governance, but also some anxiety whether democracy and economy can grow together. To a question raised by the Jakarta Post, India’s Foreign Minister K. Natwar Singh explained: From India’s experience … there is absolutely no evidence to sustain a correlation between authoritarian rule and economic growth or to indicate that democratic societies are unable to bolster rapid economic progress. In fact, for developing societies it is even more essential to enjoy democratic, transparent and accountable governance … it is the task of democratic governments to remain engaged and responsive to public needs. And last but not the least, for pluralistic societies like those of India and Indonesia, it is only democracy and its accountable institutions, which can provide long-term stability.9

With growing democratization in Southeast Asia, there will be yet another common thread with India, namely, the imperative felt by both for balancing economic growth with public good. Following the elections in India and a number of Asian countries during 2004, governments there are experiencing a “new dimension of democracy — the power of the individual voter”, as described by Michael Vatikiotis, former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review. He further quoted a Malaysian intellectual, Chandra Muzaffar, who remarked that “the lesson from India is that we need economic reform that doesn’t ignore people and governance that is related to social justice and efforts to eradicate corruption.”10 The research finding of an Indian Nobel Laureate Dr Amartya Sen that democracies are responsive to the concerns of the common people and therefore famines are least likely to happen there can also be a useful guideline to the countries in Southeast Asia which, like India are developing countries.

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The test of maturity and mutual respect for each others’ political institutions will be witnessed if India and Southeast Asian countries show greater openness and understanding about each other’s achievements or failings. India’s gigantic democratic election process in which more than 650 million people exercised their rights in the 2004 election (through electronic voting, an extraordinary feat for a developing country) and demonstrated their power to change the ruling regime peacefully is looked upon with awe and is admired in Southeast Asia, as indeed around the world. Independence of the Indian media and judiciary is also highly thought of. At the same time, India’s lack of success so far in addressing effectively its massive poverty, insurgency in several parts of the country, especially in the northeast (bordering Southeast Asia) and the occurrence of violent communal incidents like in Ayodhya, Gujarat also remain highlighted in the minds of the people. The portrayal of Southeast Asia in India is usually focused on its remarkable socioeconomic progress, infrastructural development and the long record of avoidance of military conflict while maintaining regional peace and harmony, despite intra-ASEAN differences. At the same time, the violence in East Timor, the terrorist incidents and killings of innocents in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, political deadlock in Myanmar, and the occurrence of discrimination against minorities do not go unnoticed. In a dialogue between India and Southeast Asian countries all such aspects would inevitably feature, especially in the press and media, civil groups and among academics. In fact, it is desirable to have the totality of the picture of both sides. What is important is that the attitude to project each other should be constructive and not aimed at focusing on the negative aspects alone. Thanks to better communications including through space and information technology, a truthful and non-biased presentation is now possible. India and Southeast Asian countries should equip themselves with such technology through co-operation. Essentially, India and Southeast Asian countries should feel secure enough to be frank and critical of each other, wherever necessary. This way they would be able to build mutual trust and friendship.

Asian Co-operation Dialogue Asian Co-operation Dialogue (ACD) is a Thai initiative to create a continent-wide forum to act as a catalyst for spurring co-operation and

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dialogue among the bilateral, multilateral, subregional and regional partnerships among Asian countries from Japan in the east to the Middle East and central Asian countries in the west. It has been suggested that it could serve as a missing link between the existing inter-regional groupings such as APEC, ASEM and subregional groupings. ACD may not have progressed much beyond three ministeriallevel meetings so far, but in its pan-Asian character this grouping is a constructive attempt to have a dialogue among disparate political regimes on issues of political governance and development which seem to affect Asian countries similarly.

Democracy as a Perception of Security The wheels of democracy may grind steadily, but as they do so, they create an openness and a sense of predictability. A democratic society can scarcely be expected to take decisions which will sanction aggressive action or violence. For India, democracy is not just a way of life, but is an inseparable article of faith. In the past five decades, India has seldom used democracy as a factor in its foreign policy. It may be interesting to see if democracy in a country would lend a sense of security to others, especially in the neighbourhood. It is a common knowledge that a democracy permits greater knowledge and transparency of the functioning mechanisms, political, economic or social, thereby creating a sense of reasonable predictability and an assurance of the primacy of institutions over individuals. The Indian system may therefore be viewed with a feeling of security by Southeast Asian societies.

CULTURE AS ORGANIC BONDS “I see India everywhere, but I don’t recognize it”, thus observed poetphilosopher Rabindranath Tagore during his visit to Java in 1927. His Asian sojourn also included Singapore, Bali, Thailand and Japan. Tagore was able to see how the Indian culture had over the centuries been completely assimilated into the cultures of the land, thus producing a beautiful synthesis. Perhaps no other aspect of India had such a deep and defining influence on Southeast Asia as the culture in its multiple facets such as religions and philosophy, arts and architecture, literature and language, costumes and textiles. Trade in textiles, which constituted a major economic activity, created a cultural tradition for Indian textiles

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in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia which has lasted to date. In textiles, iconography and imagery from India got fully assimilated with the local forms which in many ways were not dissimilar. The political and administrative institutions especially the concept of devaraja (Godking monarch), governmental hierarchy and social organization are largely shaped by the Indian practices. In a sense, the relationship in the area of culture was unique because it was not transmission of cultural ideas from one unified region to another, but ideas and customs from various regions of India to a variety of cultures of Southeast Asia. And all this happened in peaceful exchanges intended for cultural and commercial purposes. The sociocultural mosaic that Southeast Asia presents today is itself an integrated picture of its dialogue within itself and the neighbouring countries, especially India and China. This can become a factor for strategic stability and security. Today, culture has come to the forefront of global politics. Interstate tensions and conflicts are being attributed to the differences in cultures. They often take the colour of ethnic or racial divides. Provocative hypotheses like Samuel Huntington’s “impending clash of civilisations” get considerable currency. Coming to Southeast Asia, the post-September 11 situation in the region is often attempted to be shown by outsiders as for or against Islam. In India, too, the continuing battle against terrorism is on occasions misinterpreted by cynics as a persistent “clash of civilizations”. Despite this, it can be said that the sociocultural fabric in Southeast Asia as well as in India woven by long-established norms of peaceful co-existence and mutual respect is still intact. In the elections held in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, and also in India during 2004, it was witnessed that moderate leaders and parties were voted to power by the electorate. The main driver of politics today is seen to be the desire of the state and the people for security, human and economic.

CULTURE AS A “SOFT POWER” Culture has been also described as a “soft power” and its influence is said to be growing in direct proportion to the spread of globalization. According to Joseph Nye, soft power is the ability to get what one wants by attracting others rather than threatening or paying them. It is based on culture, political ideals and policies.11 As far as India and Southeast Asia are concerned, does this soft power have any role in the contemporary

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context in determining their relationship? India, no doubt, has had a long history of an extraordinary cultural imprint on Southeast Asia. But, can “cultural power” be a substitute for “hard commercial or economic power”? The answer to the latter question, essentially hypothetical, can at best be an indirect one. The two, namely, culture and economic strength, may not be always closely related though they can be supplementary to each other. At the same time culture itself has the potential to act as a penetrating force. The global impact of the U.S. popular culture of jeans, Coca Cola, MacDonalds, pop music, bestseller books and fashion cannot be overemphasized. India too has its share of soft power in the form of Bollywood movies, ayurveda, yoga, food and music. In Southeast Asia the continuum of India’s cultural attraction can be seen even today in the shape of a positive resonance to Indian films, dance and music. Interestingly, throughout most of Southeast Asia (as indeed much of the developing world), India’s film stars like Amitabh Bachhan, Aishwarya Rai or Shah Rukh Khan have become icons of India’s cultural image. If, today, their “presence” in millions of homes across Southeast Asia is a source of joy and fellow feeling, then their contribution to enhancing the comfort level between India and Southeast Asia cannot be insignificant. Knowledge, education and human resource development is a living cultural expression. Coincidently, in the ancient times of intensive India–Southeast Asia interaction too, the emphasis was mainly on these aspects. Today they are strengths and assets for both India as well as Southeast Asian countries. The two are poised to learn from each other in these areas and in the process enrich and strengthen themselves. There are a number of avenues in which this is already being achieved. This includes networking of universities such as the linking of Indian higher educational institutions with the ASEAN University Network, systemizing accreditation of universities and institutions with each other, exchange of professors and experts in information technology, biotechnology and biomedics, joint research in frontline areas of agriculture, food processing and higher science and technology and the exchanges of students and professors in social sciences and economics. Some of India’s best educational institutions like the Manipal Medical College or Delhi Public School or Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan have opened branches in Malaysia and Singapore respectively. Malaysian doctors have had a long association with the Manipal institution with hundreds of Malaysian doctors trained there. IT educational institutes like NIIT

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and APTECH have started several centres in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. The well-known Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai has entered into an arrangement to enrol eligible students from the National University of Singapore. Meanwhile, a large number of Indian students are coming to the management universities in Bangkok, Singapore or Manila even as students and officials from Southeast Asia are going for higher studies and training in science and technology, medicine, IT and agriculture in India. With regard to ASEAN Centres in India or India Centres in ASEAN, there is little progress so far. It should, however, be mentioned that Singapore has taken a laudable initiative in setting up an Institute of South Asian Studies in 2004. Corresponding steps need to be taken in India where Southeast Asian studies at the academic or business level have so far remained marginal. The Plan of Action to Implement India– ASEAN Partnership for Peace, Prosperity and Progress which their leaders formalized in November 2004 includes such fields. Active implementation of the steps to enhance academic and cultural exchanges would be necessary in the coming years.

ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY How private and non-governmental organizations (PINGOs) in India and Southeast Asia can promote greater understanding and co-operation on governance issues like democratic institutions, pluralism or human rights would form an interesting study. The most important are the press and electronic media, think-tanks and academic institutions, social activist groups and private businesses.12 Such NGOs can create networks and chains through which they can dispel misinformation and misperception about each other. Through exchange of experiences and information they can seek to create useful public opinion in respective countries. PINGOs have thus a large potential to contribute to enhancing the cultural image of the country they come from. Increasingly, it is this medium of PINGOs that would be counted upon.

THE INDIAN DIASPORA The diaspora of any country provides a human dimension to the links between two countries. It can serve as a useful vehicle in the transmission of ideas or cultural norms of the country of its origin. The diaspora

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is also seen to act as an effective catalyst in bringing investments and technology. The example of the Chinese diaspora’s remarkable contribution in China is well known. The diaspora can thus be an important player in creating a more secure and durable relationship between the countries of its residence and origin. The Indian diaspora, like its counterparts in the Chinese, Korean, the Filipino or Japanese diaspora has played an important part in projecting all over the world the dimension of the country of its origin. In the melting pot of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of Southeast Asia, the large Indian diaspora is another important flavour. Of the total Indian diaspora of about 20 million spread around the world there is a sizeable number in this region, principally in three countries, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar. They are also in a small number in Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei. According to the High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora which submitted its report to the Indian Government in January 2002, the following are the approximate number of Indians in Southeast Asian countries: Brunei, 7,600; Indonesia, 55,000; Malaysia, 1.67 million; Myanmar, possibly 2.9 million; the Philippines, 38,500; Singapore, 307,000; Thailand, 85,000; and a very small number in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. A common feature is that although the Indian communities have on the whole integrated well with the local population, they are still culturally very active, have preserved their traditions and maintained their links with India.13 Considering that the Indian cultural influence has spread across Southeast Asia for centuries, curiously, there is hardly any ethnic Indian presence which dates back to ancient times. These Indians were among the first globalizers. However, the population of the people of Indian origin in Southeast Asia before the British colonization was very small. During the early period of the British rule, several parts of Southeast Asia such as Singapore, Penang and the Straits Settlements were ruled from India. Burma was a province of British India till 1937. The British rulers brought to Malaya, Singapore and Burma a large number of Indian immigrants. A majority of them were plantation workers and farmers. The saga of these people who toiled for decades under gruelling conditions to carve a place for themselves in the local societies is a painful but glorious one. Indians have come to form a recognized minority in all the Southeast Asian countries except Indochina. In each of these countries, the process of assimilation and/or integration differs according to the political and

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social opportunities that are present. Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines allow ethnic communities to integrate at their own pace. In Malaysia and Singapore, Indians have been recognized as an important political group, thus allowing integration to take place selectively between Malays and Muslim Indians.14

In Southeast Asia, the Indian diaspora and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s heroic struggle for India’s independence present a historical and emotional bond. They also acted as a unifying factor among diverse Indian ethnic and religious groups in Southeast Asia. Despite the fact that Indians were viewed as a homogeneous entity by the various colonial powers that dominated Southeast Asia in the pre-war period, Indians viewed themselves as belonging to communities along linguistic, regional or religious boundaries. The concept of being associated with one common geographical area was only evident during World War II period with the formation of the Indian National Army to liberate the Indian sub-continent from the British colonial rule. Subhash Chandra Bose, in his speech while reviewing the Indian National Army (INA) on 5 July 1943 in Singapore said: “Though India is otherwise ripe for independence in every way, she has lacked one thing, namely, an army of liberation.” In his first public meeting in Singapore on 9 July 1943, Bose had put forward his famous total mobilization scheme. He said, “time has come for three million Indians living in East Asia to mobilize all their available resources including money and manpower.”15 From Singapore, the INA’s march through Malaya, Thailand and Burma and its fight against the British till 1945 constitutes a brave and patriotic chapter in the Indian history in which thousands of Indian men and women from Southeast Asia made great sacrifices. After India’s independence, a small number of Indians living in Southeast Asia returned to India. From Burma, there was an exodus to India during World War II. However, a majority of Indians stayed back in their countries of residence. The government of India’s advice to the people of Indian origin to integrate fully in the country of their adoption as their home no doubt disappointed many who had hoped that India’s protective arm would always be available. India’s position in this regard was in contrast to that of the Chinese government in Beijing. China regarded the Chinese living abroad as Overseas Chinese, whereas India termed the Indians living abroad as the people of Indian origin. In situations of conflict with the local government on the issue of interests

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of the Indians, India often found itself in an ambivalent position. If India fully supported the cause of the Indian community, it would not only alienate the local government, but would also not help the Indians in the long run as the latter had to eventually depend on the country of their residence. India has faced this dilemma with respect of the people of Indian origin in several countries of the world, for example, Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad, Uganda, Burma and Malaysia. While sympathetic to and supportive of the concerns of the Indian community, the government of India preferred not to interfere in the internal affairs of other governments. In Southeast Asia, this happened in Burma in 1964 after General Ne Win nationalized all businesses, and the large Indian community became homeless and penniless overnight. In 1970, in Malaysia, the enactment of the New Economic Policy (NEP) had created difficulties for the Chinese and Indian communities. It is not that today the situation of the people of Indian origin is entirely satisfactory everywhere. In Myanmar, most of them remain without the nationality of the country of their residence for decades. In fact, they hold no nationality of any country and are stateless. In Malaysia, press reports indicate that the country’s “ethnic Indian minority is among the worst affected by the country’s rapid modernization drive following independence. About 30 per cent of Malaysian Indians have been left behind by the country’s modernization, industrialization and globalisation policies.”16 This is despite the fact that the Indians in these countries had long regarded themselves as citizens of the country of adoption and tried to adapt themselves accordingly. This notwithstanding, in Southeast Asia, the achievements of a number of ethnic Indians, in political, business, and the professional fields, and the arts, are outstanding. The results of their tenacity, hard work and determination are there for everyone to see. For example, the President of Singapore, Mr S. R. Nathan is of Indian origin. So are a number of ministers in Singapore. There are several leading businessmen, lawyers, doctors, diplomats, academics and sportsmen. In Malaysia, too, there are ministers and political leaders of Indian origin, and also leading businessmen and professionals. In most countries of Southeast Asia, the Indian community has made notable contribution to the local economic and social life. There are thriving Indian business communities in Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Their investments in fields like textiles, chemicals, cement,

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steel, electronics, and housing and construction are major assets to the latter countries. L. N. Mittal set up his first steel plant in Surabaya, Indonesia and went on to become the world’s largest steel producer. India values the role that the people of Indian origin have played and the contribution they have made in their adopted countries. On their part, the Indians in these countries always seemed to believe that the success and prosperity of India would reflect positively on them even though there was no direct connection. To them, Mother India still provides cultural and spiritual sustenance. It is a sentimental bond for them. Singapore’s former Foreign Minister and presently Deputy Prime Minister Professor S. Jayakumar emphasized the cultural dimension in Indo–Singapore and India–ASEAN relations when he said: In our cooperation with each other, we are fortunate to enjoy close historical and cultural ties. This promotes mutual trust and confidence, which makes for good rapport between our peoples. As we focus on developing economic and political links, it is important that we continue to strengthen our cultural links.17

It should be mentioned that the Indian diaspora gets a place of pride in India. For some time now, India is engaged in formally developing a symbiotic relationship with the people of Indian origin across the globe. At the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (or Overseas Indians’ Day) meet in Mumbai on 7 January 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced dual citizenship for all overseas Indians who migrated from India after 26 January 1950, as long as their home countries allow dual citizenship under their local laws.18 This is a major assurance to Indians abroad that they would be able to maintain their legal linkage with India in the future. Under a series of recommendations made by the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora and other bodies, the Indian Government is receptively looking into various ways and means to bring about a closer equation and dialogue between India and the people of Indian origin living abroad. On 9 January each year, in India there will be a global convention of the people of Indian origin. The date marks the return of Mahatma Gandhi, the most celebrated non-resident Indian, to India from South Africa where he stayed for twenty years and started his non-violent satyagraha (civil disobedience) movement. The ubiquitous image of an NRI (non-resident Indian) as someone with a wallet full of money (welcome in India for the investment that he may make) is today gradually being changed with a new image that

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he can also be catalyst in bringing together business and technology between India and the developed world. Just as in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the Indian diaspora has played a useful and effective role in Southeast Asia in projecting Indians as knowledge and technology-oriented people. In this region today, the voice of expatriate Indians is heard with respect. If IT has become synonymous with India, thereby raising India’s reputation around the world, the Indian diaspora has a lion’s share in it. In Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei, their number has grown significantly. They hold important positions in several fields including the banking industry, financial services, medicine and IT. They are professional, apolitical and modern in their approach. Through them a new India is being projected on the Southeast Asian scene. It is important that there should be closer dialogue and interface between the new generation of Indian professionals and businessmen travelling and settling outside India in large numbers and the Indian communities in Southeast Asian countries who have lived there for decades. For example, in Singapore, the number of Indian expatriates is estimated at 70,000; whereas the population of persons of Indian origin is around 300,000. The two groups may have different backgrounds and experience; yet have one thing in common — their origin in India. While building on these cultural bonds, they could synergize in other areas such as economy, business, IT and tourism. This would not only be in their mutual interest, but also of Singapore and India even as the two countries are promoting close links in a host of fields including under the Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement. In the coming years the Indian diaspora can thus continue to be an anchor of assurance that India and Southeast Asia could count on.

