Ha Noi Declaration on the 15th Anniversary of the East Asia Summit 2020

Context: India at the Summit expresses concern over actions that erode trust in South China Sea.

Analysis

  • The summit, held in the virtual format, was chaired by the Prime Minister of Vietnam in his capacity as chair of the ASEAN and all the EAS member nations attended it.
  • India is generally represented at the summit by the Prime Minister.
  • India has been pitching for promoting a rules-based order in the region including through upholding adherence to international law, especially the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).
  • At the East Asia Summit in Bangkok in 2019, India proposed setting up the Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI) to conserve and sustainably use the maritime domain and to make meaningful efforts to create a safe and secure maritime domain.
  • The concept is gaining traction with Japan already agreeing to be the lead partner in the connectivity pillar of the IPOI.
  • The Summit discussed ways to strengthen the EAS platform and to make it more responsive to emerging challenges on its 15th anniversary and adopted the Ha Noi Declaration. 

East Asia Summit

  • Established in 2005, the East Asia Summit is a unique Leaders-led forum of 18 countries of the Asia-Pacific region formed to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.
  • It has evolved as a forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on political, security and economic issues.
  • The membership of EAS consists of ten ASEAN Member States (i.e. Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the USA.
  • EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.
  • India has been a part of East Asia Summits since its inception in 2005 in Kuala Lumpur.
  • There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS.

    These are –
  1. Environment and Energy,
  2. Education,
  3. Finance,
  4. Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases,
  5. Natural Disaster Management, and
  6. ASEAN Connectivity.
  • India endorses regional collaboration in all six priority areas.
  • Following the 12th EAS in November 2017 in Manila, Philippines and following the adoption of the Manila Plan of Action, Maritime Cooperation has been identified as an important area of cooperation under the EAS.
  • At the 4th East Asia Summit (EAS), held in Thailand on 24-25 October 2009, the EAS Leaders endorsed the proposal for the revival of Nalanda University, to bring together the brightest minds from all the countries of Asia.
  • The idea was first mooted by former President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2006.
  • The archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara, that is, Nalanda University, was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in July 2016.

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