Future of Institutionalism in the Asia Pacific: the ARF and its Implications for India

G.V.C. Naidu, Research Fellow, IDSA

 

The Asia Pacific region is a vast and complex region and hence it should be kept in mind that any framework that may be employed to examine the security aspects is fraught with problems. The amorphous nature of the region is best reflected in the fact that there is not a single common trait that could be attributed to the region, nor is there a platform on which all the nations of this region are represented so that issues common to the region could be dealt with.

Notwithstanding the definitional problems of what constitutes the Asia Pacific for geostrategic purposes, the attempt here is to look at some important trends that are discernible in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War. Though the Cold War, which was widely regarded as the main culprit for the genesis of most of the conflicts fundamentally affecting peace and stability of the region, came to an end, it was not very helpful in ushering in the much anticipated era of tranquility. In a way, the later years of the Cold War resulted in the establishment of the superpower dominated balance of power which, in turn, provided a regional order that was more sure and certainly more predictable. One major upshot of these developments was that the regional order predicated on the Cold War was disturbed leading to greater uncertainties, particularly with regard to the security of a large number of smaller powers who found themselves vulnerable in the wake of the power vacuum that came into existence. It was compounded by the ascendance of regional powers whose aspirations and ambitions were undefined and ambiguous.

Fortunately, the transition from the preponderantly superpower dominated Cold War to the post-Cold War came about fairly smoothly and the region appeared to be headed for a new order even as cooperative security efforts started gaining ground. The buzzwords that gradually came into being were interdependence, constructive engagement, economic development, cooperative multilateralism, and comprehensive security. It appeared the region was coming of age so far as management of security was concerned. ASEAN's stature and credibility got enhanced several-fold and many countries, both from within and without, were ready to follow the so called "ASEAN way" of conducting business, particularly the United States and China, which were hesitant to engage themselves in multilateralism in whatever form for different reasons.

The post-Cold War atmosphere also offered an opportunity for the region to pursue the hitherto untested trend of creating new institutions to address both economic and political/security issues. To be sure, multilateral institutions, both for political and economic purposes, were created during the Cold War; the phenomenon of Institutionalism as understood in the present context is both new and qualitatively different. Unlike the earlier attempts, such as SEATO, ASEAN, ANZUS, FPDA, etc., the post-Cold War endeavor has been predicated upon the principle of inclusiveness, a broad base and a larger canvas. Though not fully convinced of the nature and the role that these institutions might play, many countries were ready to take the plunge into this new process of multilateral institutionalism, for building a new regional order had become indispensable. In addition to the already existing sub-regional institutional structure in the form of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), two most prominent novel attempts came into existence in the form of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asean Regional Forum (ARF). Both have attracted a lot of attention and their potential has been well lauded.

Notwithstanding the initial euphoria, both have been under focus for a variety of reasons, especially after the financial crisis. APEC, meant to promote greater regional economic cooperation, does not include countries such as India, but includes some countries of Latin America that border the Pacific Ocean. The politics of APEC economic cooperation came to the fore when it underwent an expansion.1 Doubts had been expressed about the grandiose plans that APEC advocated since its inception with regard to rapid trade liberalisation and economic integration in a region which consists of some of the largest and most powerful economic powers and a large number of other countries which are at varied levels of development. Some countries have time and time again expressed reservations about the pace with which trade and investment regimes were proposed to be liberalised through APEC, which tended to undermine existing global mechanisms such as WTO, but so long as the economic boom continued these were brushed aside. The APEC process has not exactly come to a halt, but there is no denying of the fact that the financial crisis has dampened the earlier enthusiasm.

However, it was on the security front that urgent and tangible measures were felt to be needed when certain issues which had remained dormant during the entire Cold War, especially a number of unsettled border and territorial issues, started to emerge as major flashpoints. Leaving aside the minor ones, the fact that issues such as the South China Sea, the Taiwan problem and the tension on the Korean Peninsula have the potential to undermine peace, stability and economic development, has been duly recognised not just for those directly involved but for the entire region. What caught most people unawares was the pace with which some of them emerged. Perhaps to underscore these uncertainties, most nations undertook a massive exercise of beefing up the armed forces in a big way.2 These were the circumstances which necessitated the need to build a new regional order.