Notes 1. Ali Alatas, “International Relations in the Era of Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for India–ASEAN Cooperation”, in India–ASEAN Partnership in an Era of Globalization: Reflections by Eminent Persons, edited by Research and Information System for the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries (RIS) (New Delhi: RIS, 2002), p. 123. 2. Kishore Mahbubani, Can Asians Think? (Singapore: Times Media, 1998), p. 49. 3. Amitav Acharya, The Quest for Identity: International Relations of Southeast Asia (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 138.

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4. Mahbubani, Can Asians Think?, p. 34. 5. Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992). 6. R. Madhangopal, “India and ASEAN: Strengthening Cultural Cooperation”, in India and ASEAN: The Growing Partnership for the 21st Century, edited by K. S. Nathan (Kuala Lumpur: Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, 2000), p. 98. 7. Ashis Nandy, “A Billion Gandhis”, Outlook magazine, www.outlookindia.com. 8. Ali Alatas, “Clash of civilizations? No, it’s pure evil”, Straits Times, 16 July 2004. 9. K. Natwar Singh, “Democracy can provide long-term stability”, Jakarta Post, 2 July 2004. 10. Michael Vatikiotis, “Progress in the Asian State of Democracy”, Straits Times, 4 December 2004. 11. Joseph Nye, “Soft power is not about going easy on terror”, Straits Times, 23 April 2004; and “Mighty and Ugly US must regain its soft power”, Straits Times, 3 August 2004. 12. Kanti Bajpai, “Enhancing Ties between India and Southeast Asia: An Indian View”, in India, Southeast Asia and United States; New Opportunities and Prospects for Cooperation, Governance Issues, edited by Satu Limaye and Ahmed Mukarram (Asia Society Publication, 1998), p. 104. 13. Executive Summary in the “Report of the High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora”, p. xxii, at www. indiandiaspora.nic.in. 14. K. S. Sandhu and A. Mani, Indian Communities in Southeast Asia (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1993), p. xxi. 15. K. K. Ghosh, The Indian National Army (Meerut: Meenakshi Prakashan, 1969), p. 139. 16. Today (Singapore), “Malaysian Indians in a bad way”, 25 November 2004. 17. S. Jayakumar, statement at the first ASEAN–India Dialogue Session, Jakarta, 24 July 1996. 18. Press Release by Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Mumbai, 7 January 2005, www.indiaday.org.

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6 MYANMAR: A CHALLENGING FRONTIER

Myanmar (formerly Burma),1 the second largest country in ASEAN in terms of land area, is in many ways a bridge between ASEAN and India and yet a bridge not sufficiently crossed by either and, in the process, left uncared for. Recent history and geography seem to have relegated Myanmar to a neglected corner. For a large country with a rich-resource endowment, a proud past and a strategic location straddling China, India and Southeast Asia in three directions, its influence on the countries of the region has at best remained neutral or marginal. Yet, in India– Southeast Asia relations, Myanmar remains a crucial factor as the internal and external security of Myanmar has a direct and considerable bearing on the vital national interests of India as well as Southeast Asian countries. After all, India has a 1,600-kilometre land boundary with Myanmar, a member country of ASEAN. Today, Myanmar is the only country in ASEAN where political conditions still remain uncertain and unsettled. The situation in Myanmar marked by the political stand-off between the military and the charismatic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been attracting international attention and Western countries’ criticism of the regime for the treatment meted to her. ASEAN is also under fire from the West for not being able to take action against a member state with regard to the human rights situation there. This has often put ASEAN in a predicament. The matters of most immediate importance in Myanmar today are how leadership transitions will be achieved within the military regime and what economic policies the army will manage to put in place.2 A National Convention has been in progress since early 2004 and is entrusted with the drafting of a new Constitution. There is little expectation that the latter will usher in real democracy. Whether the new Constitution will meet the aspirations of numerous insurgent groups of minorities, which have observed ceasefire since the beginning of the Convention, is a moot question. While most of the ASEAN countries

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have recovered from the financial crisis and are registering steady to impressive growth, the Myanmar economy is still under severe strain. The economy is in a difficult state but there is no mass hunger. To keep the economy in a controlled state while it is scheduled to integrate itself with the ASEAN processes would constitute a challenge to the military. On the external front, the implications of the developments in Myanmar on the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region, especially on the neighbouring countries, assume importance. Myanmar’s turn in 2006 for the ASEAN Standing Committee’s chairmanship and the opportunity to host the dialogue partnership and summit meetings with regional and global powers was yet another serious and imminent issue. For ASEAN, this had become a major concern, and for Myanmar, a test. With Myanmar’s decision to pass up the chairmanship this time, the issue has been resolved at least temporarily. A brief background to Myanmar’s membership in ASEAN and ASEAN’s response to the developments in Myanmar in recent years would be useful even as the Myanmar–ASEAN relations had reached a delicate stage with Myanmar’s chairmanship of ASEAN approaching in 2006.

MYANMAR IN ASEAN Myanmar had chosen to remain in practical isolation from all its neighbours for over three decades until the mid-nineties when it decided to join ASEAN, perhaps hopeful that the membership will help withstand the pressure of censure and sanctions from the West and Japan for its handling of the democratic opposition led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Myanmar’s accession to ASEAN in 1997 was, however, not smooth. While there was broad support for the large northwestern neighbour to be part of the Southeast Asian grouping, there were several voices within ASEAN itself that were not particularly enthusiastic of Myanmar’s entry. This was because the military regime had drawn the wrath of a number of Western governments friendly to ASEAN members. Nevertheless, ASEAN clearly wishing not to be constrained in its decision-making by external pressure went ahead with inviting Myanmar to join the organization. Another factor might have been a desire on the part of Southeast Asian states to draw Yangon away from Beijing. In doing so, ASEAN also sought to find ways to pull Myanmar out of its isolation.

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In 1967, the founding members of ASEAN who spoke of “ASEAN 10” would have scarcely thought that the circumstances of completing this vision would be so difficult. In the mid-eighties when South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established, India had proposed that Burma should join SAARC; this, however, did not find favour with Burmese leaders keener on getting closer to their Southeast Asian neighbours.3 The prospect of Burma joining SAARC which has a large country like India as a key member was doubtful; Myanmar’s decision was possibly made when the military regime of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) saw that countries of Southeast Asia were more understanding than India with regard to the Myanmar military regime’s assumption and retention of power after 1988. Myanmar’s membership of ASEAN since 1997 has, however, not been a contention-free experience for fellow ASEAN members. As democratization became a growing trend within ASEAN, Myanmar’s military rule, unrelenting and uncompromising as it has shown to be in its treatment of the Nobel Laureate and the National League of Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi, posed a major question. Within ASEAN itself, there does not seem to be a unified position as to how to deal with the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) government even as the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Representative and former Malaysian diplomat Razali Ismail tried to start a dialogue between the military rulers and Aung San Suu Kyi. Since mid-2004, the Yangon authorities have not received him and the U.N. Secretary General’s representative on human rights. The sanctions regime of the United States against Myanmar, which was re-enacted by President Bush in June 2004, is firmly in place. Powerful members of the U.S. Congress are supportive of the sanctions. In 2003, the U.S. Treasury had designated Burma and two Burmese banks to be of “primary money laundering concern” and, under the new Patriot Act, had taken steps that would require U.S. financial institutions to terminate dealing with these entities.4 In 2003, the United States banned Myanmar imports worth approximately US$350 million, especially in textiles and garments.5 In the European Union (EU), there is a common position on economic sanctions though there is division among member states in the matter. ASEAN seemed to think that faced with the U.S. tough sanctions and EU’s common position, the Myanmar military regime would take steps which will help improve Myanmar’s image in the human rights field.

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In the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), which East Asia and Europe had been holding as a dialogue forum since 1996, Myanmar has become the major contentious point defying any other progress. In April 2004 in Dublin, ASEAN had rejected EU’s demands that Myanmar’s ruling junta made political concessions, such as lifting the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi before Myanmar was allowed to join ASEM. ASEAN had expected that the entry of four new members of ASEAN and ten new members of EU would take place simultaneously without any preconditions. The deadlock continued till the Hanoi ASEM summit in October 2004 when after several deliberations a compromise formula was arrived at in which Myanmar’s representation was agreed to at a lower level. The greater the Myanmar regime was subjected to isolation and censure, the closer it seemed to move towards China. It has been commented that: [China’s] defence co-operation with Myanmar has been most extensive and varied. It started soon after the military regime came into power in 1988 and the decision of the Chinese authorities in 1989 to fold up their links with the Burmese Communist Party (BCP) guerillas in northern and eastern Myanmar.6

The independence of foreign policy action which Myanmar so carefully guarded in the past underwent a major change since the late 1980s with China becoming the principal benefactor and supporter of the military regime. Over the past 15 years there have been numerous reports in the international media, professional journals and scholarly monographs that China has provided the Rangoon regime with a wide range of modern weapon systems, new military equipment, and arms production facilities.7

For Myanmar’s other important neighbour, Thailand, and other ASEAN members, this development is not without significance even as ASEAN grapples with the vexed question of a common security outlook or the concept of ASEAN Security Community. For India, another neighbour of Myanmar, the implications were direct and no less important. For a long time, Myanmar seemed to maintain an equidistance from both China and India. While China’s diplomatic gestures and incentives, such as its accession to the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation, agreement to develop an FTA with ASEAN, and large-scale bilateral financial packages to the new ASEAN members, may be viewed by ASEAN

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countries as positive developments in line with China’s growing engagement with ASEAN, there was wariness in the region of China’s increasing influence in Myanmar.8

ASEAN’S POSITION ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN MYANMAR ASEAN’s predicament over the uncompromising position adopted by the generals in Yangon vis-à-vis Aung San Suu Kyi had been evident from the time Myanmar was welcomed in ASEAN. Yet, ASEAN states were clear in their approach to Myanmar: engagement as against confrontation. ASEAN countries seemed to have felt that they were in a better position to engage and influence Myanmar as an insider of the organization, even though it meant that ASEAN’s principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a member state would come into question in Myanmar’s case. A number of ASEAN leaders had expressed the need for “humanitarian intervention” in Myanmar, but desisted from translating that into policy. ASEAN has increasingly found it difficult not to react to the military regime’s action against the NLD leader. Following the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi on 30 May 2003 and the clashes between NLD followers and the army, ASEAN had dropped its decade-long stand of not commenting on the internal situation in Myanmar and called for her release. ASEAN might have feared that the very credibility of the organization would be in question if it showed a weak commitment to democracy. At the same time any hard decision such as Myanmar’s suspension from the organization could spell a threat to ASEAN’s own cohesion. At the Bali summit in October 2003, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from detention and the assurance by the then Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt of a “roadmap” as a step-by-step approach towards democracy seemed to help avoid a showdown. Nevertheless, the catch-22 situation for ASEAN had continued; if they acted tough with Myanmar economically, it would be ineffective. It might also appear that they were yielding to the Western pressure. On the other hand, if they did not show strong displeasure, the Myanmar regime might not feel pressed enough to grant freedom to Aung San Suu Kyi or take steps towards democratic liberalization. Singapore’s Foreign Minister was reported to have said that Singapore did not believe that the current situation in Myanmar served Myanmar’s interests or the interests of the region as a whole.9 He went on to state that there were few realistic options other than diplomacy

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as economic sanctions against Myanmar had limited effect and that public condemnation was likely to be counter-productive. The Western media, however, had been generally sceptical of ASEAN’s approach. The Economist had criticized ASEAN’s action at the Bali summit by stating that: Even by the standards of ASEAN it was a dismal performance. The ASEAN leaders ladled praise on Myanmar for its “positive” and “pragmatic” recent policies. These, it appeared, meant the transfer of Myanmar’s most famous citizen from prison to house arrest … ASEAN should expel Myanmar, not congratulate its military leaders … ASEAN’s good achievements in other fields run the risk of being undermined by ASEAN’s complicity in the gross abuses committed by one of its members.10

Political events in Myanmar had once again brought the spotlight on the country during the tenth ASEAN summit in Laos in November 2004. At the Vientiane summit, the Myanmar issue got entangled with the situation of violence in southern Thailand when Thai Prime Minister Shinawatra threatened to fly back without attending the meeting if the issue of Thai Muslim violence was raised at the summit. At the same time he said he still believed the carrot rather than the stick was the best approach in dealing with the military regime in Yangon.11 Differences within ASEAN on the Myanmar situation came to the fore. The Malaysian Foreign Minister insisted that the Myanmar issue be brought into the open since it could have far-reaching implications for regional security. Countering Prime Minister Thaksin’s threat, he told reporters there was “no such thing as absolute non-interference”.12 Western press nevertheless remained critical of ASEAN. However inconvenient it may be for Mr Thaksin and Burma’s generals, ASEAN leaders must discuss the critical issues of the moment or consign their organization to irrelevance … Burma, by delaying democracy, and Thailand, by seeking to crush resentful Muslims, are pursuing the wrong policies. Their neighbours have the right to tell them so.13

Although the joint statement issued by ASEAN leaders after their annual summit made no mention of Myanmar, the leaders of Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand made pointed bilateral comments of concern. In December 2004, Indonesia, too, accused the military regime in Myanmar of backtracking on pledges to introduce political reforms and

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release Suu Kyi. Indonesia and the others are worried that Myanmar’s reputation is tarnishing ASEAN and undermining ties with the West.14 The Myanmar issue had not remained confined to the governments in ASEAN alone; ASEAN parliamentarians also urged the regional grouping not to pass its chairmanship to Myanmar in 2006. Malaysia’s ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN) announced on 22 March 2005 that it will table a motion in Parliament calling for Myanmar’s impending chairmanship to be suspended in a step designed to pressure Yangon to put in place a credible roadmap for democracy. The motion by Malaysian legislators was seen as a significant move since it was within the boundaries of the ASEAN spirit of non-interference and constructive engagement and did not come directly from the government.15 The Malaysian parliamentarians’ move had two implications; firstly, it might be seen to be prompted by Western pressure and secondly, such a step would set in a precedent under which chairmanship could be denied on some ground or the other. This issue would no doubt continue to engage ASEAN for some time to come.

MYANMAR’S NATIONAL CONVENTION As stated earlier, one of the major steps undertaken since early 2004 by the military regime to attempt national reconciliation and to gradually give the government a legitimate and civilian face was the convening of the National Convention to draw up the principles of a new Constitution. According to a government press release: Myanmar regarded it very important to formulate strong fundamental principles for drawing up an enduring Constitution. 104 such fundamental principles and details were formulated during 1993–96 when the National Convention was first convened to draft the Constitution … It was hoped that the international community will encourage the home-grown process.16

Importantly, the Convention was attended by twenty-eight armed groups which had entered into a ceasefire with the SPDC. In his major policy statement on 30 August 2003,17 the newly appointed Prime Minister, General Khin Nyunt had proposed a roadmap for a step-by-step transition to democracy. This was to include seven steps, inter alia, the holding of a Convention, drafting and adopting a Constitution and holding an election on the basis of the new Constitution

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with a view to forming a government. In preparation for creating a conducive atmosphere to take the above steps, the military government cited a major achievement, namely, that thirteen out of seventeen insurgent groups had returned to the legal fold and talks were going on with the last major group, the Karen National Union (KNU).18 Besides, nearly 100,000 people from the insurgent groups had been allowed to retain arms till such time the new Constitution was adopted.19 Another important issue for a country located in the Golden Triangle, comprising of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, is the war against illicit drugs. The Myanmar Government stated that its record was very good. Myanmar in conjunction with the U.S.A. had conducted surveys from 1993 onwards and the results had shown that there had been substantial reduction in the total area of cultivation and a decrease of potential production by 39%. This had been due to the strategy of border areas development programmes as the state’s major undertaking.20

The government had set the objective of making the Wa region (on the Thai–Myanmar border) opium-free by 2005. Myanmar signed agreements for co-operation in drug control with India in 1993, with Bangladesh in 1994, with Laos in 1997 and with China and Thailand in 2001. These agreements would be useful in stopping the flow of precursor elements which go into the production of methamphetamine tablets in Myanmar. The government’s position was, however, questioned by the opposition as well as Western governments. According to the latter, the Myanmar military’s role in dealing with the drug problem remained ambivalent. The Bangkok Process was a multilateral effort started by Thailand and ten other countries — Australia, Austria, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and Singapore — to engage the Myanmar regime on the questions of reconciliation with democratic forces in the country and to move towards democracy. It could not make much progress and the meeting scheduled for 30 April 2004 was cancelled ostensibly because the National Convention was to deliberate on the issue of a new Constitution and democratization. The major democratic party, NLD, boycotting the Convention had led to scepticism about the outcome of the Convention. On the other hand, through this action NLD seemed to have lost the opportunity to project the party’s social and economic policy alternatives. The main significance of the Convention, however, lay in the fact that almost all insurgent groups had come to discuss power-sharing with the armed forces.

