Delhi Dialogue VI: Realizing the ASEAN-India Vision for Partnership and Prosperity

Concept Note

India and ASEAN today are in the vortex of change as new strategic and economic trends shape the Asia-Pacific or the Indo-Pacific region. As a period of power transition marked by the rise of China and the economic dynamism of the Asia-Pacific region, it generated its own set of uncertainties and anxieties among countries of the region. This was evident in China’s assertion of territorial claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea impacting Vietnam, Philippines and Japan respectively. China also asserted territorial claims in Ladakh on the unresolved India-China border. Another concurrent development has been the democratic transition in Myanmar which was heralded by the installation of a ‘civilian government’ in March 2011 and improved relations with the US (following President Obama’s visit in November 2011). It was under such circumstances that the United States under the Obama administration announced its ‘pivot’ or ‘rebalancing’ strategic shift to Asia-Pacific.

There are many potential conflict zones in Asia Pacific as nations have competing claims of sovereignty especially in the South China Sea besides internal fissures in many countries which threaten the peace. To keep abreast of the many challenges confronting the region, and to retain its centrality, ASEAN has set for itself the target of achieving an ASEAN Community (Political, Economic, and Socio-Cultural) by 2015. In the face of fundamental changes that are being effected in the political, economic and strategic domains, the challenge before ASEAN today is to shape the future or be shaped by it.

As the pace of change in the region gathered momentum, India’s Look-East policy that was initiated in 1991 has led to the maturing of relations with our eastern neighborhood. This yielded good results in political and economic terms. India’s dramatic economic liberalization in 1991 established the framework for enhanced India-ASEAN trade which has grown exponentially: it is now almost $80 billion. About 12 per cent of India’s exports and 9 per cent of India’s imports was on account of trade with ASEAN during 2011-12. The Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and ASEAN (October 2003) followed by the Trade in Goods Agreement (TIG) (signed in August 2009) between the two have created an enabling environment for the smooth development of multilateral as well as bilateral economic cooperation. With the TIG coming into force (2010), and the subsequent passing of the free trade agreement (FTA) on services and investments (December 2012) the India-ASEAN relationship is slated to grow faster than with rest of the world, due to factors such as a favourable demographic profile and growing market for goods and services. Thus, the Look East Policy, which has in its ambit a wide geographical expanse with a track record of over two decades, has proved to be mutually beneficial.

The Look East Policy itself is undergoing a transition. The over two decades’ experience of implementing the Look East policy has imparted valuable lessons along the way. There is a felt need for greater involvement of India’s Northeast in India’s Look East Policy. As the Indian Ocean issues gain prominence, greater dialogue on Indian Ocean is called for, in addition to greater focus on India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands. India’s common cultural ties with CLMV could profitably be grounded in contemporary concerns including the river systems, mountain ranges, agrarian patterns etc.

Given the context, disseminating information about India-ASEAN relationship becomes critical, and Delhi Dialogue has been actively working on that front for the past five years. Delhi Dialogue is a confluence of policy makers, corporate leaders and academia, which provides an opportunity to deliberate upon India’s Look East Policy in general and India’s relations with ASEAN and its member countries in particular. Established as a second-track dialogue, the conference was inaugurated in January 2009 by the current President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee, who was then the Minister for External Affairs. Delhi Dialogue has been supported by India’s Ministry of External Affairs, and FICCI amongst other institutions from India and the Southeast Asian region. So far, five annual conferences have been held, involving leaders from India and the ASEAN region, diplomatic community, think tanks and members from academia at large. The Sixth Delhi Dialogue is scheduled to be held in March 2014 and is being proudly organized by India’s premier think tank, IDSA.

Five editions of Delhi Dialogue have taken place so far. The themes covered in the past have included energy security; economic cooperation (including FTA); connectivity; India-ASEAN Roadmap in the new millennium; Nalanda University; non traditional security issues; evolving security architecture (ADMM Plus and EAS Process); networks of knowledge and science; CLMV countries and Northeast India. The ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit 2012 in New Delhi led to the adoption of the Vision Statement. This document charts out the future direction of ASEAN-India relations and significantly, elevates the ASEAN-India relationship to a strategic partnership. With this forming an important backdrop, the Delhi Dialogue VI provides a suitable opportunity to carry forward the ideas set forth in the Vision Statement besides the report of the ASEAN-India Eminent Persons Group.