This was also the time efforts were made to try out alternative mechanisms keeping in mind both the interests of the major powers and at the same time ensure that a large number of small powers have a substantial say in any new arrangement that might come about. One conspicuous development, among others, is the fascination to create region-wide institutions.3 The initial salvo came from ASEAN, the oldest of the regional institutions, in the form of Dialogue Partnerships some time in the mid-1970s, but it was only since the mid-1980s that the Dialogue Partnership started to assume some importance. With a view to enhance the profile and to involve the great powers in the regional affairs, ASEAN started the 'Dialogue' with a select band of powers outside the region, including the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) in the form of Post-Ministerial Conferences (ASEAN-PMC). However, ASEAN-PMC was seriously constrained by the fact that both the ASEAN member states and the Dialogue Partners subscribed to a broad ideology of anti-communism. Formally the ASEAN-PMC was initiated to be a dialogue on enhancement of economic cooperation, however it was the only platform in which political issues concerning the Asia Pacific were also discussed. Because the Cold War was characterised by the polarisation of forces on ideological lines, there was no scope to facilitate a region-wide dialogue to deal with security issues.

Even as the need to find new ways to address regional security was felt, multilateral institutional framework (in whatever form) was identified to be the best option to build an alternative order. As the European experience was a readily available example, the initial proposals were to replicate the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe type organisation in Asia. After considerable deliberation, ASEAN took the lead to create a forum, called the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)4 in 1993, thus marking the beginning of a new era in the Asia Pacific insofar as the way the security problems of the region were to be examined. As the region never had the experience of operating under region-wide cooperative institutional arrangements, any idea to build a new institution had to be not only acceptable to all countries of the region but also a unique one reflecting regional realities. Because ASEAN had the experience of operating in very difficult circumstances, its aim was to create a mechanism which was flexible enough to accommodate diverse interests and divergent opinions.

Thus the ARF was borne out of the strategic uncertainty that unfolded after rather an abrupt end of the Cold War as a region-wide cooperative effort specifically to address security problems. The experimentation in the form of the ARF is unique as well as bold because it is led by a group of small powers, i.e., the ASEAN states. Moreover, with the growing political stature of ASEAN and economic importance of Southeast Asia, most major powers, including China, whose support was indispensable for any such multilateral attempt to work, were willing to partake in this effort. However, soon it had to encounter a number of questions prompting the concerned leaders to clarify that:

(1) The ARF would not replace the existing bilateral alliances and arrangements (mostly led by the United States, broadly categorised as the San Francisco system);

(2) The ARF's purview would extend to the entire Pacific Asian region, i.e., Southeast Asia as well as Northeast Asia; and

(3) Bilateral alliances and multilateralism in the form the ARF would complement each other.

Because the ARF-led multilateral security venture was new to the region, it had to tread a cautious path by confining deliberations to the most basic issues so that the 'comfort level' is enhanced. Thus, the main thrust initially was to create such a forum which would bring in all those powers that are concerned with the Asia Pacific security under the ARF's fold as willing parties and undertake measures to build trust and confidence among the member countries.

The starting point of the ARF deliberations was primarily to promote dialogue and greater understanding of those issues that were non-controversial and of common concern. Thus, the initial emphasis was confined to the most basic issues of developing a sense of involvement, underscore the common stakes of peace and stability, inculcate the habit of free exchange of ideas and opinions across the table by the concerned countries, and gradually undertake measures to build confidence among the member states. The progress the ARF has made so far in terms of achieving the initial objectives is satisfactory, if not spectacular. The biggest achievement of the ARF is its success in enlisting China and securing its endorsement of a number of decisions of the Forum. It has also been fully appreciated that an attempt of this kind has to adopt a gradualist approach and take into consideration the interests and concerns of all members of the Forum.

In the euphoria that followed the formation of the ARF, a number of inherently incompatible aspects were ignored or overlooked. So long as the ARF's objectives were limited to building trust and confidence, perhaps it would have served its purpose and mission. The ARF, however, has an agenda that goes far beyond these goals. The difficulty arises once the ARF starts moving beyond the CBM stage on to the next phases as enunciated in the Concept Paper that was put across in 1995, i.e., Preventive Diplomacy and then eventually Conflict Resolution.

