The association of South Asian Nations or ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999. At present India a dialogue partner.
The ASEAN Declaration states that the aims and purposes of the Association are :
(i) To Accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asia nations, and
(ii) To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
The highest decision - making organ of ASEA is the Meeting of the ASEA Heads of State and Government. The ASEAN Summit is convened every year. The ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (Foreign Ministers) is held on an annual basis. Ministerial meetings on several other sectors are also held : agriculture and forestry, economics, energy, environment, finance, information, investment, labour, law, rural development and poverty alleviation, science and technology, social welfare, transnational crime, transportation, tourism, youth, the AIA Council and, the AFTA council. The Secretary - General of ASEAN is appointed on merit and accorded ministerial status.
The Secretary - General of ASEAN, who has a five - year term, is mandated to initiate, advise, coordinate, and implement ASEAN activities. The members of the professional a staff of the ASEAN Secretariat are appointed on the principle of open recruitment and region - wide competition. ASEAN has several governmental cooperation in various fields.
The ASEAN political and security dialogue and cooperation is aimed to promote regional peace and stability by enhancing regional resilience. Regional resilience shall be achieved by cooperating in all fields based on the principles of self - confidence, self - reliance, mutual respect, cooperation, and solidarity, which shall constitute the foundation for a strong and viable community of nations in Southeast Asia. Through political dialogue and confidence building, no tension has escalated into armed confrontation among ASEAN members since its establishment more than three decades ago.
When ASEAN was established, trade among the member countries was insignificant. Estimates between 1967 and the early 1970s. Showed that the share of intra - ASEAN trade from the total trade of the member counties was the preferential trading Arrangement of 1977, which accorded tariff preferences for trade among ASEAN economies. Ten years later, an enhanced PTA programme was adopted at the Third ASEAN Summit in Manila further increasing intra - ASEAN trade. In addition to trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration is being pursued through the development of Trans - ASEAN transportation network consisting of major inter - state highway and railway networks, principles ports and sea lanes for maritime traffic, inland waterway transport, and major civil aviation links. ASEAN economic cooperation covers the following areas: trade, investment, industry, services, finance, agriculture, forestry, energy transportation and communication, intellectual property, small and medium enterprises, and tourism.
The ASEAN Vision 2020 affirmed an outward - looking ASEAN playing a pivotal role in the international community and advancing ASEAN's common interests. The ASEAN summit of 1992 mandated the inclusion of ASEAN'S Dialogue partners include Australia, Canada, China the European Union, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russia Federation, the United States of America and United Nations Development Programme. ASEAN maintains contact with other inter - governmental organizations, namely, the Economic Cooperation Organisation, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Rio Group, the South Asian Association for Regional cooperation, and the South Pacific Forum. Most ASEAN Member Countries also participate actively in the activities of the Asia - Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) the Asia - Europe Meeting (ASEM), the East Asia - Latin America Forum ( EALAF).