The latest edition of the East Asia Summit (EAS) is being held in Bangkok.
About East Asia Summit:
EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.
It is a forum held annually by leaders of 18 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian regions.
EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings.
The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 14 December 2005.
There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS. These are – Environment and Energy, Education, Finance, Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases, Natural Disaster Management, and ASEAN Connectivity. India endorses regional collaboration in all six priority areas.
EAS, representing nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population and over 20 per cent of global trade, is a mega gathering and is a testimony to the rise of Asia.
EAS is a region of strong and fast growing economies. It is considered the third pole of world economy after the US and Europe. Its four major economic players namely Japan, China, India and Korea are among the twelve largest ranking global economies.
Financial and monetary cooperation between ASEAN+6 or EAS countries could be an area of fruitful cooperation in view of the fact that their combined foreign exchange reserves exceed $ 3 trillion.
What is the significance for India?
For India, EAS acts as an alternative to the APEC in which India doesn’t enjoy the membership.
India’s membership to the EAS is a recognition of its fast growing economic and political clout.
Act East policy of India: In order to build multi-faceted relations with ASEAN and other multilateral nations and strengthen bilateral relations India has emphasised upon its Act East Policies for which EAS will prove crucial.
China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and the nature of its growing investments has led the ASEAN countries to view India as a potential power that could balance a rising China.
India’s strength lies in service sector and information-technology and Japan has a sound capital base. Thus there are complementarities in trade and production structures of the EAS members.
India’s deep cultural and civilizational links with the EAS countries are widely known. India can play a major role in cultural and people to people cooperation with the region, which can reinforce the economic momentum for community building.