During the 1999 annual ARF meeting in Singapore, it was announced that the ARF had matured enough to go on to the next domain of Preventive Diplomacy. China has already raised objections and most others are not too sure of what exactly the concept of Preventive Diplomacy would mean in the Asian context and how to put that into practice. In addition to the definitional clarity, a number of other aspects need to be debated upon and clarified before embarking on preventive diplomacy.5

The financial crisis has not only been a major setback to the whole process of multilateral institution building, but has also exposed the fragility of these institutions. Even a well-established sub-regional grouping such as ASEAN appeared vulnerable in the wake of the crisis. Fissures started surfacing regarding the basic aspects of ASEAN's philosophy: its way of doing business; and ASEAN was supposed to be the guide as well as main driving force behind the ARF. Especially ASEAN's total helplessness in preventing the financial crisis from occurring in the first place and failure in arresting its free run on the rest of the region has given rise to a lot of skepticism about the future of the ARF.6 Though unrelated directly, the crisis in a way put the ARF multilateralism under severe strain.7

Based on the experience of the ARF's functioning so far, it becomes very difficult to make a progress card on its future role. There is, however, a broad recognition that the ARF has the potential to emerge as a useful body if it manages to tackle some of the inherent contradictions, both internal and external. This paper is an attempt at raising those issues which have become critical to the survival and successful evolution of the multilateral security framework in the form of the ARF.

Can Multilateralism Replace Balance of Power?

This question specifically pertains to the most basic theoretical debate between two schools of thought: Realists and Institutionalists.8 In a nutshell, the Realists strongly discount any substantive role for the multilateral institutions in their ability to manage conflicts by rooting their faith in the supremacy of the State, which alone regulates its behavior in pursuance of its national interests. They believe that the international order is primarily based on balance of power. On the other hand, the Institutionalists argue that growing interdependence of States, continually increasing role of global institutions such as the UN, and the important role multilateral institutions in Europe have played, demonstrate the constraining role these institutions play in the behaviour of the State. In the context of the Asia Pacific, a number of analysts (Gerald Segal, Paul Dibb, Michael Leifer, for instance) have emphasised the need to create a stable balance of power before multilateral institutional structures could be erected. Institutionalists have quoted the examples of ASEAN and more recently APEC and the ARF and the willingness of a large number of nations to actively take part in these as instances to substantiate their argument. Although multilateral institutions are as yet new to the Asia Pacific and it is too early to make a critical evaluation, nevertheless, the limitations of an institutional approach to address regional problems have become obvious with regard to three most pressing issues that the region has confronted in the recent past: the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea and the financial crisis that hit the region in mid-1997. Hence, the basic question is: Can multilateralism provide an alternative proposition to the balance of power as a guarantor for peace and stability?

Can the ARF-led multilateralism succeed in an environment of one-power dominance?

If there is one aspect that most nations in the region agree on, it is the American presence in the form of forward deployment as the most stabilising factor. Obviously neither the US nor those countries that are dependent on it for their security would want a fundamental change in the current arrangement unless a far better and mutually beneficial system emerges. On the other hand, regional great powers have their own ambitions even as their interests and involvement in the region continue to grow. In these circumstances, China in particular has time and time again expressed reservation about the existence of US-led alliances. Japan, on the other hand, looks at multilateralism as yet another avenue through which it could enhance its political role, but without abandoning its special relationship with the US. Whereas, the US considers the ARF multilateralism as a supplement to its policy of alliances and forward deployment (reiterated by a number of pronouncements and strategy documents recently),9 ASEAN appears to be following a strategy of 'wait-and-see' while putting across grandiose plans. This also brings up issues such as balance of power and its relevance or irrelevance in a multilateral context, the ability of multilateralism to accommodate interests of major powers, and the security of a large number of small states within the ambit of multilateralism. Among these divergent perceptions and at times competing interests, the future of the ARF undoubtedly hinges on the US attitude. However, the ARF would have to address the question of its role where the US continues to be a predominant power.

Is the ARF-type multilateralism compatible with the presence of bilateral alliances?

