Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the 13th East Asia Summit in Singapore during which the leaders of the grouping discussed global and regional issues, including maritime cooperation.
The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a forum held annually by leaders of, initially, 16 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian regions. Membership expanded to 18 countries including the United States and Russia at the Sixth EAS in 2011.
EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings. The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 14 December 2005.
EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.
EAS has evolved as a forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on political, security and economic issues of common regional concern and plays an important role in the regional architecture.
There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS. These are – Environment and Energy, Education, Finance, Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases, Natural Disaster Management, and ASEAN Connectivity. India endorses regional collaboration in all six priority areas.
The concept of an East Asia Grouping was first promoted in 1991 by the then Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad. The final report of the East Asian Study Group in 2002, established by the ASEAN+3 countries (i.e. China, Japan, and ROK), recommended EAS as an ASEAN led development limited to the ASEAN +3 countries.
However, the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) held in Vientiane on July 26, 2005, welcomed the participation of ASEAN, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, India, and New Zealand, in the first EAS. The USA and the Russian Federation were formally included as members of the EAS at the 6th EAS held in Bali, Indonesia on 19 November 2011.