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Chapter: 12th Political Science : Chapter 9 : India and the World

India and Regional Organisations

The acronym : SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations), BRICS stands for (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)

India and Regional Organisations

SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)

SAARC was established on 8 December 1985 with the signing of the SAARC Charter in Dhaka to promote economic cooperation and development, the welfare of the people and for the close cultural and historical links among the South Asian Countries. SAARC comprises of eight Member States: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Secretariat of the Association was set up in Kathmandu on 17 January 1987.


The objectives of the Association are:

·           TO promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life.

·           TO accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals with the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potentials.

·           TO promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia.

·           TO contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another’s problems.

·           TO promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields to strengthen cooperation with other developing countries.

·           TO strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interests.

·           TO cooperate with international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes.


Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD)

·           It is an informal mechanism between India, the US, Australia and Japan, and interpreted as a joint effort to counter China’s influence in the India-Pacific region.

·           The idea of the QUAD could be originally attributed to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

·           It got operationalized in 2007 and was revived in 2017.


On the organisational structure, The SAARC has a four- tier institutional set-up, which includes the summits comprising of the Heads of all the South Asian States and they meet once in every two years; The Council of Ministers comprises of the Ministers of Foreign / External Affairs of the Member States the Standing Committee comprises of the Foreign Secretaries of the SAARC Member States and the Technical Committees comprising representatives of Member States are responsible for the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the programmes in their respective areas of cooperation. Until now nearly eighteen summits have been hosted by the member states.

The SAARC member counties taking the growing economy scenario in South Asia have formed the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA). The agreement came into force in 2006, succeeding the 1993 SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement. One of the main aims of the SAFTA is to recognize the need for special and differential treatment of developing counties in South Asia and formulate policies that would support the growth of the entire region.



ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN declaration or popularly known as the Bangkok declaration by the founding fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia , Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since the establishment of ASEAN, other South-East Asian Nations who were not part of the organisation initially have also joined, which includes Brunei Darussalam joining on 7 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999. ASEAN has around ten primary member states and it has been the only official organization that pursued regional economic integration in East Asia. It is responsible for several economic integration initiatives in East Asia including the

·           ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA),

·           the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) and

·           the ASEAN Investment Area (AIA).

Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA)

·           It aims to establish a multifaceted USA strategy to increase USA security, economic interests, and values in the Indo-Pacific region.

·           The new law mandates actions countering China’s illegal construction and militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea and coercive economic practices.

·           ARIA recognizes the vital role of the strategic partnership between the USA and India in promoting peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region and it calls for strengthening diplomatic, economic, and security ties between both the countries.

·           USA recently renamed its strategically important Pacific Command (PACOM) as the USA Indo-Pacific Command, indicating that for USA government, East Asia and the Indian Ocean Region are gradually becoming a single competitive space and India is a key partner in its strategic planning.

·           USA launched Indo-Pacific Business Forum as an economic pillar for country’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Although India’s Association with South-East Asian Countries has been for centuries, its recent initiative towards engaging South-East Asia started in the early ’90s. India’s new growth story in the ’90s made India take interests on its new initiative “Look-East policy” and began reviving its economic relations with South-East Asia. Meanwhile, having been for years influenced by China and other western partners, ASEAN too realized the importance of India as the third-largest economy in Asia and an emerging regional power. This understanding led to the acceptance of India as ASEAN’s sectoral partner in early 1992 and its full dialogue partner in July 1996. The Look East Policy over the years has matured into an action-oriented programme, namely ‘Act East Policy’. The Prime Minister of India at the 12th ASEAN India Summit and the 9th East Asia Summit held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, in November 2014, formally enunciated the Act East Policy. India’s relationship with ASEAN is one of the key pillars of India’s foreign policy and the foundation of Act East Policy.

Important initiatives of India – ASEAN relations include Political-Security Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Socio-Cultural Cooperation and Connectivity. In addition, financial aid schemes have also been established for socio-economic development.



The acronym, BRICS stands for (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and was coined by Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs in 2001 as part of an economic modelling exercise to forecast global economic trends over the next half-century. He predicted that by the year 2050, Brazil, Russia, India and China would become bigger than the six most industrialized nations in dollar terms and would completely change the power dynamics of the last 300 years.

One of the major achievements of BRICS is the establishment of the New Development Bank (NDB) which has come into existence on 7 July 2015, with the vision of mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries. The NDB helps the member countries to raise and avail resources for their infrastructure and sustainable development projects. Contingent Reserve Arrangement is another BRICS initiative that acts as a financial safety instrument for BRICS countries in the event of a financial crisis.



South Asia is the least integrated region in the World is because the economic linkages are very weak among the countries of the region. Discuss with your pair.

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12th Political Science : Chapter 9 : India and the World : India and Regional Organisations |

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