India is all set to host the forthcoming 2 day Asean event starting June 16, 2022 and a special meeting among the senior officials is scheduled to be held on June 15, 2022. This Track 1.5 dialogue, Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (SAIFMM), is themed on ‘Building Bridged in the Indo-Pacific’ and the meeting also marks 30th Anniversary of th India-ASEAN relations and the dialogue further commemorates 10th anniversary of India-ASEAN strategic partnership which begun back in 2012. The meeting will be co-chaired by External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar and Vivian Balakrishnan, Foreign Minister for Singapore.
The India-ASEAN relations has gone through multifaceted levels ranging from sectoral partnership in 1992 to full dialogue partnership in 1995 moving forward with Summit level partnership in 2002 and later on addition of a strategic partnerhsip in 2012. Furthermore, ASEAN is important to India as the grouping is central to India’s Act East Policy as well as vital for the wider Indo-Pacific Agenda.
The 10 member grouping comprises of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. Myanmar’s junta foreign minister, Wuna Maung Lwin, will not be participating in the summit. Instead, Myanmar’s permanent secretary for foreign affairs, Chan Aye has been invited as a representative on the senior official’s meeting as well as the India-ASEAN summit. EAM spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi further stressed upon the inclination towards the ASEAN bloc as he further added that the summit will be held in accordance to the ASEAN format decided to went by the consensus for the dialogue in lieu of Myanmar’s participation. The approach lays emphasis on inviting a non-political and non-military representative to the meeting.
India, ASEAN & Myanmar
The important fact to be noticed here is that India’s approach towards Myanmar has been independent and unbiased as India has supported Myanmar at several line, when sanctions were heavily imposed by the western countries on Myanmar, India took its stand and emphasised on the restoration of democratic process in the country and stressed on the adoption of ASEAN’s Five-point consensus. The consensus was adopted in April 2021, lays focus on ending the violence immediately followed with a dialogue among all the parties to provision of humanitarian assistance by ASEAN to appointment of Special Envoy and the envoy’s visit to Myanmar to meet with all the parties.
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