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PIB Summary for UPSC

27-March -2024

1. As part of overseas deployment to ASEAN countries, ICG Ship Samudra Paheredar arrives at Manila Bay, Philippines.

Topic: GS2 – International Relations.

The topic underscores India’s maritime diplomacy, environmental stewardship, and bilateral cooperation, relevant for UPSC’s international relations and governance segments.

Context

● Indian Coast Guard ship Samudra Paheredar visits Manila Bay, Philippines, showcasing pollution response capabilities and fostering bilateral ties with ASEAN nations.

●    It includes pollution control demonstrations and involves NCC cadets in beach cleanup initiatives, aiming to enhance maritime cooperation and environmental stewardship.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Indian Coast Guard ship Samudra Paheredar arrived at Manila Bay, Philippines, on 25 March 2024, as part of a three-day visit.
  • The visit aims to demonstrate ICG’s Marine Pollution Response capabilities and shared concern towards marine pollution in the ASEAN region.
  • It also seeks to bolster bilateral cooperation with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
  • The ship is on an overseas deployment to ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei, from 25 March to 12 April 2024.
  • Equipped with specialized marine pollution control equipment and a Chetak Helicopter in Pollution Response configuration, the ship can contain and recover spilled oil.
  • The visit includes Pollution Response training and practical displays of various equipment.
  • The ship has embarked 25 National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets to participate in the “Puneet Sagar Abhiyan” initiative, undertaking beach cleanup and similar activities.
  • This visit strengthens bilateral relationships with key maritime agencies in the region.
  • ICG has MOUs towards Enhanced Maritime Cooperation and Maritime Safety and Security with the Coast Guards of the Philippines and Vietnam.
  • Professional exchanges, joint exercises, and social engagements are part of the visit’s agenda.
More about ASEAN:

● The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organisation comprising ten Southeast Asian countries.

●  Founded on August 8, 1967, in Bangkok, Thailand, its members include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Cambodia.

ASEAN aims to promote regional peace, stability, economic growth, and socio-cultural development through cooperation and dialogue.

●Its key principles include mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, peaceful dispute resolution, and cooperation for mutual benefit.

●  ASEAN has established various frameworks and mechanisms such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) to enhance regional integration and cooperation.

●  The ASEAN Summit is the organization’s highest decision-making body, where member states discuss and coordinate regional policies and initiatives.

● ASEAN has developed partnerships and dialogue mechanisms with major powers and regional organizations, contributing to regional stability and prosperity.

The organization addresses various regional challenges, including territorial disputes, transnational crime, terrorism, natural disasters, and environmental issues.

●  ASEAN promotes intra-regional trade and economic cooperation through initiatives such as the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and regional economic integration efforts.

●  It plays a crucial role in shaping the geopolitical landscape of Southeast Asia and fostering regional cooperation in various fields.

India – ASEAN Relations:

Significance for India:

● India’s Act East Policy emphasizes deepening engagement with ASEAN, given its strategic location and economic potential.

●   ASEAN is India’s one of the most significant trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching billions of dollars annually.

●  Strengthening ties with ASEAN enhances India’s regional influence and provides access to Southeast Asian markets.

●     Cooperation with ASEAN nations fosters connectivity, promotes economic growth, and facilitates people-to-people exchanges.

●   India’s membership in ASEAN-led forums like the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum strengthens its regional security architecture.

Challenges:

● Limited physical connectivity and infrastructure pose barriers to trade and investment flows between India and ASEAN.

●  Non-tariff barriers and bureaucratic hurdles hinder seamless economic integration.

● Competition from other regional powers like China and Japan challenges India’s influence in ASEAN.

●  Historical and territorial disputes among ASEAN members complicate regional cooperation and unity.

●   Socio-cultural differences and language barriers impede closer people-to-people ties.

Way Forward:

● Enhance physical and digital connectivity through infrastructure development and the promotion of digital initiatives.

●   Negotiate comprehensive free trade agreements to reduce trade barriers and promote economic integration.

●   Strengthen maritime cooperation to ensure security and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region.

●   Increase cultural exchanges and educational programs to deepen mutual understanding and trust.

●   Leverage ASEAN-led platforms to address regional challenges and promote multilateral cooperation.

●  Diversify and deepen engagement with ASEAN countries beyond economic ties to include strategic, security, and socio-cultural dimensions.

PYQ: Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South-East Asian countries’ economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South- East Asia in this context. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2017)
Practice Question: Discuss the significance of India-ASEAN relations, highlighting challenges and proposing strategies for enhancing cooperation in the context of India’s regional engagement. (250 Words /15 marks)

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