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The success of the convention in finding a variety of power-sharing formulas will be essential to convince the ceasefire groups to formally lay down their arms and abandon once for all the threat of renewed insurgency … [T]he delegates of the ethnic minorities at the convention see the question as being how they will share the constitutional authority with the armed forces.21

The security of border areas inhabited by ethnic insurgent groups is central to Myanmar’s own security and that of the region as well. This is of crucial importance to ASEAN as a whole and also other neighbours like China, India or Thailand. The Convention had progressed at a gradual pace. With the removal of Prime Minister Khin Nyunt who was the primary mover of the Convention, the convention seemed to be in jeopardy. The government had, however, stressed that it will proceed as laid out in the roadmap outlined in August 2003. According to Thein Sein, a senior junta member: The seven-point future political agenda was laid down not by an individual person, but by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) government itself. The SPDC will continue to implement the agenda, step by step.22

ASEAN as well as outside powers had hoped that the Convention would start a deliberative political process, howsoever limited and inadequate, which over time could become more inclusive and representative. The removal of Prime Minister Khin Nyunt on grounds of “corruption”, the dismantling of the Defence Intelligence Directorate and the removal of the Foreign Minister and senior officials in October 2004 cast a question mark on the continuity of the process of apparent liberalization and normalization. Khin Nyunt was seen in the Western media as a liberal face of the regime.

INDIA’S CONCERNS IN MYANMAR India’s own concerns in Myanmar are not too different from that of ASEAN, although it may be mentioned that in the years immediately after SLORC assumed power, India and ASEAN countries followed different approaches. For the first four to five years, India remained strongly critical of the military junta’s brutal action against students uprising in September 1988 and the suppression of democracy after the NLD swept the polls in 1990. India’s sympathy and connection with

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Aung San Suu Kyi was understandable given India’s strong democratic tradition and also the leader’s long personal association with India — during her mother’s ambassadorship to India from 1960 to 1967 and her own schooling and college education in India during that period. In 1995, India awarded the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding to Aung San Suu Kyi, which became a sore point in bilateral relations. India’s dilemma in Myanmar had been real and acute. As the largest democracy, India could scarcely turn a blind eye to the democratic aspirations of the people of Myanmar, especially when their leader was denied the office after her party’s victory in a free election and subsequently kept under detention for many years by the military. On the other hand, could and should India stop all engagement with a neighbour with which it has had deep contacts from historical times and, in terms of natural resources and strategic importance, is of vital national interest to India? The latter’s neglect of its major eastern neighbour would not only aggravate Myanmar’s isolation but would further postpone the addressing of serious issues of development and security of India’s northeast which has a close connection with ethnically similar regions of Myanmar. Equally importantly, India cannot but pay attention to the strategic dimension of China’s growing relationship with the Myanmar regime, especially in the military field. If India were to adopt a policy of not having any substantive interaction with Myanmar on the grounds that it was run by a military regime, India would have to suspend relations with a number of other countries as well. In South Asia itself, India has maintained relations with military regimes in Bangladesh (in the 1980s) and Pakistan (to date) which have ruled these countries for a large part of their existence. India’s dilemma became more prominent when the Myanmar junta, following the sanctions from the Western countries, sought China’s support in its military expansion and modernization as well as infrastructure development. For China, the route to the Indian Ocean for its isolated and economically backward Southwest provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou through Myanmar can be the easiest and most economical. China’s economic plans to build the Ayeyarwaddy River Corridor which will link Kunming in Yunnan with Mandalay in central Myanmar can be seen in this context; similarly are China’s offer of assistance to Myanmar in building or upgrading port facilities

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at Mergui, Hanggyi Island, Sittwe (formerly Akyab), Kyaukpu, Bassein and Yangon.23 According to the observation of the London International Institute of Strategic Studies, “Burma is close to the key shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia and Burma could help China extend its military reach into a region of vital importance to Asian economies.”24 Reports of military support to Myanmar indicated that in a decade after 1988 Myanmar acquired from China heavy and light tanks, field and anti-aircraft artillery, patriot boats, F-8 jet fighters and transport helicopters. Myanmar began expanding its armed forces from around 186,000 to 350,000–400,000, with an eventual objective of a half million men. This expanded force was armed largely with Chinese weapons.25 The weapons were not supplied by China as grants but as purchases. As a show of friendship, China gave soft and unspecified loans to Myanmar and accepted barter arrangements for payments as well as for the servicing of loans.26 A triangular relationship between China, Pakistan and Myanmar was also apprehended.27 There were reports of supplies of conventional weapons from Pakistan to Myanmar, visits of naval vessels to the Myanmar ports in May 2001, and the training of army personnel in Pakistan. These had been disquieting developments for India which in the past had witnessed China’s support of arms and training to India’s ethnic insurgents from Nagaland, Mizoram or Manipur.28 Given the inhospitable terrain and the complexities of the situation, it was always difficult to tackle effectively insurgency in the northeast region of India without the understanding and co-operation of the Burmese authorities. India also firmly believed that the endemic problems of poverty, unemployment and drug trafficking would be best addressed through border trade and greater connectivity through improved road connections and people-to-people contacts on both sides. India’s flexible and pragmatic approach in reviving engagement with Myanmar following the Indian Foreign Secretary’s visit in 1993 and a Border Trade Agreement in 1994 marked a turning point in India– Myanmar relations. Since then, the interaction has grown to a higher level and become deeper. There were a number of visits by ministers and military chiefs on both sides. India’s Vice-President visited Myanmar in November 2003, the first time such a high-level visit took place after Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit in 1987. Senior General Than Shwe

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led a powerful delegation on a state visit to India in October 2004. The visit and its implications are discussed in detail later.

INDIA AND MYANMAR: MUTUAL PERCEPTIONS The perceptions of India and Myanmar about each other are mixed. Given the fact of geography, the two neighbours should ordinarily have greater mutual consciousness. However, the reality is to the contrary. In India, Burma has hardly featured prominently as a large and important neighbour, while in Burma, the common view about India is ambivalent. In India, the notion or knowledge about Burma is primarily associated with the colonial times. From the mid-nineteenth century to 1937 till Burma was part of British India, migration from several parts of India to the Province of Burma was quite extensive. The sparsely populated but very fertile province offered many opportunities in the government service, as artisans, as professionals or businessmen. It was noteworthy that the Indian migration to Burma was from several parts of India such as Bengal, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. So much so that the lingua franca among the Indians in Burma was Hindi, even before it became so in India. In the 1920s, there were nearly two million Indians in Burma, roughly 10 per cent of its total population. Indian farmers were taken by the British in large numbers to clear the jungles and cultivate rice and sugar cane. The descendants of these farmers continue to work on the fields in Zeyawaddy and Kyautaga in Central Burma even today. Middle and upper echelons of bureaucracy were filled by Indians, and in timber, rice and textile trades in the resource-rich Burma, Indian businessmen found a firm footing. The Chettiyar business community of money-lenders from Tamil Nadu in South India were able to acquire a powerful clout in Burma. Probably no Indian community in Southeast Asia enjoyed as much economic-political influence as the Chettiyars in pre-1937 Burma. After the 1930 Depression and the falling rice prices, resentment against the Chettiyars grew resulting in anti-Indian riots. Following the MontagueChemsford Act of 1935, Burma was separated from the rest of India in 1937. The Indian nationalists fighting the British for the independence of India felt that by separating Burma from India, the British were isolating Burma from the ethos of freedom struggle thus strengthening their grip over Burma. For the Burmese people, the cause of freedom of India (of which Burma was then a part) taken up by the nationalist movement in

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India under Mahatma Gandhi was advantageous. As the leader of the Burmese delegation, U Kyaw Myint, said at the Asian Relations Conference in March 1947: we have always had the good luck to be able to follow your (India’s) example with very little effort. Because you are about to be free, we are about to be free. However, we have also contributed our little mite.29

AGE-OLD AND MULTIFACETED INDIA–MYANMAR LINKS The Indian connection with Burma is multifaceted. The age-old ties of culture principally associated with Buddhism are everywhere to be seen. In the architecture of pagodas and temples across the country, language and art forms, the imprint of the Indian culture is still distinctive. For the people of India’s northeast, the border with Burma had been porous and open since historical times. A number of ethnic groups such as the Nagas, Chins, Mizos, Kachins and Manipuris had made home on both sides of the boundary. During the British period, both the Indians and Burmese were subjected to the ignominy of colonialism. While the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was imprisoned by the British in undignified conditions in Rangoon, the last Burmese King Thebaw and his family were banished to Ratnagiri on the west coast of India. Both died away from their homeland. Three of India’s great freedom leaders — Bal Gangadhar Tilak (imprisoned from 1908 to 1914), Lala Lajpat Rai and Netaji Bose (imprisoned from 1925 to 1927) — were incarcerated by the British in the Mandalay jail. Despite the numerous common traumatic experiences, the Indian and Burmese minds do not seem to develop empathy and closeness expected of two neighbours that have otherwise no territorial claims or counterclaims, or any history of animosity. Nevertheless, an average Burmese is respectful of India, as the land of the Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi. The Indian leaders were close to General Aung San and Prime Minister U Nu. In the initial years after independence, there was regular consultation between Nehru and U Nu. In the preservation of their newly-won independence both were conscious of threats from within as well as outside. India itself was by then witnessing secessionist violence and was sympathetic to the urgent need of the U Nu government for arms and ammunition when the Karen rebels reached the outskirts of Rangoon in 1949. In the words of U Nu, “India managed to send several shipments of arms without which Burma might never have recovered”.30

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However, after General Ne Win’s take-over in 1962 and the nationalization of assets of foreign nationals in 1964, resulting in another large exodus of Indians from Burma, India’s interest in the country substantially waned. Even after that emigration, there are approximately 500,000 persons of Indian origin living in different parts of Myanmar. Over time, they have been broadly integrated with the local population. However, a majority of them still suffer from the lack of status as citizens of Myanmar. Slow and ad hoc implementation of the Citizenship Act of 1964 on a case-by-case basis is cited as the main factor for this. As a result, the majority of the people of Indian origin in Myanmar remain without any citizenship even today, undoubtedly a very unsatisfactory situation. Much of the present-day generation in India and Myanmar has remained basically ignorant of each other. India’s indifference to its eastern neighbour arising largely out of its preoccupation with its western neighbour and Myanmar’s own isolationist attitude further exacerbated the distance between the peoples of the two countries. As long as the Burmese rulers chose to keep their country in a cocoon, as was the case throughout Ne Win’s rule from 1962 till the mideighties, Burma’s neighbours including India did not seem particularly concerned with the issues of security common to them. Burma was underdeveloped, but appeared content with itself and kept it equidistant from all regional powers. Ne Win clearly did not wish to get close to any of the neighbours such as China, India or Thailand or other powers like the United States, the Soviet Union or EU. However, since 1988, when SLORC came into power, there has been a paradigm shift in Myanmar’s outlook to China. Myanmar–Thailand exchanges have increased, so also India’s engagement with Myanmar in recent years. Interestingly, even EU countries now seem to be taking a pragmatic policy approach to Myanmar, and the British government’s Department for International Development has an office in Yangon.

INDIA’S MYANMAR POLICY CHOICE As seen earlier, for India, the choice of its Myanmar policy was evidently a complex one. While not unsympathetic towards Aung San Suu Kyi, the Indian Government had been pragmatic and for nearly a decade has taken consistent steps to engage the military regime, both on the vital issues of security as well as trade and economic co-operation. The

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security issues that India has cause for concern include: the activities of the Indian ethnic insurgent groups such as the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Ultra Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and KLO operating from inside the Myanmar territory; the growing problem of drug trafficking across the Myanmar border; the Chinese military support and assistance to the Myanmar armed forces; as also for the construction and upgrading of naval facilities along the Bay of Bengal coast; and the apprehension relating to the installation of signalling and electronic equipment on the Coco Islands. As a result, military contacts with Myanmar at the highest level were revived. Former Indian General V. P. Malik visited Myanmar in July and November 2000. General Maung Aye, the number 2 man in the SPDC, led a high-powered delegation comprising several ministers to Shillong in northeast of India in Novemebr 2000. The Myanmar military operation against Indian ethnic insurgents conducted inside the Myanmar territory (October 2000 and May 2001) had resulted in several casualties from the Myanmar army personnel, demonstrating the extent of co-operation provided by the Myanmar armed forces. Following Bhutan’s operations against Indian insurgents, Myanmar had also offered to flush out Indian insurgent camps, if any, in Myanmar and assured that it would also oppose any attempts by Indian insurgents to cross into Myanmar.31 At the political level, Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh visited Tamu on the Myanmar border in February 2001 and Yangon in April 2002 for talks with the Myanmar leaders and the Myanmar Foreign Minister reciprocated the visits.

GENERAL THAN SHWE’S STATE VISIT TO INDIA The growing frequency in top-level visits between the two neighbouring countries reached a high point with the visit to India of Senior General and Chairman of SPDC Than Shwe from 25 to 29 October 2004. The visit took place against the backdrop of a major political shake-up in Myanmar in which General Khin Nyunt was removed from the post of Prime Minister in early October. Barely a few days before Senior General Than Shwe’s visit, a conference of NGOs supporting prodemocracy movement in Myanmar was held in New Delhi. However, these events did not seem to affect the tenor of discussions between the Myanmar and Indian leaders during the visit. That Myanmar’s No. 1 was visiting India after twenty-five years marked the significance of the visit. The three agreements signed during the visit also showed the

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diversity of bilateral relationship. The agreement on co-operation in non-traditional areas of security called for close co-ordination and cooperation in dealing with insurgency, drug trafficking and organized crime. For India, in its northeast region, the issue of Indian insurgents operating from camps inside the Myanmar boundary was serious, and co-operation of the Myanmar military to deal with this menace was vital. Significantly, soon after the visit of Than Shwe, the Myanmar armed forces started a series of attacks against the Indian insurgent groups within Myanmar. The operation was carried out in a co-ordinated manner with India providing information on the basis of which Myanmar forces targeted these camps. Taking further notice of India’s concerns, Yangon has decided to beef up military deployment on its northwest border with India.32 A complementarity seemed to exist between the concerns and needs of India and Myanmar. While India required Myanmar’s co-operation in dealing with the ethnic insurgency in its northeast, Myanmar, looking for economic partners, found the Indian market attractive for its exports. Myanmar saw in India a good source for investments for infrastructural development and technology, especially since few countries were coming forward for investment purposes. Myanmar’s sensitivity to the Indian security concerns and co-operation in that regard would be a key factor in the improvement of bilateral relations in the future. On the other hand, India has also shown preparedness to assist fully in Myanmar’s economic development. Under an agreement signed between the two countries, the Tamanthi 1,200 MW hydroelectric project on the Chindwin River in northwest Myanmar will be taken up as a mutual interest project. Trade exchanges are given special importance and steps are expected to be taken to increase two-way trade to US$1 billion by 2007, from the level of US$450 million in 2003. India has already emerged as the largest export market for Myanmar, particularly for Myanmar’s agricultural products like pulses and beans. Offers of assistance for telecom and IT projects, as well as in energy, health and higher education sectors have been made by India.

ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL RELATIONS: FOCUS OF ENGAGEMENT The realization by both India and Myanmar that a large potential awaits them in the areas of trade and investment, energy, infrastructure, human

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resources development and tourism has opened a new dimension in their relationship. For India, it is as though a new discovery since for years the Indian business and industry had paid little attention to Myanmar. As with other Southeast Asian countries, India is in a hurry to tap the sources of market for trade, oil and gas, hydropower and transport infrastructure. India’s emphasis on building the long-neglected relationship with Myanmar appears quite clear: economic. This approach also fits well with India’s commitments and plans under the auspices of its Look East policy with Southeast and East Asia. It would complement its efforts in the subregional co-operation arrangements such as BIMSTEC or Mekong Ganga Co-operation. Economic and commercial relationship with Myanmar will help India to bridge the development gap in its own northeast and, in turn, also contribute to close the development divide in the new ASEAN members. This strategy of India should thus find synergy with ASEAN. In fact, India’s enhanced economic engagement with Myanmar should be a positive contributory factor to ASEAN’s own plans and efforts in Myanmar and other new members.

INDIA–MYANMAR TRADE The complementarities between India and Myanmar for trade need to be fully explored. Two-way trade in 2001–02 stood at US$428 million, with US$345.74 million as Myanmar’s exports and US$82.26 million as Myanmar’s imports. A Joint Trade Committee was set up in July 2003, which had agreed to work towards achieving a bilateral trade turnover of US$1 billion by 2006.33 India is hopeful to import more from Myanmar if banking and other transaction procedures are improved. India is exploring opportunities to export a range of products such as pharmaceuticals, iron and steel, agricultural machinery, hospital equipment, engineering products and home appliances. The India– Myanmar Joint Task Force Report prepared by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry has identified a number of export items on both sides as well as the possible areas for investment from India. Essentially, it recommends, inter alia, that industry-led initiatives via the investment route will optimally engage the Myanmar market and economy with that of India and will see rapid growth in bilateral business ties.34 India’s export efforts have intensified through promotional events like the Made in India show in February 2004 in Yangon featuring seventy leading

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Indian companies. A Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate border trade between Myanmar and India has also been signed. Energy is an important sector in which Myanmar and India have found a good fit. India’s needs for natural gas are huge which it is trying to meet from a variety of sources. Gas discoveries by Gas India Limited in the Shwe field off the Rakhine coast of Myanmar in 2004 has the possibility of exports to India. The gas pipeline across Bangladesh to India would be most economical and also of benefit to Bangladesh for transit fees and an option to supply its own gas using the same infrastructure.35 A tripartite gas pipeline agreement was signed in Yangon in January 2005 between the petroleum ministers of the three countries. India’s economic diplomatic initiatives which have found reciprocal resonance from Myanmar include the development of connectivity with Myanmar and through the latter to Southeast Asia. India hopes to establish direct links for its northeast states with Southeast Asia via the Asian Highway and other roads inside Myanmar. Long-standing insurgency in this region led to it remaining virtually closed from the neighbouring Myanmar though the two share ethnic, cultural and linguistic similarities. The isolation led to further economic underdevelopment. In the era of globalization, an open approach will help promote economic activities along and across the Indo–Myanmar border, thus creating greater employment opportunities. It should reduce and eliminate illegal activities like the smuggling of drugs, arms and contraband items. Experience shows that insurgency also comes down with such developments. The frequent cases of rice shortage in India’s northeast states can be eliminated by supplies from Myanmar across the border. Thus, Myanmar and India can enlarge their interdependence and mutual stakes through border trade and transborder movement of people. Lack of direct and good road communications between India and Myanmar hampered the land proximity dimension between India and Southeast Asia for centuries. As a result, Southeast Asia appeared distant from India, geographically and psychologically. The India–ASEAN Rally, proposed by former Prime Minister Vajpayee during the Bali summit in 2003, was held in time for the Vientiane summit in November–December 2004. Myanmar was the first ASEAN country through which the rally passed after crossing

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from India and traversed a long distance. In stressing the aspect of connectivity between India and ASEAN, the car rally has played a very useful and demonstrable role.

