About East Asia Summit

East Asia Summit is a unique Leaders-led forum of 18 countries of the Asia-Pacific region to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity. It has evolved as a forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on political, security and economic issues of common regional concern and plays an important role in the regional architecture.

Established in 2005, EAS allows the principal players in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss issues of common interest and concern in an open and transparent manner at the highest level. The membership of EAS consists of ten ASEAN Member States (i.e. Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the USA. EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.

The concept of an East Asia Grouping was first promoted in 1991 by then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad. The final report of the East Asian Study Group in 2002, established by the ASEAN+3 countries (i.e. China, Japan and ROK), recommended EAS as an ASEAN led development limited to the ASEAN +3 countries. However, the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) held in Vientiane on July 26, 2005 welcomed the participation of ASEAN, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand, in the first EAS. USA and the Russian Federation were formally included as members of the EAS at the 6th EAS held in Bali, Indonesia on November 19, 2011.

Seven East Asia Summit has been held so far. The 8th EAS will be held on October 10, 2013 in Brunei Darussalam.

There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS. These are – energy and environment, finance, education, natural disaster management, pandemics and connectivity. India endorses regional collaboration in all six priority areas.

In the area of human resource development, India has taken lead in three projects on harmonization of national qualification frameworks to assure their interoperability and facilitate student and people mobility in the region, the EAS regional leadership development program and facilitating technical and vocational training (TVET) teacher- student mobility.

At the 4th East Asia Summit (EAS), held in Thailand on October 24-25, 2009, the EAS Leaders endorsed the proposal for the revival of Nalanda University, to bring together the brightest minds from all the countries of Asia. The process of establishing a new campus of Nalanda University is in progress in Rajgir, Bihar. Meanwhile, the first courses are likely to start at the School of Historical Studies and at the School of Ecology and Environment Studies from leased premises in the academic year 2014-2015.

In the area of pandemics, Australia has launched the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance to combat drug-resistant malaria and requested India to collaborate in the area of access to quality medicines to combat drug resistant malaria.

At the 6th EAS held on November 19, 2011 in Bali, Indonesia, Prime Minister announced India’s intention of hosting an EAS Workshop in 2012 on Disaster Management and Relief in the case of an earthquake. In fulfilment of PM’s announcement, India hosted an ‘EAS-India Workshop 2012: Building Regional Framework for Earthquake Risk Management’ in New Delhi on November 8-9, 2012. The Workshop has been jointly organised by MHA, National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) and MEA. This workshop led to the adoption of the ‘Delhi Outcome on Earthquake Risk Reduction in EAS Member Countries’.

At the 6th EAS on 19 November 2011, in Bali, Indonesia, the Leaders shared the view that the effective implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) will not only bring benefit to ASEAN, but also the East Asia region as a whole and ASEAN Connectivity was included as an additional area of cooperation within EAS. At the 10th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on November 19, 2012, PM reiterated that connectivity with ASEAN in all its dimensions – physical, institutional and people-to-people – is a strategic priority for India. Regional cooperation through public-private partnership (PPP) is envisaged to take the agenda forward and India is actively taking part in the deliberations with the regional partners.

In the area of finance India has taken part in the discussions at the Ministerial level. The 1st Informal EAS Finance Ministers Meeting was held in Tashkent on May 2, 2010 on the sidelines of ADB Meeting. 2nd Informal EAS Finance Ministers’ Meeting was held in Tokyo on October 13, 2012, on the margins of the Annual Meetings of IMF and World Bank. Shri. R.P.N Singh, MoS (P&NG) led the Indian delegation at the 6th East Asia Summit Energy Ministers Meeting (EAS EMM) held at Phnom Penh, Cambodia on September 13, 2012.

At the 7th EAS in November 2012, the Leaders of 16 EAS members launched the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). ASEAN and the FTA Partners of ASEAN are the members of RCEP. The objective of RCEP is to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement and will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and other issues. India is participating in the working group level discussions and negotiations for RCEP.

Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) was established in 2008 in Jakarta for providing research inputs for policy making. Research and Information System for Developing countries (RIS) is ERIA’s partner institute from India. ERIA has completed several key reports on issues pertinent to India, including the Comprehensive Asia Development Plan (CADP) which includes a study on the Mekong-India Economic Corridor. They also came up with a report on ASEAN-India Connectivity: The Comprehensive Asia Development Plan Phase II in December 2011. Recently, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Policy Research and former Secretary General of FICCI has been nominated as the India’s representative in the ERIA Governing Board.


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