What is East Asia Summit & Why it is important for India?

The Article provides insight all about East Asia Summit, where it was held, what are its potentials and its significance for India.

  • EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN. EAS is an “open forum” for dialogue on strategic, political, and economic issues in order to promote peace, economic prosperity, and regional integration in East Asia. It is 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. India is a founding member of the East Asia Summit.
  • The latest edition of the East Asia Summit (EAS) is being held in Bangkok.

East Asia Summit

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.

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East Asia Summit (EAS) Chair

  • The chair of ASEAN is also the chair of the EAS. The role of the ASEAN chair rotates annually between the ten ASEAN member states.
  • Current chair: 2018 Singapore
  • Future chair: 2019 Thailand

Key Facts/Potentials of EAS

  • 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.

 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 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 civilization 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

Features Of East Asia Summit (EAS):

  • An Initiative was taken to promote natural gas in improving energy security in EAS countries 
  • Marine Debris Pollution was recognised and in this regard Statement on Combating Marine Plastic Debris was adopted.
  • Adoption of Manila Plan of Action was welcomed with the inclusion of maritime cooperation as a new area of cooperation.
  • Commitment to work together in the area of Education
  • Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 was mentioned in the summit.
  • Various Regional and International Issues were highlighted such as Counter-Terrorism, South China Sea, Korean Peninsula and Regional Economic Integration

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