India's engagement with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) started in the year 1991 with its "Look East Policy”. The economic, political and strategic importance in the larger Asia-Pacific Region of ASEAN and its potential to become a major partner of India in trade and investment made India focus on a strengthened and multi-faceted relationship.
India is now connected with the Asia-Pacific-centered economic crosscurrents and is shaping the 21st century market place. ASEAN seeks access to India’s professional and technical strengths. India and ASEAN have convergence in their security perspectives. ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
Now, it has 10 member countries namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. India is one of the four 'Summit level Dialogue Partners' of ASEAN.
A Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between ASEAN and India was signed on 8th October 2003 in Bali (Indonesia). The agreement covered: FTA in Goods, Services and Investment, as well as Areas of Economic Cooperation.
The objectives of this Agreement are to:-
Strengthen and enhance economic, trade and investment co-operation between the Parties;
Progressively liberalize and promote trade in goods and services as well as create a transparent, liberal and facilitative investment regime
Explore new areas and develop appropriate measures for closer economic co-operation between the Parties; and
Facilitate the more effective economic integration of the new ASEAN Member States and bridge the development gap among the Parties.
The areas of economic cooperation are:-
Mutual Recognition Arrangements, conformity assessment, accreditation procedures, and standards and technical regulations
Business visa and travel facilitation.
Sectors of Cooperation
Agriculture, fisheries and forestry
Services:- media and entertainment, health, financial, tourism, construction, business process outsourcing, environmental
Mining and energy:- oil and natural gas, power generation and supply
Science and technology:- information and communications technology, electronic-commerce, biotechnology
Transport and infrastructure:- transport and communication
Manufacturing:- automotive, drugs and pharmaceuticals, textiles, petrochemicals, garments, food processing, leather goods, light engineering goods, gems and jewelery processing
Human resource development:- capacity building, education, technology transfer
Others:- handicrafts, small and medium enterprises, competition policy, Mekong Basin Development, intellectual property rights, government procurement.