INDIA’S PARTICIPATION IN INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN MYANMAR A major dam is proposed at Tazon near Tamanthi, just below the confluence of the Phek River with the Chindwin, about 40 kilometres east of the Nagaland border with an installed capacity of 1,000 MW. A transmission line to Nagaland is also proposed as part of a partial power buy-back arrangement that could service the project debt. India’s northeast could become a major partner in this enterprise.36 Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Trade and Economic Co-operation between India and Myanmar in 1994, there has been a major change in the Indo-Myanmar economic relations. Moreh-Tamu on the Manipur border and Champhai-Rhea on the Mizoram border were designated as border trade points.37 As referred to earlier, India agreed to upgrade the 160-kilometre road in the Kabaw valley which runs from Tamu to the Chindwin ferry crossing at Kalewa past the regional military headquarters at Kalemyo. The US$36 million cost was borne by India. In India’s engagement in the development of infrastructure in Myanmar, the Indian railways have supplied rails and rolling stock for rehabilitating and modernizing Myanmar’s metre gauge railway system. In July 2004, a special line of credit of US$56.358 million was extended for the upgrading of the Yangon-Mandalay trunk-line and allied facilities.38 Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) have completed a project report for the construction of a 260-kilometre highway, inland waterway and a gas pipeline route from Nengpui in Southern Mizoram to Sittwe port along the Kaladan River. A link from Mizoram to Sittwe either by land or an inter-modal road-water transfer holds out the prospect of an alternate outlet to the Bay of Bengal for India’s northeast without requiring to go through the long circuitous route in the “chicken’s neck” route near Siliguri in West Bengal. It would be of important strategic benefit to India should this come through. It would possibly lead to greater economic integration of the areas in India’s northeast with Bangladesh and Myanmar.

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Connectivity is, thus, the key for improving access to and movement between Myanmar and India. In fact, it is central to India’s Look East policy. The proposal of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) of the UN to launch an Asian Land Transport Infrastructure Development (ALTID) was welcomed when it was adopted as the New Delhi Action Plan 1997–2006 at the ESCAP meeting.39 It has three components: a Trans-Asian Railway (TAR), the Asian Highway (conceived in 1959) and the facilitation of land transport. Twenty-seven mainland Asian countries have supported ALTID. The Asian Highway in Southeast Asia which is in various stages of completion in different segments could be a reality with a direct connection from India to Yangon, Bangkok and beyond. TAR, however, is largely at conceptual stage mainly because of the economics and the very difficult terrain involved in certain sections of the proposed railway. There is also a break of gauge problem.

HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT In addition to the programmes of infrastructural development in Myanmar, India has also committed itself to assist in HRD, science and technology, education and IT. Myanmar is hoping to work closely with India in developing its information and communications technology (ICT) sector.40 According to a Myanmarese Minister, the e-National Task Force involved in a number of e-government projects would find assistance from India useful. India has also extended assistance to Myanmar in setting up a Space Technology Remote Sensing and Data Processing Centre. India’s assistance to Myanmar in such knowledge-based areas will be a longterm contribution to a fellow developing country. It may be fitting if this centre were to be named after Lokmanya Tilak, the Indian patriot who first spoke of “freedom as the birth-right of every individual”. The mathematician-philosopher-leader has an inseparable link with Mandalay. India has offered a credit of US$7 million to establish direct telephone communications between Myanmar and India. As of now, the connection is routed through the United Kingdom.41 From the foregoing, it is evident that India has preferred to primarily follow the route of economic, technical and HRD assistance in restoring and building its relations with Myanmar. Obviously, the selection and utilization of this assistance will largely be determined by the priorities of the Myanmar military regime for whom India’s economic engagement

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seems to serve three important purposes. Firstly, India’s assistance in several fields like pharmaceuticals, IT, railways, science and technology can be highly competitive and relevant; secondly, it provides a useful complementarity to what China is supplying; and thirdly, it indirectly acts as a scoring point against the West and Japan which have shut all assistance. India’s economic assistance in quantitative terms may not be large. But the multifaceted development programmes with which India is now associating itself in Myanmar can go a long way in meeting the acute needs of the common man in Myanmar. So far these programmes are mainly government-inspired and driven. However, with improvement in communications and cross-border transportation there could be greater involvement of individuals and NGOs. If tourism were encouraged by the Myanmar authorities, there would be substantial growth in the tourist traffic from India resulting in extensive people-to-people exchanges between the countries as well as additional revenue to the cash-strapped Myanmar Government. The Indian tourist traffic to Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand is on a sharp increase, and Myanmar could also benefit from this trend provided the authorities facilitated Myanmar as a tourist destination for Indian tourists. Suitably packaged tours of Myanmar along with Thailand or Singapore should be highly popular for Indian travellers. The view that sanctions only aggravate the hardship of common people is widely recognized, including in the developed world. India’s engagement with Myanmar should, therefore, help create some optimism rather than misunderstanding. This was reflected in the editorial of the National Herald (India) when it said: There is hope that the new policy of constructive interaction between India and Myanmar would encourage social forces inside Myanmar which would help bring about political modernization in the country.42

India’s enhanced interaction with Myanmar in the defence field including the training of Myanmar military personnel in India, personal contacts at the decision-making levels through frequent visits, for example India’s Navy Chief to Myanmar in 2003 and Myanmar’s Air Force Chief to India, gives the indication that India would be paying greater attention to its eastern neighbour’s defence-related needs. Myanmar, too, has been responding positively. During the tsunami disaster in December 2004, Indian airforce planes were granted facilities in Yangon for relief operations in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

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MYANMAR: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ASEAN AND INDIA Myanmar today presents a picture of continued unsettled conditions. The political deadlock between the military regime and the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which has now gone on for nearly fifteen years, shows no sign of ending soon. Their respective positions seem broadly unchanged. The military government while highlighting their “roadmap for democracy” has given little indication whether they are going to grant freedom to Aung San Suu Kyi. In the meanwhile the NLD’s refusal in 2004 to participate in the National Convention and, thus, associate itself with the drafting of the new Constitution has further sidelined NLD’s role in the moves towards political reorganization initiated by the military regime. The Convention was reconvened in the third week of February 2005. It was generally expected that it will deliberate over the issues mainly related to national unity till the middle of 2005 and conclude its work. A draft Constitution was expected to be prepared by then which might be put up for approval at a national referendum in early 2006. Whether and when elections might be held; what will be the role for political parties; what will be the form of government, whether presidential or parliamentary; and whether there will be any power sharing with the military, are many ponderables which could be known only if and when the proposed Constitution is ready. The important question will remain — the future role of the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar armed forces. Given the central role played by the Myanmar military in the national life since the country’s independence and the contribution it had made to the preservation of the country’s territorial integrity, it was only likely that it will continue to have a pivotal role in the governance of the nation. What can this political scenario mean for the international community? With regard to the objectives of national reconciliation and democracy in Myanmar, there can be no two opinions. How they could be achieved would attract different views. The United States continues to be unrelenting in its sharp criticism of the regime’s policies, particularly on human rights issues. There is bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for sanctions against Myanmar. The call by a group of eminent American and foreign experts and scholars on Myanmar for a review of sanctions against Myanmar had no effect on the U.S. Congress and the Administration.43 “The United States thus has largely denied itself any significant role in the future of Myanmar. The disproportionality of the

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policy of the U.S. is recognized by the EU governments. The EU’s so-called common position masks a range of policy positions and attitudes toward the regime.”44 ASEAN countries and Myanmar’s neighbours in the region have and can play an important part in the developments in Myanmar. It is due to globalization and regional economic integration that Myanmar is today far less isolated than it used to be in the early nineties. There is a growing civil society in the country which is getting familiar with the developments around the region and the world. In this regard, the ASEAN–Myanmar engagement itself has had a useful role, something which major powers located farther from Myanmar may not be able to perform. Despite calls from within ASEAN for “humanitarian intervention or interference”, ASEAN seemed to wait patiently for the whole process of the “roadmap to democracy” to conclude. The outlook of India towards the future of Myanmar appears to be not much different from that of ASEAN. In fact, Myanmar is the test of India–ASEAN strategic convergence. Both ASEAN and India are direct neighbours of Myanmar. India and a number of ASEAN states are democracies, conscious of people’s aspirations and human rights. Both would like to see national reconciliation and democracy in Myanmar. The pluralist societies of their countries have much in common with Myanmar. India, with its multiethnic, multireligious and multilinguistic character, shares a great deal with ASEAN countries including Myanmar. It was no coincidence that General Aung San used to be in consultation with Pandit Nehru when the former was forging unity and federalism in ethnically divided Burma. During the visit of Senior General Than Shwe to India in October 2004, he conveyed to the Indian leadership that India with its well-established traditions of democracy could support Myanmar in the process of national reconciliation and democracy; and the Indian Prime Minister while conveying best wishes to General Than Shwe in his efforts to establish a democratic government in Myanmar, agreed with him that the transition to democracy was complex and yet it offered the best possibilities for addressing the problems both of political stability as well as economic development.45 The high-level dialogue between India and Myanmar has continued as both sides find it of mutual benefit. During the Indian Foreign Minister’s visit to Myanmar in March 2005, Senior General Than Shwe reaffirmed Myanmar’s interest in deepening co-operation, and Foreign Minister K. Natwar Singh spoke of “India attaching high priority to its relations with Myanmar as a valuable

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neighbour and strategic partner”. The Foreign Minister reiterated India’s consistent support for national reconciliation, “stressing that an inclusive and broad-based process would be able to achieve the objectives set by Myanmar for itself”.46 At no time in recent history has the India– Myanmar interaction in diplomatic, military or economic areas been as intensive as it is now. Significantly, both sides have given importance to economic issues such as the implementation of joint infrastructure projects which would contribute to progress along the India–Myanmar border. The projects include the Kaladan multimodal transport project and the Tamanthi hydroelectric project on the Chindwin River. China’s position on the Myanmar situation would be crucial. Over the past decade and a half, China has established close equation with the regime. Soon after Senior General Than Shwe’s visit to India, General Maung Aye paid a visit to China during which a large number of agreements were signed. The Chinese Foreign Minister reportedly changed his plans and left Vientiane for Myanmar on 27 July 2005, a day after Myanmar’s Foreign Minister announced at the ASEAN Ministers Meeting that Myanmar would refrain from assuming chairmanship in 2006. Japan had been the major source of economic aid till the military crackdown in 1988. Even now it continues to wield considerable influence in Myanmar. Japan defied a Western-led ban in April 2002 on nonhumanitarian aid to Myanmar by agreeing to supply US$28 million to rebuild the Baluchang hydroelectric dam.47 ASEAN’s economic and strategic interests in Myanmar are evident by the level of investment and trade. Singapore is one of Myanmar’s leading trade partners. Only in 1997 did the United Kingdom replace Singapore as the top investor in Myanmar with an investment of US$1.3 billion as against Singapore’s US$1.2 billion. In fact, foreign investors became more daring, especially after Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s visit in March 1994.48 Malaysia and Indonesia also have commercial interests in Myanmar, and Thailand is interested in Myanmar’s timber. The issue of Chairmanship of ASEAN during 2006 seemed to have put Myanmar in a quandary. Either to improve its human rights position by making major political changes or to pass up the Chairmanship. ASEAN had shown its discomfiture over the Myanmar regime’s undemocratic policies. As some human rights activists had commented: the gathering momentum to criticize Myanmar’s domestic political affairs is a turning point for ASEAN. The prospect of Burma becoming

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ASEAN’s chairman has become a catalyst for governments and legislators to act and display their pro-democracy credentials … The non-interference principle was being chipped away … It was time that some ASEAN countries broke the culture of silence over Burma.49

At the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Cebu, Philippines in mid-April 2005, the issue of Myanmar’s upcoming chairmanship loomed large in the discussions. As they expressed their concerns about the repercussions of Myanmar’s chairmanship, it became evident that they thought that an overbearing attitude towards Myanmar might not do in convincing it either to give up the chairmanship or to put even token democratic reforms in place. The consensus was, therefore, to give Myanmar a chance to prove itself. The strategy, according to an Indonesian diplomat, was to avoid any appearance that ASEAN ministers were ganging up on Myanmar at the behest of the United States and Europe.50 ASEAN ministers have put the onus on Myanmar to decide its next move whether to assume the grouping’s chairmanship next year. But they are hopeful that Myanmar may step aside and spare the ten-member grouping from embarrassment.51 The announcement by Myanmar’s Foreign Minister at the ASEAN Ministers Meeting in Vientiane on 26 July 2005 that it would pass up its turn for ASEAN chairmanship in 2006 put an end to all speculation on this contentious and much-discussed issue. Myanmar’s decision was no doubt received with relief by other ASEAN members who stated that Myanmar could assume chairmanship whenever the latter was “ready”. In foregoing its turn, the Myanmar regime seems to have given a signal that it places greater importance on its domestic priorities than its collective responsibility as a member of ASEAN and was prepared to undergo isolation as a result. As a Straits Times editorial has commented: ASEAN should hold the Myanmar Government to its undertaking that it is passing up the chair so as to concentrate on “national reconciliation and the democratization process”. Passing it off as diplomatese would give Yangon an out.52

For the United States and EU, the Myanmar decision would be only a temporary relief; the regime in Yangon has not shown any signs of distress as a result of the sanctions nor taken any steps which would call for revision of the U.S.’s or EU’s stand. While the question over Myanmar’s chairmanship might be resolved for the time being, the

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issue relating to the future plans of the military regime in Yangon would continue to be of concern and interest especially for the countries in the region. The Myanmar frontier is thus not merely a “challenging” one for both ASEAN and India, but could also be a meeting place of opportunity. The earlier India and ASEAN countries start looking at Myanmar through this prism, the greater is the possibility that they can find room for exchange of views and co-ordination in working towards a peaceful and constitutional resolution of the Myanmar question. A dialogue of major Asian regional powers which includes Myanmar’s neighbours — ASEAN, China and India — and Japan could serve a useful purpose in discussing the Myanmar situation and the country’s future. Stress should be put on political stability and economic development in Myanmar which are important for the region. The benefit of such a dialogue would be that Myanmar will not be the target of criticism; on the other hand the participating countries would be those who are currently constructively engaged with Myanmar. It, therefore, has the prospect of proving to be productive. The core and co-ordinating role should be played by ASEAN since Myanmar is a constituent of this regional organization and other participant Asian countries are closely associated with ASEAN as the latter’s partners.

Notes 1. Since 1989, the regime has used “Myanmar” in place of “Burma” as the name of the country. In this chapter, “Burma” has been generally used referring to the period before 1989 and “Myanmar” for the period since then. Burmese or Myanmarese refer to the citizens of Burma/Myanmar. No political connotations are implied by this usage. 2. Robert Taylor, “The Outlook for Myanmar and Its Role in the Region”, paper presented at the Regional Outlook Forum, organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 6 January 2005. 3. Gilles Boquérat, “India’s Confrontation with Chinese Interests in Myanmar”, in India and ASEAN: The Politics of India’s Look East Policy, edited by Frederic Grare and Amitabh Mattoo (New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2001), p. 176. 4. The Hindu, 20 November 2003. 5. Straits Times, 20 September 2003. 6. S. D. Muni, China’s Strategic Engagement with the “New ASEAN”, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Monograph No. 2 (Singapore: IDSS, 2002), p. 77.

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7. Andrew Selth, “Burma’s China Connection and the Indian Ocean Region”, paper presented at the conference on “India and the Emerging Geopolitics of the Indian Ocean Region” organized by Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, 19–21 August 2003. 8. Muni, China’s Strategic Engagement, p. 83; also Selth, “Burma’s China Connection”, p. 6. 9. Straits Times, 11 November 2003. 10. The Economist, 11 October 2003. 11. Straits Times, “Stick Won’t Work with Myanmar”, 23 October 2004. 12. Straits Times, “Leaders Mum on Myanmar, Thailand”, 28 November 2004. 13. Financial Times, “When to meddle in Southeast Asia”, 30 November 2004. 14. Michael Richardson, “The Crunch Time for ASEAN over Yangon”, Straits Times, 14 December 2004. 15. Straits Times, “BN doesn’t want Myanmar to chair ASEAN”, 23 March 2005. 16. News and Views from Myanmar (Embassy of Union of Myanmar, Singapore), vol. 1, May 2004. 17. “Myanmar Roadmap to Democracy”, Seminar on Understanding Myanmar, Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Yangon, 27–28 January 2004. 18. Prime Minister Khin Nyunt’s Keynote Address at the seminar referred to in Note 17. 19. Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs U Khin Maung Win, presentation at the seminar referred to in Note 17. 20. Pol. Col. Hkam Awng, Joint Secretary, Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, Myanmar, presentation at the seminar referred to in Note 17. 21. Robert Taylor, “Power-sharing the key to peace in Myanmar”, Straits Times, 25 August 2004. 22. New Light of Myanmar, 23 October 2004. 23. John W. Garver, Protracted Contest: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Twentieth Century (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2001), pp. 267–70; see also Selth, “Burma’s China Connection”, p. 3. 24. Asiaweek, 21 December 2000. 25. Garver, Protracted Contest, p. 265. 26. Muni, China’s Strategic Engagement, p. 79. 27. J. Mohan Malik, Pioneer (New Delhi), 19 December 2001; see also Boquérat, “India’s Confrontation”, pp. 179, 189. 28. Garver, Protracted Contest, p. 94; and Boquérat, “India’s Confrontation”, p. 175. 29. “National Reactions to Colonialism in Southeast Asia”, in The Emergence of Modern Southeast Asia 1511–1957, edited by John Bastin (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall Inc., 1967), p. 135. 30. Boquérat, “India’s Confrontation”, p. 168.