Date / Time Session

March 6, 2014

[Only by Invitation - Please Attend if Invitation Card Received]
1630-1700 hrs Registration
Venue: Pre-function area, Ballroom, The Oberoi, New Delhi
1700-1900 hrs Inaugural Session
Venue: Ballroom, The Oberoi, New Delhi
1700-1705 hrs Welcome Remarks
Mr. Sidharth Birla
President FICCI & Chairman, XPRO India Ltd.
Keynote Addresses
1705-1718 hrs HE Mr. Salman Khurshid
External Affairs Minister of India
1719-1726 hrs HE U Wunna Maung Lwin
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar
1727-1734 hrs HE Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lao PDR
1735-1742 hrs HE Mr. Le Luong Minh
Secretary General of ASEAN, ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta
1743-1750 hrs Representative from Brunei Darussalam
1751-1758 hrs HE Dr. Sok Siphana
Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia
1759-1806 hrs Representative from Indonesia
1807-1814 hrs HE Dato' Hamzah Zainudin
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia
1815-1822 hrs HE Ms. Laura Del Rosario
Undersecretary (Deputy Minister) for International Economic Relations, The Philippines
1823-1830 hrs HE Mr. Vanu Gopala Menon
Deputy Secretary (Southeast Asia and ASEAN), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
1831-1838 hrs HE Mr. Manasvi Srisodapol
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand
1839-1846 hrs HE Mr. Pham Quang Vinh
Deputy Foreign Minister, Vietnam
1847-1852 hrs Book Release of DDV by
Mr. Salman Khurshid
External Affairs Minister of India
& Amb. R.K. Bhatia
Director General, ICWA
1853-1900 hrs Vote of Thanks
Dr. Arvind Gupta
Director General, IDSA

March 7, 2014

Venue: Auditorium, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA)

[Open to all]
1000-1020 hrs Keynote Speaker:
HE Mr. Anand Sharma
Minister of Commerce & Industry, Government of India
1020-1030 hrs Tea/ Coffee Break
1030-1215 hrs Session 1: Translating the 'Vision Statement'
The ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit 'Vision Statement' and Ways to Implement it
Moderator: Mr. Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India
Special Address: Mr. Le Luong Minh, ASEAN Secretary General
  • Amb. Sanjay Singh, former Secretary (East), MEA, GOI
  • Mr. K.N. Vaidyanathan, Chief Risk Officer, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
  • Mr. Madhu Kannan, Group Head-Business Development, Tata Sons Limited, India
  • Dr. Hoang Anh Tuan, Head of Institute for Foreign Policies and Strategic Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam
  • Dr. Wilfrido V. Villacorta, Professor Emeritus, De La Salle University, Manila
  • Prof. Dr. K.S. Nathan, Principle Fellow Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA), Universiti Kebansaan Malaysia (UKM)

1215-1400 hrs Session 2: Role of North East India in India's Look-East Policy
Growing Significance of India's Northeast in the New Phase of India's Look East Policy
Moderator: Amb. Shyam Saran, Chairman RIS, AIC & National Security Advisory Board
Special Address: HE Mr Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Assam
Special Update:  Dr. Hidetoshi Nishimura, Executive Director of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)

  • Mr. M.P. Bezbaruah, IAS (Retd) Member, North Eastern Council
  • U Than Tun, Member, Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies (MISIS), Myanmar
  • Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi
  • Prof. Charit Tingsabadh, Centre for European Studies,     Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
  • Mr. Ranjit Barthakur, Chairman FICCI North East Advisory Council & Chairman Globally Managed Services

1400-1500 hrs Lunch
Venue: IDSA Lawns     1500-1645 hrs Session 3: Regional Architecture in Asia Pacific: Roles of India and ASEAN
Prospects for the Evolving Economic Architecture and the Strategic Architecture and Emerging Concepts like “Indo-Pacific”
Moderator: Amb. Gopinath Pillai, Chairman, Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), Singapore

  • Dr. Chitriya Pinthong, Vice-President for International Affairs, Rangsit University, Thailand
  • Prof. S.D. Muni, Distinguished Fellow, IDSA, New Delhi
  • Amb. Laura Q. Del Rosario, Undersecretary for International Economic Relations, The Philippines
  • Vice Admiral (Retd.) P.S. Das, Ex-Member of IDSA Executive Council
  • Dr. Vo Xuan Vinh, Head of International Politics and International Relations Department, Institute for South East Asia Studies, Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences
  • Tan Sri Rastam Mohd. Isa, Chief Executive, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia

1645-1830 hrs Session 4: Delhi Dialogue: The Way Forward
Suggest Ways to Proceed With The Dialogue in the Future.
Moderator: Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director General, IDSA

  • Dato Haji Erywan Bin Pehin Yusof, Permanent Secretary, Brunei Darussalam
  • Amb. N. Ravi, former Secretary (East), MEA, GOI
  • Mr. R. Ravindran, Chairman, SAEA Group Research, Singapore
  • Amb. R.K. Bhatia, Director General, Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA)
  • Prof. Tan Tai Yong, Director, ISAS, Singapore
  • Dr. Prabir De, Senior Fellow, Research & Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) & Coordinator, ASEAN-India Centre, New Delhi