When the ARF idea was mooted, it was mostly presumed that the Cold War order, primarily centered on bilateral alliances and arrangements, would gradually give way to multilateral institutions, once they start consolidating themselves. It may take a very long time for that to happen, but the process has begun. The ARF process is beginning to take root, instead of decreasing in importance, the alliance system however is getting more and more strengthened. The reinvigoration of bilateral alliances (for example, US-Japan—Defense Guidelines, US-Australia-Sydney Statement, US-Philippines—VFA, etc.,) appears to negate the ARF long-term potential. If alliances were indispensable, then the ARF would have to consider this important aspect while sketching its action plan. So far, none of the ARF's documents (yearly Chairman Statements and the Concept Paper) make a mention of this. What is central to the Asia Pacific security are the attitude and policies of the US and more importantly the alliance system that continues to be in place under its leadership. By and large, these alliances are regarded as the scaffolding on which the Asia Pacific security rests, but to what extent they can promote or impede the growth of Institutionalism in the form of the ARF has not been critically examined. The process in the form of multilateralism that runs parallel to the continuation of US-led alliances appears to be contradictory in terms of both theory as well as practice. Unless this fundamental contradiction is resolved at some stage, multilateralism may encounter serious hurdles in realising its full potential.

Does the ARF serve the interests of Great Powers?

Asia Pacific region has a long history of interference/intervention of the great powers. They have developed strong political, strategic and economic interests in the region and more importantly these interests have often clashed. Some of the largest wars have been fought in this region since World War II. While the superpower presence and proxy wars dominated the Cold War, the post-Cold War era generated fears of power vacuum and the rise of regional great powers. As a result, the Asia Pacific has been politically one of the most turbulent regions in the world. In fact, management of great power relations has been one of the major objectives of ASEAN in Southeast Asia. On a reduced scale, the US continues to maintain its presence and remains the most dominant power. However, other major powers too have raised their profile in a big way. Therefore, any new attempt to tackle regional security issues should secure unequivocal backing from the great powers for it to work. Here, the crucial question is how far would a regional security institution such as the ARF serve the interests of the great powers. The composition of the ARF is such that a few major powers are in the company of a large number of smaller powers, and, at least theoretically, all the members have equal say. For instance, China had always been wary of getting involved in a multilateral mechanism because it feared that it would be cornered. Similarly, the US is unlikely to throw its lot behind an arrangement such as the ARF if it felt its interests would be undermined. Japan has been the biggest enthusiast in support of the multilateral process. India was not involved when the ARF came into existence. Each of these powers has its interests in endorsing the multilateral institution in the form of the ARF. From an American perspective, the ARF would not replace but supplements the US-led alliance system.10 China, though reluctant initially, did not want to be isolated. On the other hand, Japan, regarded as an economic powerhouse but a political pygmy, saw multilateralism as the best opportunity to play a larger role in the Asia Pacific.

Can smaller states lay their faith in the ARF?

As there are a large number of smaller states which are members of the ARF, the security of these countries constitutes a critical component of the ARF's agenda. When multilateral frameworks were considered, one of the principal motivations was to make sure that smaller nations would not get trampled upon in the jostle to extend their influence by the major powers. Management of relations with major powers has always been the biggest challenge for the smaller nations of Pacific Asia. ASEAN is a manifestation of this management. It was, therefore, envisaged that a broad-based and an inclusive platform, which is also devoid of any obvious political biases, would be acceptable to all and would most probably work. It may work provided certain conditions are met. The foremost being great power willingness to swear by multilateral mechanisms to solve disputes. Such an environment is yet to come about in the Asia Pacific. In such a scenario one cannot possibly expect smaller nations to lay their complete faith in multilateralism. Most of the these nations are already tied one way or another to the Cold War created, or other security arrangements (the most prominent being the US bilateral treaties with a number of countries, the Five Power Defence Arrangement, the Taiwan Relations Act, informal defence cooperation among the ASEAN member states, Australia-Indonesia security agreement, etc.,). The acute security dilemmas these countries face are being manifested in the form of new arrangements and agreements. Most prominent among these are the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Singapore's decision to build a large new naval base at Changi with the stated intention of accommodating large American warships. Australia has strengthened its security agreement with the US (1998 Sydney Statement) and Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei have signed agreements with the US for ship visits. It is obvious that the ARF-led framework has a long way to go.