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31. Indian Express, “U Win Aung, Foreign Minister: Myanmar promises war on insurgents”, 23 December 2003. 32. Indian Express, “Myanmar begins crackdown: Destroys NE insurgent camps”, 29 November 2004. 33. The Business Tank: Myanmar Business and Travel (published by Business Information Group, Yangon), March 2004. 34. Confederation of Indian Industry, www.ciionline.org and Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry; Report of The India– Myanmar Joint Task Force. 35. Financial Times, “India to open talks with Bangladesh and Burma over plans for gas pipelines”, 11 January 2005. 36. B. G. Verghese, Reorienting India: The New Geo-politics of Asia (New Delhi: Konark Publishers, 2001), p. 187. 37. Ibid., p. 185. 38. Joint Statement issued on the occasion of the State Visit of Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of the SPDC to India on 25–29 October 2004. 39. Verghese, Reorienting India, p. 199. 40. Myanmar’s Minister of Communications, Posts and Telegraphs Brigadier General Thein Zaw at IT Seminar in Yangon, 20 February 2004. 41. Myanmar Economic Times, August 2004. 42. National Herald (India), “Reaching out to Myanmar for right reasons”, 19 February 2001. 43. Testimony on Burma by David I. Steinberg, Distinguished Professor and Director, Asian Studies, Georgetown University, to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations Sub-committee on Asia and the Pacific, 25 March 2004, Washington, D.C. 44. Taylor, “The Outlook for Myanmar”. 45. Press briefing by the official spokesman of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on the state visit of General Than Shwe on 25 October 2004. 46. Myanmar Times, 4–10 April 2005. 47. Satish Kumar, ed., National Security Annual Review (India Research Press, 2003), p. 42. 48. Udai Bhanu Singh, “Myanmar’s Strategic Profile”, in National Security Annual Review, pp. 154, 161. 49. Asia Times, 1 April 2005. 50. International Herald Tribune, 13 April 2005. 51. Straits Times, 12 April 2005. 52. Straits Times, 28 July 2005.

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7 CONCLUSION

Much water has flowed through the Bay of Bengal and the Malacca Strait since India and Southeast Asia began their “rediscovery” a decade and half ago. How much have they discovered during this period? Today, their wavelengths are not too different. They are fairly similar, just as they were when both set out on their respective journeys soon after independence. Fifty years ago at the Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung, Nehru, Soekarno and other Southeast Asian leaders spoke of the “spirit of Asia”, an Asia which will be free of colonialism and foreign domination. They agreed to abide by the principles of peaceful co-existence and decided to follow a non-aligned approach which would keep their countries away from the Cold War rivalry. The resolve of the Afro-Asian leaders was criticized by the Western world as moralistic preaching and their approach as unreal. On revisiting Bandung on its fiftieth anniversary in 2005, we find that the world around us has changed a great deal. The Cold War is over and there are no opposing blocs. Behind the scene of preponderance of one superpower there is a clearly discernible multipolar world. Multipolarity recognizes plurality and also denotes sharing of responsibility. Nowhere is it strikingly visible as in the diverse region of the Asia-Pacific with such poles as China, Japan, ASEAN, India and Korea coming to the fore, each one trying to assert its independence of policy and action, each one articulating its view of the present and vision of the future. The priority for socioeconomic development of their vast population (which comprises half the world) is the common agenda. Interestingly, it is this kind of independence, search for identity and desire for peaceful co-existence that the leaders at Bandung had sought and aspired for. In that sense, we seem to have come a full circle. For India and Southeast Asia, it is a vindication of their long-

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held belief and conviction. Herein lies the fundamental convergence between India and Southeast Asia, which should constitute the bedrock of relationship in the future. As we have seen in the foregoing pages, co-operative security can be built only on the premise of trust, understanding and mutual benefit. The interaction between India and Southeast Asia cannot and should not be a zero-sum game. There needs to be enough space for both to “win”, be it in traditional or non-traditional security co-operation between the two. Comprehensive security is the urgent need for India and Southeast Asia on their respective paths to socioeconomic development. In that regard they have much in common. In traditional security and defence, India and Southeast Asia have no issues that divide them nor any conflicting claims that might create enmity. Both are, therefore, well placed to co-operate and draw benefit from each other’s strengths. In the traditional balance of power thinking, India’s military power, sustained industrial and technological strength, and its strategic location in the Indian Ocean may be seen by Southeast Asian countries as indicators of growing weight in the Asia-Pacific. Today, however, Sino-Indian rivalry in Southeast Asia appears farthest from anyone’s mind including Southeast Asian countries, India or China. For its part, the challenge for Southeast Asia lies in managing the rise of both China and India through its own unique and inimitable “ASEAN way” by creating suitable conditions for them to co-operate, rather than confront each other. In this context, as described in Chapter 6, Myanmar becomes an important frontier for India and ASEAN. Political stability and peace in Myanmar is vital for both. For India’s northeast region that borders on Myanmar, integration with the rest of India would be facilitated if the isolation of the northeast was overcome through closer economic integration with Myanmar and other Southeast Asian countries. Border trade, connectivity and economic co-operation with Myanmar, therefore, would be critical elements of India’s Look East policy. On the political impasse in Myanmar, India and Southeast Asia can play a useful role through dialogue with the regime. In this, as argued earlier, ASEAN can act as a catalyst in a possible pan-Asian initiative on Myanmar. Security consultations and defence co-operation between India and Southeast Asian countries at bilateral level would require more intensive and focused interaction. The agendas are still not substantive enough.

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The co-operative security framework envisaged should be structured in such a way that specific work programmes are identified and implemented within agreed time-frames. At the multilateral level, namely the ARF, the objective of both India and ASEAN has been to strengthen this process. Both are aware that the process per se cannot resolve major security issues of the Asia-Pacific region, but confidence-building and preventive diplomacy offer a useful opportunity in co-operative security. In the current politico-security situation in the region, ASEAN’s “consultation and consensus” approach to outstanding issues has become all the more relevant. India appears to fully subscribe to this view. In the area of non-traditional security such as terrorism including maritime terrorism, transnational crime, illegal migration, transmittable pandemics like SARS and the bird flu, and environmental security, India and Southeast Asia have challenging tasks ahead of them. Both have been victims of international terrorism; both continue to suffer from terrorism wreaked by separatists. It is important that all forms of terrorism should be condemned unequivocally. Terrorist violence for whatever ostensible reason cannot be condoned. Furthermore, both India and Southeast Asia reject any attempt to brand Islam with terrorism. While Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei are Muslim majority states, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines have sizeable Muslim minorities. India is only next to Indonesia in terms of the Muslim population. Its heritage of Islam dates back to more than a thousand years. There should, therefore, be little room for a major difference or divergence, if any, between India and the Muslim majority states of Southeast Asia on account of the factor of Islam. In combating terrorism, India and Southeast Asia need to join hands and work together. Terrorist groups in South and Southeast Asia are increasingly known to have contacts with each other. India and Southeast Asia have considerable knowledge and extensive databank about this phenomenon and the experience in handling terrorists. Concrete mechanisms of co-operation have to be set up (some are already in place) and need to be followed up systematically and regularly. Other instruments necessary in this regard such as, mutual legal assistance treaties and extradition treaties should also be entered into by India and Southeast Asian states bilaterally, wherever they are still not agreed upon.

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Geography has placed India and some of Southeast Asian states at vital strategic locations in the Indian Ocean. The tsunami disaster has also demonstrated how their destinies are inextricably linked together. Maritime field, therefore, offers ready scope for India–Southeast Asia co-operation. Already there is better understanding in ASEAN about the Indian navy’s objectives and activities in the Indian Ocean. In the words of a Malaysian expert on the subject: “It would seem that ASEAN is perfectly happy to have a stable Indian Ocean dominated by a friendly India.”1 In dealing with the challenges of threats of maritime terrorism, piracy, or concerns of safety in the transportation of trade or vital energy supplies (for example, oil and LNG) or environmental security, there is a role and opportunity for India to work closely with Southeast Asian countries. This co-operation can be the anchor of their relationship.

ECONOMIC FACTORS: THE DRIVING ENGINE It is worth noting that India–Southeast Asia relations today are primarily driven by internal factors rather than external, as was the case during the Cold War period.2 Then, it was the strategic interplay of great powers that largely impinged on the situation in the region, for example, the Vietnam war or the Kampuchean conflict, which in turn had repercussions on India’s relations with Southeast Asia. It is no more so now. It is primarily the economic impulse arising internally which will impact on the relationship. It could be the initiative of the private sector to push exports or make investments that will be the driving engine. Globalization should be expected to help further in the opening of the economies. The primacy of economic, financial and technological factors would, therefore, have to be recognized. The strength of these factors would grow as India and Southeast Asian countries develop further, become more knowledgebased and economically integrated. In concrete terms, trade and business on both sides have to get closer and deeper, for which governments should act as facilitators and promoters whenever required. Connectivity, be it roads, air, maritime or cyber, is still inadequate, and major efforts will be needed to bring it to a higher plane. For higher investments both ways, the investment regimes would have to be more conducive. Here, governments as regulator would need to play a key and supportive role. There were a number of missed opportunities in the past. The earlier the two sides try to keep aside prejudices about each other, the higher would

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be real co-operation. In this context, the need to conclude the ongoing negotiations on the bilateral or multilateral (ASEAN level) FTAs cannot be overemphasized. These agreements are substantive assurances of mutual trust and understanding. Again, India–Southeast Asia economic interaction cannot be a oneway street. While India’s rise is expected to be a pull factor for the Southeast Asian economies, the success of the latter in physical infrastructure, sociocultural progress and tourism should be examples for India to emulate. Singapore’s performance in establishing a worldclass port, airport and financial centre, Indonesia’s in family planning, Thailand’s in agriculture or tourism, and Malaysia’s in roads and port development are just a few in this regard. As discussed in the book, there is a strategic continuum between South and Southeast Asia extending beyond to East Asia. This makes cooperative security imperative. As earlier argued, India and Southeast Asia convergence should not be conceived as directed against any other power including China. It will be flawed conceptually as much as disastrous practically. On the other hand, the convergence, developing out of geopolitical and geoeconomic commonalities, presents a useful opportunity to create and foster linkages with China, Japan and East Asia. As an example from the world of business, Indian companies established in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, are already working towards establishing their presence in China. Growing links with Southeast Asia seems to be pushing India in the direction of an East Asian identity. India increasingly finds itself fitting in this area; secular and Hindu nationalism being more comfortable with the ‘softer’ Islam and the more tolerant social orders of Southeast Asia. As India increasingly interacts with Southeast Asia, the perception that it fits better with that region than any other part of Asia or nearby part of the world will gain ground.3

This observation of an Indian thinker might have appeared somewhat overstated some time back. However, today, there are clear and increasing indications to support his perception. India enjoys traditional cultural bonds with Southeast Asia. This common heritage needs to be preserved and nurtured. It has the potential to provide a powerful impetus to create linkages in diverse political, strategic or economic areas. Like culture, the Indian diaspora in Southeast Asia is the legacy of history. The capacity of the diaspora

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to act as a catalyst in bringing India and Southeast Asia together can be wide-reaching. In Southeast Asia, there is lately a rededication to the virtues of modernization — political, social and economic — and a conviction towards reform. Democratization is rapidly taking roots across Southeast Asia. The paradox was that even with all domestic tensions and upheavals, the ASEAN region was growing at a dramatic rate and the positive fallout of rapid economic development acted as a glue to keep the state and social edifice intact.4

All this is not lost sight of in India. The economic vibrancy of China in East Asia and Southeast Asia does not fail to impress. On the other hand, the United States after September 11 appears to be inward looking. So also Europe after the expansion of EU. On the reverse side, India’s rise, especially of its technological prowess and democratic success, are subjects of close attention and admiration in Southeast Asia. Global manufacturing and commodity-marketing trends may also augur closer ties, and balancing objectives inform strategic decisions to invest in India and to bring (as with the proposal that Delhi join APEC) India more into East Asian affairs.5

On this background, a place for India in the emerging politico-economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific becomes a logical corollary. India appears a natural candidate for APEC or ASEM. At the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Vientiane in July 2005, India was formally invited to the East Asia summit in December 2005. One thing is clear, namely, that India’s capacity to make a meaningful contribution to the stability and prosperity of Southeast and East Asia is being increasingly acknowledged. India while welcoming this opportunity appears poised to throw its lot with the Asia-Pacific region. The twenty-first century is being predicted as the “Asian century”. The United States has also announced that its goal was “to help India become a major world power in the 21st century”.6 If this century were to be Asia’s, it can be so only if major powers of Asia are in close harmony and work in unison. Southeast Asia and India, with their growing convergence in comprehensive security can give a lead in that direction.

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Notes 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

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Mak Joon Num, “ASEAN India Defence Interactions”, in India and ASEAN: The Politics of India’s Look East Policy, edited by Frederic Grare and Amitabh Mattoo (New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2001), p. 158. Malla V.S.V. Prasad, “Political and Security Cooperation between ASEAN and India; Implications for Economic Cooperation”, paper presented at the first ASEAN–India Forum, organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 8–10 February 2004. Kanti Bajpai, “Enhancing Ties between India and Southeast Asia: An Indian View”, in India, Southeast Asia and the United States: New Opportunities and Prospects for Co-operation, edited by Satu P. Limaye and Ahmed Mukarram (Singapore Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1998), p. 111. A. N. Ram, “India–ASEAN Partnership: New Opportunities and Challenges”, paper presented at the India–ASEAN Relations Seminar organized by the Centre for Indian Ocean Studies, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, 24–25 March 2005. James Clad, “Some Considerations of the Rationale for Closer Contact between India and Southeast Asia”, in India, Southeast Asia and the United States, edited by Limaye and Ahmed Mukarram, p. 124. Christian Science Monitor, “Embracing India as a Rising Power, The Monitor’s View”, 31 March 2005.

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Appendix I CHRONOLOGY OF IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS BETWEEN INDIA AND ASEAN 1992

India invited by ASEAN to be a Sectoral Dialogue Partner.

1995

Announcement by ASEAN at Bangkok summit of Full Dialogue Partnership with India.

1996

India became a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and attended 1st meeting of Post-Ministerial Conference of ASEAN and ARF in Jakarta.

1997

India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh signed Economic Co-operation Agreement in Bangkok. Myanmar joined in December. The forum named Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Co-operation (BIMST-EC).

2000

India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam signed agreement in Vientiane to form Mekong Ganga Co-operation.

2002

At the Phnom Penh summit, India invited by ASEAN to be a Summit Partner.

2003

At the Bali summit in October, these documents were signed: 1. Instrument of Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation in Southeast Asia; 2. Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Co-operation between ASEAN and the Republic of India; and 3. ASEAN–India Joint Declaration for Co-operation to Combat International Terrorism.

2004

At the Vientiane summit in November, these documents were signed: 1. ASEAN–India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity; 2. Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN–India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity. 1st BIMST-EC summit held in Thailand. Nepal and Bhutan joined BIMST-EC, which was renamed as Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation.

2005

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India invited to participate in the 1st East Asia summit in Kuala Lumpur.

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Appendix II INSTRUMENT OF ACCESSION TO THE TREATY OF AMITY AND CO-OPERATION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA WHEREAS the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, which was signed on 24 February 1976 in Bali, Indonesia, was amended by the First and Second Protocols Amending the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, which were signed on 15 December 1987 and 25 July 1998, respectively; WHEREAS Article 18, Paragraph 3, of the aforesaid Treaty as amended by Article 1 of the aforesaid Second Protocol provides that States outside Southeast Asia may also accede to the Treaty with the consent of all the States in Southeast Asia, namely Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; and WHEREAS all the States in Southeast Asia have consented to the accession of the Republic of India; NOW, therefore, the Republic of India, having considered the aforesaid Treaty as amended by the Protocols, hereby accedes to the same and undertakes faithfully to perform and carry out all the stipulations therein contained. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, this Instrument of Accession is signed by the Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India. DONE at Bali, Indonesia, on the Eighth Day of October in the Year Two Thousand and Three.

