Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN exposed the grouping’s inherent incongruities and cleavages, despite its best intentions. To be taken seriously by its partners, ASEAN needs to first take itself seriously and adhere to the core of its charter.
Nearly two years after the military coup in Myanmar, tensions remain, with no domestic or international solution in sight. Despite these setbacks, the Myanmarese people's commitment to democracy has not faltered. As they did a decade ago, the Myanmar elite and leadership of both camps must once again use resilience and pragmatism to craft a way out of the current crisis.
Indonesia has managed its G20 Presidency year by understanding the importance of not going it alone. This trading nation has used its deep regional and multilateral cooperative processes which provided trusted back-up and support at every step, and was book-ended by strong linkages and investment partnerships with Japan and Australia. In this, it has laid the groundwork for India’s 2023 presidency.
Since 1947, India has had a proud record of development cooperation. It began even though it was newly independent and itself developing, but created a camaraderie with movements in other emerging countries. Now after 75 years, its time to move toward an FDI-led model, which will particularly help reduce the rising indebtedness in the developing world.
BIMSTEC is of special importance to India as it is a crucial link between the Neighbourhood First and Act East policies. This almost 25 year old multilateral can contribute to the Indo-Pacific region by addressing challenges in strategic areas of regional connectivity, security cooperation, free trade, and geoeconomic ties with external partners.
The Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, held in Melbourne on February 11, revealed an ambitious plan for economic and developmental affairs, beyond the security concerns posed by China. Despite differing approaches towards Myanmar and Ukraine, the Quad countries are strengthening their cooperation while maintaining strategic autonomy.
The Quad Foreign Ministers' meeting held on February 11 is the latest example of growing geopolitical cooperation. Several loci of power have emerged, indicating the end of the post-Cold War western hegemony. China's rise and alliance with Russia hints at a bipolar tendency in this nascent global multipolarity. India must ensure power distribution in Asia by sharpening its diplomacy to achieve its own interest - true multipolarity in Asia.
It has been a year since the democratically elected Myanmar government was overthrown in a military coup. Since then, economic instability and the pandemic have taken a toll on the nation. ASEAN's mediatory endeavours and Western sanctions have shown limited results. New Delhi's diplomacy must support ASEAN, while remaining pragmatic and protecting its interests in the country.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla's visit to Myanmar has implications for New Delhi's recognition of the new military government in Naypyidaw. India can support ASEAN to stabilise Myanmar, while also checking Chinese influence in that country. For stability in the neighbourhood is crucial to India's own security.
Nine great powers and a number of important multilaterals have vested interests in the Indo-Pacific. Given the U.S.-China standoff in the region, the role of new groupings like the Quad and AUKUS is significant. The time is ripe for India to use its position in the region, and convert its humanitarian duties into economic and strategic opportunities in 2022.