Can a multilateral institution led by a group of small nations succeed?

To be sure, at the height of the debate in the early 1990s about Asia Pacific security, it was ASEAN which came up with the idea of the ARF with two significant, and openly stated objectives: first, that ASEAN would be the prime force behind this initiative and would be in the driver's seat, and second, the broad agenda of the ARF would be set by ASEAN. It is both a bold and unprecedented experimentation especially because historically the attitude and policies of the great powers have always influenced the Asia Pacific security. It was ASEAN that came up with the Concept Paper in 1995, which laid out the blueprint to tackle regional security by way of a step-by-step approach- Confidence Building Measures, Preventive Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. And the annual ARF meetings are held along with the ASEAN Ministerial Meetings and the ASEAN-PMCs. Here, the question is: Can the ASEAN-led ARF process succeed in the atmosphere of great power dominance?

What is the purview of the ARF?

The confusion that was created at the time the ARF was born as to what would be its purview- whether it covered the geographic areas both Northeast and Southeast Asias or just Southeast Asia- does not seem to have cleared despite repeated attempts. Because the ARF was an ASEAN endeavour, it was widely perceived that the ARF's scope would be confined just to Southeast Asia. It has been made clear that the entire Pacific Asian region would come under the ARF. However, the idea of creating a Northeast Asian regional dialogue (and even Northeast Asian Regional Forum) has come up repeatedly especially in South Korea and Japan.11 If this idea is realised in any form, then where does that leave the ARF and its grand plans to create a pan-Pacific Asia multilateral institution? A Northeast Asian Regional Forum or a Dialogue would certainly undermine the ARF, or compel it to confine itself just to the Southeast Asian region.

Implications for India

At the outset, two basic facts should be kept in mind before examining the implications of the role of multilateral institutions on India's security interests: first, India never participated in a regional multilateral framework12, and second, India was not one of the founding members of the ARF. While the ARF came into existence in 1993, India was included in 1995 after it became a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. India was eager to join the new multilateral process as part of its Look East policy that was pursued in the early 1990s, a multi-pronged approach encompassing political, strategic and economic fields.13 When India wanted to align and identify more closely with the Asia Pacific, probably two factors weighed heavily in the minds of the policy makers. First, after an attempt to restructure the Indian economy was made, it became imperative to turn to the world's most dynamic region for economic interaction. Second, once the Cold War came to an end and the superpowers started their military build down, India could not afford to be impervious to the developments in this region, especially Southeast Asia, which could directly affect Indian interests. Among others, one factor that most certainly must have figured in the Indian calculations would be China and its growing power and influence.

China's growing economic clout, its claims for the strategically located islands in the South China Sea, its deep involvement in Myanmar, and its pursuit to modernise its armed forces, particularly the navy, have catapulted China into a dominant position. However, suspicions continued to linger about China's intentions. Whereas India had been much better placed to play a significant role in Southeast Asia, in part because it does not have any border, territorial, maritime disputes with any of the Southeast Asian neighbours and also because India has never tried to extend its influence into Southeast Asia. The strategic divide that came into being as a result of extraneous factors such as the Cold War is over and that opened up vistas of cooperation. The conscious and concerted efforts that were put in the early 1990s have since paid rich dividends: India has become a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN and a member of the ARF; agreements for defence cooperation have been signed with a number of Southeast Asian countries; and economic interaction with the Asia Pacific has increased substantially.

As far as the ARF and security of the Asia Pacific is concerned, except the initial enthusiasm to join the multilateral process so that it would not be left out of the developments of this important region, there does not seem to be much deliberation or thinking that has gone into the whole process of multilateral Institutionalism and its role in the future. The momentum that was built up till the mid-1990s has already waned considerably and unless India reactivates and involves itself in the affairs of the Asia Pacific, it might once again get marginalised.