Yashwant Sinha Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India

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Appendix III FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT ON COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC COOPERATION BETWEEN THE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS AND THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA PREAMBLE WE, the Heads of State/Government of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia (Cambodia), the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesia), the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar (Myanmar), the Republic of the Philippines (the Philippines), the Republic of Singapore (Singapore), the Kingdom of Thailand (Thailand) and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (Viet Nam), Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (collectively, “ASEAN” or “ASEAN Member States”, or individually, “ASEAN Member State”), and the Republic of India (India); RECALLING that in 2002, we had agreed on the importance of enhancing our close economic cooperation and to work towards an ASEAN–India Regional Trade and Investment Area (RTIA) as a long-term objective; DESIRING to adopt a Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (this Agreement) between ASEAN and India (collectively, “the Parties”, or individually referring to an ASEAN Member State or to India as a “Party”) that is forward-looking in order to forge a closer economic partnership in the 21st century; DESIRING to minimise barriers and deepen economic linkages between the Parties; lower costs; increase intra-regional trade and investment; increase economic efficiency; create a larger market with greater opportunities and larger economies of scale for the businesses of the Parties; and enhance the attractiveness of the Parties to capital and talent; RECOGNISING the important role and contribution of the business sector in enhancing trade and investment between the Parties and the need to further promote and facilitate their cooperation and utilisation of greater business opportunities provided by the ASEAN–India RTIA;

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RECOGNISING the different stages of economic development among ASEAN Member States and the need for flexibility, including the need to facilitate the increasing participation of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (the New ASEAN Member States) in the ASEAN–India economic co-operation and the expansion of their exports, inter alia, through the strengthening of their domestic capacity, efficiency and competitiveness; REAFFIRMING the rights, obligations and undertakings of the respective parties under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and other multilateral, regional and bilateral agreements and arrangements; and RECOGNISING that regional trade arrangements can contribute towards accelerating regional and global liberalisation and as building blocks in the framework of the multilateral trading system, HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS: ARTICLE 1 Objectives The objectives of this Agreement are to: (a) Strengthen and enhance economic, trade and investment co-operation between the Parties; (b) Progressively liberalise and promote trade in goods and services as well as create a transparent, liberal and facilitative investment regime; (c) Explore new areas and develop appropriate measures for closer economic co-operation between the Parties; and (d) Facilitate the more effective economic integration of the new ASEAN Member States and bridge the development gap among the Parties. ARTICLE 2 Measures For Economic Cooperation The Parties agree to enter into negotiations in order to establish an ASEAN–India Regional Trade and Investment Area (RTIA), which includes a Free Trade Area (FTA) in goods, services and investment, and to strengthen and enhance economic cooperation through the following: (a) Progressive elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers in substantially all trade in goods; (b) Progressive liberalisation of trade in services with substantial sectoral coverage;

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(c) Establishment of a liberal and competitive investment regime that facilitates and promotes investment within the ASEAN–India RTIA; (d) Provision of special and differential treatment to the New ASEAN Member States; (e) Provision of flexibility to the Parties in the ASEAN–India RTIA negotiations to address their sensitive areas in the goods, services and investment sectors with such flexibilities to be negotiated and mutually agreed based on the principle of reciprocity and mutual benefits; (f) Establishment of effective trade and investment facilitation measures, including, but not limited to, simplification of customs procedures and development of mutual recognition arrangements; (g) Expansion of economic cooperation in areas as may be mutually agreed between the Parties that will complement the deepening of trade and investment links between the Parties and formulation of action plans and programmes in order to implement the agreed sectors/areas of co-operation; and (h) Establishment of appropriate mechanisms for the purposes of effective implementation of this Agreement. ARTICLE 3 Trade In Goods (1) With a view to expediting the expansion of trade in goods, the Parties agree to enter into negotiations in which duties and other restrictive regulations of commerce (except, where necessary, those permitted under Article XXIV (8)(b) of the WTO General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)) shall be eliminated on substantially all trade in goods between the Parties. (2) For the purposes of this Article, the following definitions shall apply unless the context otherwise requires: (a) “applied Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rates” shall refer to the respective applied rates of the Parties as of 1 July 2004; and (b) “non-tariff measures” shall include non-tariff barriers. (3) Upon signing of this Agreement, the Parties shall commence consultations on each other’s trade regime, including, but not limited to the following: (a) trade and tariff data; (b) customs procedures, rules and regulations; (c) non tariff measures including, but not limited to import licensing requirement and procedure, quantitative restrictions, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary;

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(d) intellectual property rights rules and regulations; and (e) trade policy. (4) The tariff reduction or elimination programme of the Parties shall require tariffs on listed products to be gradually reduced and, where applicable, eliminated in accordance with this Article. (5) The products which are subject to the tariff reduction or elimination programme under this Article shall include all products not covered by the Early Harvest Programme (EHP) under Article 7 of this Agreement, and such products shall be categorised into two tracks as follows: (a) Normal Track: Products listed in the Normal Track by a Party on its own accord shall have their respective applied MFN tariff rates gradually reduced or eliminated in accordance with specified schedules and rates (to be mutually agreed by the Parties) over a period from: (i) 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2011 for Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, and India; (ii) 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2016 for the Philippines and India; and (iii) 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2011 for India and 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2016 for the New ASEAN Member States. In respect of those tariffs which have been reduced but have not been eliminated, they shall be progressively eliminated within timeframes to be mutually agreed between the Parties. (b) Sensitive Track: (i) The number of products listed in the Sensitive Track shall be subject to a maximum ceiling to be mutually agreed among the Parties. (ii) Products listed in the Sensitive Track by a Party on its own accord shall, where applicable, have their respective applied MFN tariff rates progressively reduced/eliminated within timeframes to be mutually agreed between the Parties. (6) The commitments undertaken by the Parties under this Article and Article 7 of this Agreement shall fulfil the WTO requirements to eliminate tariffs on substantially all the trade between the Parties. (7) The specified tariff rates/tariff preferences to be mutually agreed between the Parties pursuant to this Article shall set out only the limits of the

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applicable tariff rates/preferences or range for the specified year of implementation by the Parties. (8) The negotiations between the Parties to establish the ASEAN–India RTIA covering trade in goods shall also include, but not be limited to the following: (a) modalities, including detailed rules governing the tariff reduction and/ or elimination; (b) Rules of Origin; (c) treatment of out-of-quota rates; (d) modification of a Party’s commitments under the agreement on trade in goods based on WTO agreements; (e) non-tariff measures/barriers, including, but not limited to, quantitative restrictions or prohibition on the importation of any product or on the export or sale for export of any product, as well as sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade; (f) safeguards based on the WTO agreements; (g) disciplines on subsidies and countervailing measures and anti-dumping measures based on the existing WTO agreements; and (h) facilitation and promotion of effective and adequate protection of traderelated aspects of intellectual property rights based on existing WTO, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and other relevant agreements. ARTICLE 4 Trade In Services With a view to expediting the expansion of trade in services, the Parties agree to enter into negotiations to progressively liberalise trade in services on a preferential basis with substantial sectoral coverage. Such negotiations shall be directed to: (a) progressive elimination of substantially all discrimination between or among the Parties and/or prohibition of new or more discriminatory measures with respect to trade in services between the Parties, except for measures permitted under Article V(1)(b) of the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); (b) expansion in the depth and scope of liberalisation of trade in services beyond those undertaken by ASEAN Member States and India under the GATS; and (c) enhanced cooperation in services between the Parties in order to improve efficiency and competitiveness, as well as to diversify the supply and distribution of services of the respective service suppliers of the Parties.

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ARTICLE 5 Investment To promote investments and to create a liberal, facilitative, transparent and competitive investment regime, the Parties agree to: (a) enter into negotiations in order to progressively liberalise their investment regimes; (b) strengthen cooperation in investment, facilitate investment and improve transparency of investment rules and regulations; and (c) provide for the protection of investments. ARTICLE 6 Areas of Economic Cooperation (1) Where appropriate, the Parties agree to strengthen their cooperation in the following areas, including, but not limited to: (a) Trade Facilitation: (i) Mutual Recognition Arrangements, conformity assessment, accreditation procedures, and standards and technical regulations; (ii) non-tariff measures; (iii) customs cooperation; (iv) trade financing; and (v) business visa and travel facilitation. (b) Sectors of Cooperation: (i) agriculture, fisheries and forestry; (ii) services: media and entertainment, health, financial, tourism, construction, business process outsourcing, environmental; (iii) mining and energy: oil and natural gas, power generation and supply; (iv) science and technology: information and communications technology, electronic-commerce, biotechnology; (v) transport and infrastructure: transport and communication; (vi) manufacturing: automotive, drugs and pharmaceuticals, textiles, petrochemicals, garments, food processing, leather goods, light engineering goods, gems and jewellery processing; (vii) human resource development: capacity building, education, technology transfer; and (viii) others: handicrafts, small and medium enterprises, competition policy, Mekong Basin Development, intellectual property rights, government procurement.

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(c) Trade and Investment Promotion: (i) fairs and exhibitions; (ii) ASEAN–India weblinks; and (iii) business sector dialogues. (2) The Parties agree to implement capacity building programmes and technical assistance, particularly for the New ASEAN Member States, in order to adjust their economic structure and expand their trade and investment with India. (3) Parties may establish other bodies as may be necessary to coordinate and implement any economic cooperation activities undertaken pursuant to this Agreement. ARTICLE 7 Early Harvest Programme (1) With a view to accelerating the implementation of this Agreement, the Parties agree to implement an EHP, which is an integral part of the ASEAN– India RTIA, for products covered under paragraph 3(a) below. The progressive tariff reduction under the EHP shall commence from 1 November 2004, and tariff elimination shall be completed by 31 October 2007 for ASEAN-6 and India, and 31 October 2010 for the New ASEAN Member States. (2) For the purposes of this Article, the following definitions shall apply unless the context otherwise requires: (a) “ASEAN 6” refers to Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand; and (b) “applied MFN tariff rates” shall refer to the respective applied rates of the Parties as of 1 July 2004. (3) The product coverage, tariff reduction and elimination, removal of nontariff barriers, rules of origin, trade remedies and emergency measures applicable to the EHP shall be as follows: (a) Product Coverage (i) Common products on which the Parties agree to exchange tariff concessions are listed in Annex A. (ii) Products on which India accords concessions to the New ASEAN Member States are listed in Annex B. (b) Modality for Tariff Reduction and Elimination The modality for tariff reduction and elimination for the products covered by the EHP shall be finalised under Article 8(2) of this Agreement.

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(c) Removal of non-tariff measures In order to fully realise the potential benefits of the EHP, the parties shall promote and facilitate trade in all products listed in the EHP. The parties shall also endeavour to refrain from using non-tariff measures adversely affecting trade in Early Harvest products. (d) Rules of Origin Products covered by the EHP shall qualify for tariff preferences in accordance with the Rules of Origin to be agreed under Article 8(2) of this Agreement. (e) Application of WTO provisions The WTO provisions governing modification of commitments, safeguard actions, emergency measures and other trade remedies, including antidumping and subsidies and countervailing measures, shall, in the interim, be applicable to the products covered under the EHP and shall be superseded and replaced by the relevant disciplines negotiated and agreed to by the Parties under Article 3(8) of this Agreement once these disciplines are implemented. (4) The Parties shall also explore the feasibility of cooperation in the areas listed in Annex C.

ARTICLE 8 Timeframes (1) For trade in goods, negotiations on the agreement for tariff reduction/ elimination and other matters as set out in Article 3 of this Agreement shall commence in January 2004 and be concluded by 30 June 2005 in order to establish the ASEAN–India FTA. (2) The negotiations on Rules of Origin for trade in goods under Articles 3 and 7 and modality for tariff reduction and elimination under Article 7 shall be concluded no later than 31 July 2004. (3) For trade in services and investments, the negotiations on the respective agreements shall commence in 2005 and be concluded by 2007. The identification, liberalisation, etc., of the sectors of services and investment shall be finalised for implementation subsequently in accordance with the timeframes to be mutually agreed: (a) taking into account the sensitive sectors of the Parties; and (b) with special and differential treatment and flexibility for the New ASEAN Member States.

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(4) For other areas of economic cooperation, the Parties shall continue to build upon existing or agreed programmes set out in Article 6 of this Agreement, develop new economic cooperation programmes and conclude agreements on the various areas of economic cooperation. The Parties shall do so expeditiously for early implementation in a manner and at a pace acceptable to all the Parties concerned. The agreements shall include timeframes for the implementation of the commitments therein. ARTICLE 9 Most-Favoured Nation Treatment India shall continue to accord Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) Treatment consistent with WTO rules and disciplines to all the non-WTO ASEAN Member States upon the date of signature of this Agreement. ARTICLE 10 General Exceptions Subject to the requirement that such measures are not applied in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between or among the Parties where the same conditions prevail, or a disguised restriction on trade within the ASEAN–India FTA, nothing in this Agreement shall prevent any Party from taking action and adopting measures for the protection of its national security or the protection of articles of artistic, historic and archaeological value, or such other measures which it deems necessary for the protection of public morals, or for the protection of human, animal or plant life, health and conservation of exhaustible natural resources. ARTICLE 11 Dispute Settlement Mechanism (1) The Parties shall, within one (1) year after the date of entry into force of this Agreement, establish appropriate formal dispute settlement procedures and mechanism for the purposes of this Agreement. (2) Pending the establishment of the formal dispute settlement procedures and mechanism under paragraph 1 above, any disputes concerning the interpretation, implementation or application of this Agreement shall be settled amicably by mutual consultations.

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ARTICLE 12 Institutional Arrangements for the Negotiations (1) There shall be established an ASEAN–India Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) to carry out the programme of negotiations set out in this Agreement. (2) The ASEAN–India TNC may invite experts or establish any Working Group as may be necessary to assist in the negotiations of all sectors in the ASEAN– India RTIA. (3) The ASEAN–India TNC shall regularly report to the Minister of Commerce and Industry of India and the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM-India Consultations), through the meetings of the ASEAN Senior Economic Officials and India (SEOM-India Consultations), on the progress and outcome of its negotiations. (4) The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, and the ASEAN Secretariat shall jointly provide the necessary secretariat support to the ASEAN–India Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) whenever and wherever negotiations are held. ARTICLE 13 Miscellaneous Provisions (1) This Agreement shall include the Annexes and the contents therein, and all future legal instruments agreed pursuant to this Agreement. (2) Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, this Agreement or any action taken under it shall not affect or nullify the rights and obligations of a Party under existing agreements to which it is a party. (3) The Parties shall endeavour to refrain from increasing restrictions or limitations that would affect the application of this Agreement. (4) Any ASEAN Member State may defer its participation in the implementation of this Agreement provided that a notification is given to the other parties within twelve (12) months from the date of signing of this Agreement. Any extension of the negotiated concessions to such ASEAN Member State shall be voluntary on the part of the parties participating in such implementation. The ASEAN Member State concerned shall participate in the implementation

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of this Agreement at a later date on the same terms and conditions, including any further commitments that may have been undertaken by the other parties by the time of such participation. ARTICLE 14 Amendments The provisions of this Agreement may be modified through amendments mutually agreed upon in writing by the Parties. ARTICLE 15 Depository For the ASEAN Member States, this Agreement shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, who shall promptly furnish a certified copy thereof to each ASEAN Member State and India. ARTICLE 16 Entry into Force (1) This Agreement shall enter into force on 1 July 2004. (2) The Parties undertake to complete their internal procedures for the entry into force of this Agreement prior to 1 July 2004. (3) Where a Party is unable to complete its internal procedures for the entry into force of this Agreement by 1 July 2004, the Agreement shall come into force for that Party upon the date of notification of the completion of its internal procedures. The Party concerned, however, shall be bound by the same terms and conditions, including any further commitments that may have been undertaken by the other Parties under this Agreement by the time of such notification. (4) A Party shall upon the completion of its internal procedures for the entry into force of this Agreement notify all the other parties in writing. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have signed this Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Republic of India.

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DONE at Bali, this 8th day of October, 2003 in duplicate copies in the English Language.

For Brunei Darussalam

For the Republic of India

HAJI HASSANAL BOLKIAH Sultan of Brunei Darussalam

ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE Prime Minister

For the Kingdom of Cambodia SAMDECH HUN SEN Prime Minister

For the Republic of Indonesia MEGAWATI SOEKARNOPUTRI President

For the Lao People’s Democratic Republic BOUNNHANG VORACHITH Prime Minister

For Malaysia DR MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD Prime Minister

For the Union of Myanmar GENERAL KHIN NYUNT Prime Minister

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For the Republic of the Philippines GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO President

For the Republic of Singapore GOH CHOK TONG Prime Minister

For the Kingdom of Thailand DR THAKSIN SHINAWATRA Prime Minister

For the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam PHAN VAN KHAI Prime Minister

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Appendix IV ASEAN–INDIA JOINT DECLARATION FOR COOPERATION TO COMBAT INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM The Governments of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, Member Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Republic of India, hereinafter referred to collectively as “the participants”; MINDFUL of the 2001 ASEAN Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism, which, inter alia, undertakes to strengthen cooperation at bilateral, regional and international levels in combating terrorism in a comprehensive manner and affirms that at the international level the United Nations should play a major role in this regard; REAFFIRMING their commitment to counter, prevent and suppress all forms of terrorist acts in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, international law and all the relevant United Nations resolutions or declarations on international terrorism, in particular the principles outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1373, 1267 and 1390; VIEWING acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed wherever, whenever and by whomsoever, as a profound threat to international peace and security, which require concerted action to protect and defend all peoples and the peace and security of the world; REJECTING any attempt to associate terrorism with any religion, race or nationality; RECOGNISING the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other States; ACKNOWLEDGING the value of cooperation on security, intelligence and law enforcement matters, and desiring to entering into such a cooperation to combat international terrorism through the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime, as a leading ASEAN body for combating terrorism, and other mechanisms;

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RECOGNISING the transnational nature of terrorist activities and the need to strengthen international cooperation at all levels in combating terrorism in a comprehensive manner; DESIRING to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation between the relevant agencies of the participants’ governments; Solemnly declare as follows: Objectives: 1.

The participants reaffirm the importance of having a framework for cooperation to prevent, disrupt and combat international terrorism through the exchange and flow of information, intelligence and capacity-building.

2.

The participants emphasize that the purpose of this cooperation is to enhance the efficacy of those efforts to combat terrorism.

Scope and Areas of Cooperation: 3.

The participants stress their commitment to seek to implement the principles laid out in this Declaration, in accordance with their respective domestic laws and their specific circumstances, in any or all of the following activities: i. Continue and improve intelligence and terrorist financing information sharing on counter-terrorism measures, including the development of more effective counter-terrorism policies and legal, regulatory and administrative counter-terrorism regimes. ii. Enhance liaison relationships amongst their law enforcement agencies to engender practical counter-terrorism regimes. iii. Strengthen capacity-building efforts through training and education; consultations between officials, analysts and field operators; and seminars, conferences and joint operations as appropriate. iv. Provide assistance on transportation, border and immigration control challenges, including document and identity fraud to stem effectively the flow of terrorist-related material, money and people. v. Comply with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1373, 1267, 1390 and other United Nations resolutions or declarations on international terrorism. vi. Explore on a mutual basis additional areas of cooperation.

Participation: 4.

Participants are called upon to become parties to all 12 of the United Nations conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.

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The participants are each called upon to designate an agency to coordinate with law enforcement agencies, authorities dealing with countering terrorism financing and other concerned government agencies, and to act as the central point of contact for the purposes of implementing this Declaration.

Disclosure of Information: 6.

The participants expect that no participant would disclose or distribute any confidential information, documents or data received in connection with this Declaration to any third party, at any time, except to the extent agreed in writing by the participant that provided the information.

Implementation: 7.

All the participants are urged to promote and implement in good faith and effectively the provisions of the present Declaration in all its aspects.

ADOPTED by the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States and the Republic of India on this Eighth Day of October 2003 in Bali, Indonesia.

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Appendix V ASEAN–INDIA PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE, PROGRESS AND SHARED PROSPERITY 30 November 2004 We, the Heads of State/Government of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia (Cambodia), the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesia), the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar (Myanmar), the Republic of the Philippines (the Philippines), the Republic of Singapore (Singapore), the Kingdom of Thailand (Thailand) and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (Viet Nam), Member Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (collectively, “ASEAN” or “ASEAN Member Countries”, or individually, “ASEAN Member Country”), and the Republic of India (India) gathered in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on 30th November 2004 for the 3rd ASEAN–India Summit; ADHERING to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and other universally recognised principles of international law; REAFFIRMING our faith in, and respect for, each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, mutual respect and mutual benefit; BOUND TOGETHER by our shared rich and valuable heritage of civilization, culture, and peaceful economic and social interaction and linkages extending over two millennia as well as by the pluralistic, multi-religious and culturally diverse nature of our respective societies; NOTING with deep satisfaction that the close cooperative and multifaceted partnership, which our countries have fostered, encompassing the political, security, economic, scientific and technological, human resource development, social, cultural and other areas of mutual interest that provides a solid foundation for taking the ASEAN–India partnership to greater heights and new areas; DETERMINED to optimally utilize our talented and youthful human and rich natural resources, and more competencies in many state-of-the-art technologies and knowledge-based industries;

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CONVINCED that ASEAN–India cooperation serves the essential interests of their peoples and is essential for promoting peace, stability, development and prosperity in Asia and the world; ASPIRING to play a more active role and to meet the political, economic, social and other challenges facing our region in the coming decades, and in helping to shape the world of the 21st century; RECALLING the Joint Statement issued after the 1st ASEAN–India Summit Meeting in Phnom Penh in November 2002 and the agreements and understandings reached during the 2nd ASEAN–India Summit Meeting in Bali in October 2003; and ATTACHING great significance to the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between ASEAN and India signed in Bali for realizing the full potential of ASEAN–India Regional Trade and Investment Area (RTIA) and economic cooperation. HEREBY commit ourselves to: • Foster friendship, good neighbourliness, peaceful co-existence and prosperity in the region; • Promote a long term co-operative partnership based on equality, shared ownership and mutual respect which will enable us to impart synergies to our respective strengths and complementarities to achieve our respective longterm national and regional development goals; • Cooperate in a coordinated manner to accelerate and mutually reinforce sustainable growth and development of our economies towards shared prosperity, poverty alleviation and reduction of social disparities, to enable our people to enjoy unhindered access to opportunities for development; • Co-operate in strengthening the UN system, including support for early reforms of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions to make them more democratic and responsive to the priorities of its member states particularly, the developing countries; • Co-operate in other multilateral fora, in particular the WTO, greater equity and greater benefits from globalization for the developing countries; • Jointly address the common challenges to our comprehensive political and economic security, including food, human and energy security;

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• Cooperate in combating the menace of international terrorism and other transnational crimes such as trafficking in drugs, arms smuggling, human trafficking particularly in women and children, cyber crimes, international economic crimes, environmental crimes, sea piracy and money laundering, through effective institutional linkages and programmes of co-operation giving priority to information exchange and capacity building; • Collaborate in areas of general and complete disarmament, and in the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction under strict and effective international control; • Take full advantage of the geographical contiguity of Southeast Asia and India and synergies the strengths of these two significant economic regions to act as powerful engines of growth; • Give high priority to development of regional infrastructure and road, rail, sea and air transportation links to increase physical connectivity that would facilitate greater movement of goods and people; • Facilitate travel and tourism between ASEAN and India by developing links of tourist centres to enhance synergies of tourism destinations; • Promote co-operation in science and technology, in particular information development and commercialization of new technologies; • Work through both conventional and innovative trade and economic arrangements, and full implementation of the ASEAN–India free trade area by 2011 for ASEAN-5 and India, 2016 for the Philippines and India and by 2011 by India and 2016 by the 4 new ASEAN Members Countries, including the early implementation of the Early Harvest Programme, to achieve freer movement of goods, services, investment, and co-operation in other economic areas; Reiterate full support for the implementation of the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II, leading to the formation of a more integrated ASEAN Community comprising the ASEAN Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community; • Co-operate to help bridge the development gap among various regions and countries, including through support to the Initiative for ASEAN Integration and sub-regional growth areas in ASEAN, and cooperation schemes between ASEAN Member Countries and India;

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• Promote co-operation in human resource development, through capacity building, strengthening of institutions, training and entrepreneurship development focusing on small and medium enterprises; • Promote people-to-people exchange involving, among others, parliamentarians, youth, artists, sportspersons and representatives from business, industry, media, academic and think-tank institutions; and • Preserve our cultural heritage, and promote cultural co-operation for better understanding and friendship among our peoples. INSTITUTIONAL AND FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS FOR IMPLEMENTATION: To realize the objectives of the ASEAN–India Partnership, the following measures will be taken: • ASEAN and India will implement specific activities and projects as contained in the attached Plan of Action; ASEAN and India will strengthen the existing funding mechanisms, including the ASEAN–India Co-operation Fund, for effective co-operation and implementation of the ASEAN–India Partnership and Plan of Action; • ASEAN and India are committed to providing requisite resources and in accordance with their respective capacities, including mutually exploring effective and innovative external resource mobilization efforts, to accomplish the various strategies and measures outlined in the Plan of Action; • The progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN–India Partnership and the Plan of Action will be reviewed by the Senior Officials and the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and India under the ASEAN–India Dialogue Relations; and • The Plan of Action will be reviewed periodically taking into consideration the dynamic developments in the region and the world. Signed in Vientiane, Lao PDR this Thirtieth Day of November in the Year Two Thousand and Four in two originals in the English language.

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Appendix VI PLAN OF ACTION TO IMPLEMENT THE ASEAN–INDIA PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE, PROGRESS AND SHARED PROSPERITY 1.

Political and Security Cooperation

1.1 1.1.1

Political Foster closer cooperation and consultation between our delegations on reforming and democratising the United Nations and the institutions under the United Nations System by making them more reflective of the contemporary realities, and especially in the World Trade Organisation and other Bretton Woods institutions, so as to articulate the aspirations of the developing countries for equitable treatment and representation of their views; Consult and cooperate on regional and international political and security issues of mutual interest and concern; Promote norms and practices by ensuring the participation and involvement of women in consultations and peaceful settlement of disputes, particularly those reflected under the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia for consultations and peaceful settlement of disputes; Cooperate closely in opposing the threat of weapons of mass destruction and on disarmament issues with the objective of total elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons; and Strengthen the regional security dialogue and cooperation through the ASEAN Regional Forum for the maintenance of regional peace and stability.

1.1.2 1.1.3

1.1.4

1.1.5

1.2 1.2.1

1.2.2

1.2.3

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Terrorism and other Transnational Crimes Strengthen and expand effective cooperation to combat international terrorism and other transnational crimes including through the existing ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crimes (AMMTC); Build institutional linkages for intelligence and information sharing, exchange of information, and cooperation in legal and enforcement matters; Develop joint training programmes and use regional organisations for technical assistance to effectively fight terrorism and other transnational

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1.2.4

1.2.5

1.2.6

1.2.7

1.2.8

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crimes such as money laundering, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, particularly of women and children, arms smuggling, cyber crimes, international economic crime and sea piracy; Exchange ideas and jointly promote best standards and practices and explore ways to safeguard the sovereign rights of the parties, the common maritime boundaries, and shared maritime environment; Explore developing anti-terrorism cooperation and assistance packages, covering among others, immigration controls, customs cooperation, land, air and sea safety; Encourage accession to all relevant international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols and implement relevant UN resolutions on counter-terrorism; Cooperate closely in opposing the threat of weapons of mass destruction especially in the context of such weapons falling into the hands of terrorists; and Explore other avenues of cooperation between ASEAN and India taking into consideration the Work Programme to Implement the ASEAN Plan of Action to Combat Transnational Crimes.

2.

Economic Cooperation

2.1 2.1.1

Trade and Investment Establish ASEAN–India Regional Trade and Investment Area (RTIA) covering trade in goods, trade in service and investment as outlined under the Framework Agreement for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation; Encourage participation of trade and industry representatives in the Business Summits and trade fairs held in India and ASEAN countries with special incentives for the participation of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Viet Nam; Promote and facilitate cross flows foreign direct investment into ASEAN countries and India through cooperation between investment promotion agencies, dissemination of information on investment policies, rules and procedures, and linkages between investors and local entrepreneurs; Establish sectoral linkages involving business and industries to promote business interaction in specific sectors of industries; Maximise the synergies for promoting trade in goods and services, as well as in investment flows between ASEAN and India, and identify barriers to trade in services, with a view to addressing them, in accordance with the level of development of each participating country; and

2.1.2

2.1.3

2.1.4 2.1.5

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2.1.6

Work towards establishing bilateral Agreements between Member Countries of ASEAN and India for Investment Promotion and Protection and Double Taxation Avoidance.

2.2 2.2.1

Customs Cooperation Enhance trade facilitation by streamlining customs procedures, formalities and practices in accordance with international conventions and best practices; Encourage development of on-line linkages of India and ASEAN countries with regard to Certificate of Origin; and Provide technical assistance and capacity building to the CLMV Countries to upgrade their customs capacity.

2.2.2 2.2.3

2.3 2.3.1

2.3.2

2.3.3 2.3.4 2.3.5

2.4 2.4.1 2.4.2 2.4.3 2.4.4

2.4.5 2.4.6 2.4.7

09 India&SEA Appendix

Standards and Conformance Cooperation Establish linkages between national standards and conformity assessment bodies and technical regulators for mutual recognition of conformity assessment procedures and results and capacity building; Facilitate the exchange of information on standards and conformity assessment procedures in relation to the regulatory requirements of Member Countries of ASEAN as well as India for easy access by the regulatory bodies and exporters in the participating countries through identification of contact points; Set up technical cooperation in capacity building in the area of accreditation and certification bodies and laboratories; Establish export and import inspection systems in line with internationally accepted good regulatory practices; and Promote technical assistance in the area of standards and conformance to CLMV Countries. Finance Improve financial stability, among others, through voluntary swap arrangement; Enhance regional monetary and financial cooperation; Develop and promote an Asian bond market; Further develop capital market infrastructure in areas of legal and regulatory and supervisory framework and cross border trading clearance settlement; Enhance financial sector links between ASEAN and India; Explore various ways to enhance trade financing in the region; and Assist ASEAN Countries, particularly CLMV in the development of their capital markets.

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2.5 2.5.1 2.5.2

2.5.3

2.5.4

2.6 2.6.1 2.6.2

2.6.3

2.6.4

2.7

239

Transport and Infrastructure Expedite completion of India–Myanmar–Thailand trilateral highway and extension to Laos and Cambodia; Encourage private sector participation in highway projects and port and coastal shipping projects in India and in the development of roads and railways in the Member Countries of ASEAN; Strengthen cooperation in the field of shipping through, among others, the formation of ASEAN–India maritime association to provide an institutional basis to coordinate and enhance ASEAN–India cooperation in marine transport; and Strengthen ASEAN–India air connectivity by working towards progressively greater liberalisation of air services between ASEAN and India. Energy Promote and develop trade and investment interest in gas-related projects; Promote and develop trade and investment interest in the electricity sector, and pursue an integrated and coordinated development programme to establish compatibility of electricity grids, and work towards liberalisation of power trade among ASEAN Member Countries and India; Develop and strengthen institutional linkages between ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) and India to cooperate on R&D into energy efficiency and renewable energy, and to establish programmes of cooperation; and Promote sustainable and optimal utilisation of renewable energy, coal and new hydrocarbon projects, and cooperate in energy policy and planning, energy efficiency and conservation, as well as in the establishment of institutional linkages for developing other programmes of cooperation. Science and Technology

2.7.1 Information and Communication Technology 2.7.1.1 Bridge the digital divide among and within our countries and use the synergies between our hardware and software capabilities for strengthening the IT industry in the region; 2.7.1.2 Set up Advanced Institutes of Information Technologies in different ASEAN countries, in particular CLMV for facilitating the building up of ICT capabilities; 2.7.1.3 Organise regular meetings of IT Ministers in ASEAN and India including with the IT Ministers of Indian states to facilitate exchange of experiences;

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2.7.1.4 Strengthen institutional cooperation in the ICT infrastructure connectivity between ASEAN and India to accelerate the IT trade between ASEAN and India; 2.7.1.5 Promote and facilitate ICT workshops and training in the developments of ICT capacity building; 2.7.1.6 Promote human resource cooperation through various training courses, e-Learning, seminars, workshops as well as exchange of visits among IT experts; 2.7.1.7 Promote the development of an ASEAN–India broadband high speed optical fibre network and promote information flow and the application of new technology in the region; and 2.7.1.8 Exchange programmes among government officials of ASEAN and India in the areas of rural development and poverty eradication that will help provide additional income to rural households and improve the quality of lives. For example: i. visits and training programmes on good practices in rural development and poverty eradication; ii. R&D on rural products such as handicrafts, leather-based crafts and beads works. 2.7.2 Research and Development and Technology Management 2.7.2.1 Promote joint R&D and technology development in areas having potentials for commercial applications with the involvement of public and private sector, through, among others, the formation of strategic alliances between ASEAN and Indian enterprises; 2.7.2.2 Cooperate in the field of technology management, on issues, covering IPR management, technology forecasting, technology assessment, technology inter-mediation in areas such as materials science, marine technology, microelectronics design and processing, and multimedia; 2.7.2.3 Establish a Technology Transfer Network, to facilitate the pooling of information on the availability of technologies and experts with the enterprises/R&D organisations in the region; and 2.7.2.4 Support ASEAN’s environmental programme and activities under its Environmentally Sustainable Cities Initiative by organising seminars and workshops to share India’s experiences in lowering urban air pollution and use of alternative fuel. 2.7.3 Space Technology Applications and Biotechnology 2.7.3.1 Develop a medium to long term programme of cooperation in the field of space technology promoting collaboration in its applications for broadcasting and telecommunication, effective management of natural resources and environment, disaster mitigation and weather forecasting;

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241

2.7.3.2 Establish an ASEAN–India Biotechnology Network to encourage cooperation in the field of plant biotechnology for crop improvement; and 2.7.3.3 Develop an inventory of the region’s bio-resources and joint research on issues relating to animal biotechnology, bio-informatics and regulatory issues concerning biotechnology. 2.8 2.8.1 2.8.2

2.8.3 2.8.4 2.8.5 2.8.6

2.9 2.9.1

2.9.2 2.10 2.10.1 2.10.2

2.10.3

2.11 2.11.1

09 India&SEA Appendix

Human Resource Development Increase the number of fellowships for ASEAN students, especially to those from CLMV countries to pursue higher education in India; Set up Software Development and Training Centres in the CLMV countries and provide DoE (Design of Experiments) accreditation to these training centres; Establish facilities for teaching English language in select Member Countries of ASEAN especially in the CLMV countries; Promote closer collaborations between universities in ASEAN and India through the ASEAN University Network; Work towards developing a comprehensive ASEAN–India Programme for Capacity Building for better coordination and monitoring; and Support the CLMV Countries to upgrade their education systems through implementation of curricula for kindergarten, primary, secondary and tertiary education. Sharing Experience on Managing Development Hold regular meetings of the ASEAN–India policy makers and Network of Think Tanks (AINTT) to facilitate exchange of development experiences; and Institute fellowships for promoting studies on ASEAN–India relations. Pharmaceuticals and Health Share experiences and capability in developing quality generic pharmaceuticals industry, to make medicines more affordable to people; Cooperate in joint production of diagnostic and therapeutic supplies for HIV/AIDS, vaccines such as, but not limited to, BCG, anti-venin, equine rabies, anti-hepatitis and anti-tetanus, serum vaccines, generic drugs and traditional medicines like Ayurveda and Herbal medicines; and Address health related issues having bearing on countries in the region, especially in light of emerging diseases such as SARS and avian flu. Commodities, Agriculture, Horticulture and Food Processing Develop closer interaction between the Ministries related to Agriculture, Horticulture and Commodities in the ASEAN Member Countries and India to initiate joint actions on issues of common interest.

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2.12 2.12.1 2.12.2 2.12.3

2.12.4

2.12.5

2.12.6 2.12.7

2.12.8

INDIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA: TOWARDS SECURITY CONVERGENCE

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Develop joint programmes in capacity building aimed at strengthening the capacities of SMEs on both sides; Share on a regular basis policy and other experiences in the promotion of a dynamic, networked, and competitive SME sector; Encourage collaboration in the formation and linkages of associations of small-scale industries and other non-government organisations through training of personnel, and information dissemination; Foster supply and subcontracting linkages and partnerships involving SMEs from ASEAN and India as well as other firms within and outside the region through trade missions, study visits and other networkbuilding activities; Collaborate in the joint development and compilation of system toolkit packages and other materials for training in enterprise organisation and management skills, including financial reporting and business plan preparations, technology upgrading, quality maintenance and assurance, ISO standard certification; Promote various associations of small-scale industries and other business organisations in support of ASEAN–India SME development and linkages; Organise Indian technology exhibitions in new Member Countries of ASEAN with a focus on machinery and equipment for small scale and rural industries; and Establish SME Service Centres in ASEAN countries, in particular CLMV and virtual SME Service Centres for ASEAN and India SMEs.

3.