Conclusion

After having taken full cognisance of building a new regional order in the Asia Pacific, an institutional approach by way of multilateral mechanism has been identified as the best means in the management of regional security. The ARF came into being after ASEAN took the lead to create a new forum, which was supposed to be flexible enough to accommodate varied interests of various powers. At the same time the benefit of ASEAN's own experience would also be available to make the ARF a successful venture. With the intent of capitalising the new-found image the sub-regional grouping has acquired in the post-Cold War era, ASEAN broadly wanted to have the leverage of determining the ARF's broad agenda and conduct its business in its own way rather than be dictated to by the great powers. The ARF appeared to be progressing well till the region was hit by the financial crisis, which had a debilitating effect on not only the countries individually, but more importantly on the multilateral institutions. In any case, the ARF has to address a number of innate contradictions that have not got enough attention. Some of these mentioned above need to be discussed and debated upon and resolved at some stage for the ARF to play a meaningful role. As the Asia Pacific region did not have the experience of operating through multilateral institutions, and in view of the fragility of these institutions that got exposed as a result of the financial crisis, it may be too early to lay a lot of faith on the ARF's ability to undertake the kind of role that is envisaged by the Concept Paper.

NOTES

1. See G.V.C.Naidu, "India and APEC", Strategic Analysis, March 1998.

2. Tim Huxley and Susan Willett, Arming East Asia, Adelphi Paper No. 329 (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1999).

3. The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been in existence since its founding in 1967. Its purview and membership is however limited to the geographic region of Southeast Asia. For a variety of reasons, ASEAN has so far not attempted a security role for itself though its origin and survival has roots in security concerns. To be sure, it was a Cold War creation and till recently its membership had been limited to pro-US and anti-communist regimes. In order to expand its activities and involve external great powers, which have interests in and are concerned with Southeast Asian security, in the form of 'Dialogue Partnership'. The Dialogue Meetings are known as Post-Ministerial Conferences (ASEAN-PMC) because they are held soon after the Annual Ministerial Meetings of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers.

4. For a detailed background to the formation of the ARF, see Michael Leifer, The ASEAN Regional Forum, Adelphi Paper No. 302 (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1996).

5. The concept of Preventive Diplomacy has already been theoretically deliberated upon, but its applicability and practicality to the Asia Pacific situation is yet to be tested. See Desmond Ball and Amitav Acharya, ed., The Next Stage: Preventive Diplomacy and Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific Region, Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 131 (Canberra: Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, 1999).

6. Similarly APEC has also come under criticism for its inability to tackle the Asian crisis. For analysis of the impact of the crisis on security, see Desmond Ball, Implications of the East Asian Economic Recession for Regional Security Cooperation, Working Paper No.331 (Canberra: Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University, 1999).

7. For the kind of challenges that ASEAN is faced with, see G.V.C.Naidu, "ASEAN: Challenges Ahead and Implications for India, Strategic Analysis, May 1999 and Jeanne Henderson, Reassessing ASEAN, Adelphi Paper No. 328 (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1999).

8. This has been widely covered in Amitav Acharya, "Realism, Institutionalism and the Asian Economic Crisis", Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 21, no. 1 (April 1999), pp. 1-29.

9. According to official strategy documents, "the United States engages in a variety of official and unofficial multilateral security dialogues to enhance mutual cooperation and trust in Asia (emphasis added), most notably the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)…. The ARF has developed into a useful vehicle for official region-wide discussion and exchange. The ARF's attention to promoting greater mutual understanding and transparency promises to build trust among Asia-Pacific nations and others outside the region, and provide an important contribution to regional security." The ARF is considered as "a useful vehicle for official region-wide discussion and exchange. The ARF's attention to promoting greater mutual understanding and transparency promises to build trust among Asia-Pacific nations and others outside the region, and provide an important contribution to regional security." See, The United States Strategy for the East Asian-Pacific Region, November 1998. Source: http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs.easr98/

10. Ibid.

11. See for instance, Ralph A.Cossa, "Northeast Asia Security Forum: Is Such a Gathering Possible", PacNet Newsletter (Washington: CSIS), May 1999.

12. Both South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Indian Ocean Regional Cooperation (IORC) in which India is a member are limited to economic cooperation agenda.

13. For a detailed analysis of India's relations with Southeast Asia, see G.V.C. Naidu, India and ASEAN, Delhi Paper No.8 (New Delhi: IDSA, 1997).