Social and Cultural Cooperation

3.1 3.1.1

3.1.4

Social Promote cooperation and regional commitment on the poverty alleviation efforts and for achieving Millennium Development Goals, including sustainable development; Create a Forum for sharing of experiences in labour market liberalisation and addressing issues relating to mobility of skilled labour between ASEAN and India; Promote dialogue between Government officials and civil societies of ASEAN and India in the field of rural development, poverty alleviation, women empowerment, and issues concerning protection to children against exploitation, gender equality and old age care; and Encourage home stay facilities.

3.2 3.2.1

Tourism Promote and facilitate more tourism flow;

3.1.2

3.1.3

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3.2.2 3.2.3

3.2.4

3.2.5

3.3 3.3.1

3.3.2

3.3.3 3.3.4

3.3.5

3.4 3.4.1 3.4.2 3.4.3

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Consider establishing a high level cooperation mechanism between relevant tourism authorities; Consider reciprocal arrangements where possible for relaxing existing visa regulations and extending travel concessions to ASEAN and Indian tourists; Promote cultural and rural tourism through joint tourism packages, including Eco-Tourism, adventure tourism, sports tourism, religious circuit tourism, by utilising their geographical diversity; and Promote budget tourism packages by using multi-modal transport, including luxury coaches and ferry services. Culture Promote greater awareness and appreciation of each other’s traditional and contemporary cultures through establishment of an autonomous ASEAN–India Foundation (AIF) to facilitate exchange and linkage programmes in the areas of creative and performing arts, cultural education, conservation and management of cultural and archaeological heritage, cultural enterprises and creative industries; Institutionalise regular exchange of views of Culture Ministers to promote better understanding of cultural diversity and in formulation of cultural policy in the context of globalisation; Encourage regular interaction among cultural workers of ASEAN and India aimed at fostering deeper cultural reflection; The AIF may also provide for ASEAN–India Civil Societies’ Forum to discuss and exchange, experiences on preserving traditional cultural values from the negative impacts of the process of trade liberalisation and globalisation. Among the concerns of the forum will be the ways to increase dissemination of local cultural contents among the youth and other efforts aimed to strengthen healthy national identity among them; and Work together to prevent the illegal smuggling of cultural heritage so as to make these valuable objects stay within jurisdiction of its rightful owner. People-to-People Contacts, Media, Entertainment, and Sports Facilitate greater interaction between media of ASEAN and India for reducing the information gaps; Establish ASEAN–India Parliamentarians’ Forum to provide for regular interaction; and Works towards organising ASEAN–India Games.

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244

4. 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4

4.5

4.6

09 India&SEA Appendix

INDIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA: TOWARDS SECURITY CONVERGENCE

Institutional and Funding Arrangements for the Implementation of the Plan of Action Draw up specific work programmes, if necessary, to implement the various actions and measures outlined in this Plan of Action; India will provide technical support to the ASEAN Secretariat in implementing the Plan; Strengthen existing funding mechanisms for effective coordination and implementation of this Plan; Provide requisite resources in accordance with their respective capacities, exploring effective and innovative resource mobilisation to accomplish the various strategies and measures outlined in the Plan; Conduct regular review of the Plan through existing mechanisms such as the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and India, the ASEAN–India Senior Officials Meeting, the ASEAN–India Joint Cooperation Committee, the ASEAN–India Working Group to ensure consistency with the priorities of the ASEAN–India dialogue relations and to incorporate new and urgent areas of cooperation given the dynamic regional and global developments; and Submit a progress report of the implementation of the Plan of Action to the annual ASEAN–India Summit through the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and India.

244

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Index

245

INDEX

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, 25, 61, 129 Abu Sayyaf group, 58 Ad hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean, 94 Aditya Birla group, 128 Afghanistan regime change, 50 Agreements on the Transfer of Convicted Offenders, 63 Alagappa, Muthiah, 18 Ali Alatas, 77, 160 Alondra Rainbow, 104 Ambalat oil exploration, 56 Amir Bashir, 59 Andaman, 29, 88 naval patrols, 111 Angkor Wat preservation, 143 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), 115 Armitage, Richard, 31 arms trafficking, 20 Arroyo, Gloria Macapagal, 26 ASEAN chronology of events, 214 co-operative security with, 3 influence of China, 37 relations with India, revival, 23 security concepts applicable, 6 ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), 130, 131

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245

ASEAN–India Framework Agreement for Comprehensive Economic Co-operation, 131–35, 216–28 ASEAN-India Vision 2020, 127 ASEAN Plus Three, 30, 36 ASEAN Rail Connectivity Programme, 137 ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), 27, 53, 75–80 India as Full Dialogue Partner, 27, 146 ASEAN Security Community (ASC), 4, 25, 48, 182 ASEAN University Network, 171 Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), 182 Asia-Middle East Dialogue (AMED), 71 Asian Co-operation Dialogue (ACD), 168, 169 Asian Development Bank, 154 Asian Economic Community, xii, 156 goals, 157 India’s support, 18 Asian Exim Bank, 153 Asian Export Credit Agencies, 153 Asian Relations Conference, 2, 15 Asian Special Drawing Rights, 153 Asian values conflict resolution, for, 163 Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), 15, 151, 152 Aung San, 16, 17

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246

INDIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA: TOWARDS SECURITY CONVERGENCE

Aung San Suu Kyi, 179–80, 183, 188, 200 Automatic Identification System (AIS), 104 balance of power, 49, 50 Bandung Conference, 17 Bay of Bengal, 18, 55 exploitation, 119 Bay of Bengal Economic Community, 137 Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC), 30, 68, 135, 136 energy co-operation, 139, 140 bilateralism, 30, 147–49 biotechnology, 147, 240 Border Roads Organization, 137 Bose, Netaji Subhash Chandra, 174 Braudel, Fernand, 90 Brunei, 20 Cambodia, 50, 148, 149 China 1962 war with India, 55 assistance to Myanmar, 18 attack on India, 2 boundary issues with India, 55 impact on India–Southeast Asia relations, 37–40 presence in Indian Ocean, 96, 97 relations with ASEAN, 37 relations with Southeast Asia countries, 51 CLMV countries economic ties with India, 142–45 great power rivalry, 20 subregional co-operation with India, 140–42 Coedes, George, 20, 21 Cold War end of, 1

10 India&SEA Index

246

Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), 30, 125, 131, 133, 134, 177 India–Singapore, 135 comprehensive security, 6 Confucian philosophy, 163 Congress Party, 27 co-operative security framework, 4–11 Council for Security and Cooperation in Asia Pacific (CSCAP), 5, 54, 80 Memorandum No. 3, 11 culture bonds, as, 169, 170 soft power, 170–72 customs co-operation, 238 Cuu Long Rice Research Institute, 142 defence, 56 defence co-operation, 71–75, 208 Delhi Public School, 171 democracy, 164–68 perception of security, as a, 169 democratization trend towards, 22 Deng Xioaping, 32 Dewitt, David, 7 dispute settlement mechanism, 224 Early Harvest Programme, 132, 222, 234 East Asia summit invitation to India, 24 membership, issue of, 155–57 East Asian Confucian philosophy, 163 economic co-operation, 237 areas, 221, 222 integration, and, 124–57 prospects, 118 strategic outlook, 149–51

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Index

247

economic factors, 210 economic impulse, 124–27 economic relationship background, 127–29 Economist, 24 economy priority, 29–31 rapidly growing, 3 energy co-operation, 239 BIMSTEC, 139, 140 energy security, 68–71 European Union, 45 constitution, rejection of, 46 sanctions agains Myanmar, 181 Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), 88, 89, 116 Exim Bank credit, 129, 154 Export-Import Bank of India, 153 Extradition Treaties, 63 Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI), 134 fisheries, 118, 119 Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA), 49, 56 food processing, 241 foreign direct investment (FDI), 125 inflows from Japan, 126 Fortress Andaman (FORTRON), 100, 105 Fukuda doctrine, 35 Fukuda, Takeo, 35 Fukuyama, 165 Funabashi, Yoichi, 36 geopolitical continuum, 13, 14 Gandhi, Mahatma, 161 Gandhi, Rajiv visits to Myanmar and Indonesia, 1, 114 globalization, 5 impact, 20–22

10 India&SEA Index

247

Goh Chok Tong, 19, 23, 25, 142 Golden Triangle, 67 Grare, Frederic, 25 Greater Mekong subregion cooperation, 52, 140 Hambali, 59 Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al-Islam (HUJI), 62 Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), 62 Heng Samrin support from India, 22 High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora, 173 Ho Chi Minh, 16 Homeland Security Act, 108 human resource development, 241 Huntington, Samuel, 170 illegal immigration, 19 India Asia-Pacific, place in, 15, 16 Bill on Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities), 112 Constitution, secular, 65 divergence with ASEAN countries, 84 economic ties with CLMV countries, 142–45 FTA with Thailand, 30, 135 identity, search for new, 28 infrastructure development in Myanmar, 197 joint naval exercises, 114–17 maritime doctrine, 117, 118 non-aligned status, 16 Oil and Natural Gas Commission, 119 Philippines, relations with, 69 policy on Myanmar, 192–93 relations with ASEAN, revival of, 22, 23

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248

INDIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA: TOWARDS SECURITY CONVERGENCE

Singapore, relations with, 68, 69 strengths in skills, acceptance, 21 stability, 24 support for Asian Economic Community, 18 support for Heng Samrin regime, 22 India–ASEAN Biotechnology Network, 147 India-China Regional Trading Arrangement, 97 India-China Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, 38, 97 India-Myanmar Joint Task Force Report, 195 India-Myanmar links, 191, 192 economic relations, 194, 195 trade, 195–97 India Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, 73, 143 Indian diaspora, 172–77 Indian National Army, 174 Indian Ocean China’s presence, 96, 97 region, strategic integrity of, 93, 94 security, 40–42 source of energy supplies, 98, 99 Indian Ocean Rim–Association for Regional Cooperation (IORARC), 119, 120 Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO), 147 Indonesia, 20 information and communication technology (ICT) links, 239, 240 India and Singapore–Malaysia, 138, 139 Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), 143

10 India&SEA Index

248

Institute of Security and International Studies, xiii Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, xiii International Herald Tribune, 37 International Maritime Organization (IMO), 100, 104 maritime security measures, 107, 108 International Monetary Fund (IMF), 153 International Ship and Port Safety (ISPS) Code, 103 investments, 221 Iraq war, 33 Islam Hadhari, 65 Israel, 34, 76 Jammu and Kashmir, 27, 58, 62 Japan calls for it to be more active, 110 influence, 31, 35 Japanese Self Defence Forces, 95 Jemaah Islamiyah, 41, 59 jihad, 61 Joint Co-ordination Committee, 129 Joint Declaration by India and ASEAN Co-operation to Combat International Terrorism, 64, 229–31 Joint India–U.S. army exercises, 34 joint naval exercises, 55 Karen National Union, 186 Kashmir, 27, 58, 62, 92 Kavi Chongkittavorn, 21 knowledge-based economy, 3 Koizumi, Junichiro, 35 Kunming initiative, 141 Lakshadwip island, 113 Laos, 148, 149

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Index

249

Laskar Jihad, 58 leadership changes, 26 Lee Hsien Loong, 63, 135 Lee Kuan Yew, 6, 31, 126 liberal democracy, 165 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, 61 Limburg, 100 Long Range International Tracking, 104 Look East policy, xi, 28, 29, 117 madrassas, 59 Mahbubani, Kishore, 163 major powers interplay, 31–37 role and influence, 50–56 Malacca Strait, 14, 18, 20, 97, 103 Malaysia, 20 MALSINDO, 109 Manila Declaration, 49, 76 Manipal Medical College, 171 maritime concerns non-traditional security issues, 97–113 oil transportation security, 99–101 safety of sea lanes, 20 maritime co-operation, 88–120 container security initiative, 108 historical background, 89–93 institutionalization, 117 regional maritime security initiative, 108–11 maritime terrorism, 65, 69, 101 dealing with challenges, 105, 106 effect on trade, 101–103 Mekong Ganga Co-operation (MGC), 135, 140 military threat absence, 23–26 Mindanao National Front (MNF), 58 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), 58

10 India&SEA Index

249

most-favoured nation treatment, 224 Muhammadiyah, 65 multilateralism Asia-Pacific region, 1 Multimedia Super Corridor, 128 Muni, S. D., 38 Mutual Legal Assistance, 63 Treaty in Criminal Matters, 68 Myanmar, 179–204 ASEAN, in, 180–83 ASEAN’s position regarding recent developments, 183–85 human resource development, 198, 199 India’s concerns, 187–90 India’s perceptions, 190, 191 National Convention, 185 opportunities for ASEAN and India, 200–204 perception of India, 190, 191 State Law and Order Restoration Council, 182 State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), 181 Myanmar-Thailand gas pipeline, 99 Nandy, Ashis, 166 Nahdlatul Ulama, 65 Nathan, K. S., 25 Nathan, S. R., 175 nation building Soeharto, 6 National Reconciliation Commission, 60 National Security Council of Thailand, 60 navies role, 113, 114 Nehru, Jawaharlal, 15, 17 New Framework for U.S.–India Defence Relationship, 33 Nicobar islands, 29, 88

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250

INDIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA: TOWARDS SECURITY CONVERGENCE

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), 78 Nuclear Co-operation agreement, 33 Nye, Joseph, 170 Observers’ Research Foundation, 34 oil multilateral co-operation arrangement for oil transportation security, 99–101 Oil and Natural Gas Commission, 119, 144 “One Southeast Asia” concept, 7 Operation Enduring Freedom, 110 opium smuggling, 67 Organization of African Unity (OAU), 116 Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), 70 overseas Indians, 174–77 Overseas Indians’ Day, 176 Pakistan bilateral dialogue, 27 joining U.S.-led military alliances, 16 weapons of mass destruction, 58 “Pakistan-centric preoccupation”, 28 pan-Asian Community creation, 16 Pan-Asianism, 16–18 Panikkar, Sardar K.M., 89 Parthasarathy, G., 57 Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity, 133, 232–35 plan of action, 236–44 funding arrangements, 244 Phan Van Khai, 74 pharmaceuticals and health, 241 Philippines, 20, 68 piracy, 20, 103–105

10 India&SEA Index

250

political pluralism, 45 Portuguese, 14 private and non-governmental organizations, 172 Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), 111, 112 Protocol to Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ), 38 Raman, B., 59 Rao, P.V. Narasimha, 23, 126 regional co-operation, 124 Regional Export Credit Agency for Asia (RECAA), 153 Regional Infrastructural Projects, 153 regional integration, 3 regional trade liberalization, 133 regionalism, 30 religion factor in India-Southeast Asia relations, 83 research and development, 240 Reserve Bank of Asia, 153 Rice, Condoleeza, 57 Russia diminishing market, 126 influence waning, 31 oil, producer of, 36 Sarkar, H.B., 21 science and technology co-operation, key for, 145–46 sea lanes, 18 security convergence of interests, 47–49 culture as organic bonds, 169, 170 security assessment, 18–20 Sen, Amartya, 167 Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO), 37

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Index

251

Shangrila Dialogue, 81 Singapore, 20, 68 key centre in oil market, 98 Singh, Jaswant, 19 Singh, Manmohan, 28, 33, 39, 134, 155 Singh, K. Natwar, 110, 167 Sinha, Yaswant, 64, 112 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), 242 smuggling, 19 social and cultural cooperation, 242, 243 social and political development, 161 social, economic and political institutions, 162 sociocultural diversity, 45 socioeconomic development, 207 South Asia population, 24 South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), 130, 181 Southeast Asian countries dispute free relationship, 3 “engagement” in foreign policy, 46 relations with India, 2, 54–56 relations with China, 51, 53–54 security, differing perceptions on, 19 Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ), 78 Soviet Union reduced market, 126 space technology, 147, 240 Spratly Islands, 49, 51 subregional co-operation, 135–38 CLMV countries, with, 140–42 Syed Ahmad Albar, 8, 12 Syed Farid Alatas, 166 Tagore, Rabindranath, 169 Tamil Nadu reconstruction, 86

10 India&SEA Index

251

Tan, Tony, 34 Tata group, 128 Teo Chee Hean, 79 terrorism, 41, 42, 56–67 counter-terrorism co-operation, 62–64, 210 dealing with, 58–62 fight against, 40 maritime, see maritime terrorism religion, links with, 64–65 Thailand FTA with India, 30 Joint Working Group (with India), 68 southern, 60 Thaksin Shinawatra, 60 The Discovery of India, 15 trade goods, in, 218–20 services, in, 220 with Southeast Asian countries, 125 transnational crime, 20, 66 transport and infrastructure, 239 Treaty of Amity and Co-operation (TAC), 4, 38, 74 instrument of accession, 216 tsunami disaster, 29, 34, 40, 88, 116, 120 India’s relief efforts, 40 U.N. Conference on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), 104 U.N. Security Council, 36 Committee on Al-Qaeda, 60 United States joint exercises with Indian navy, 116 relief operations, 34 U.S. National Security Doctrine, 115 USS Cole, 100

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INDIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA: TOWARDS SECURITY CONVERGENCE

Vajpayee, Atal Bihari visit to China, 38 Vasco da Gama, 14 Vietnam, 52, 148 Vivian Balakrishnan, 11, 54 Yangon-Mandalay trunk line, 197 Yasukuni shrine, 35 Yeo, George, 155, 156 Yudhoyono, Susilo Bambang, 26, 106

10 India&SEA Index

252

Wahabbi ideology, 59 Wen Jiabao visit to India, 38, 39 weapons of mass destruction maritime terrorism, 66 transfer from Pakistan, 58 World Trade Organization, 47, 154 Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), 48

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sudhir Devare is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. A former member of the Indian Foreign Service (1964–2001), he served in several Indian missions abroad and was India’s ambassador to South Korea, Ukraine and Indonesia. As Secretary in India’s External Affairs Ministry, he dealt closely with India’s evolving engagement with the AsiaPacific. Mr Devare was a member of the National Security Advisory Board of India in 2002–03 and also briefly a Visiting Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. He was the Vice-Chairman of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi.

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