ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks | 21 Aug 2020

Why in News

Recently, India participated in the 6th roundtable meeting of the ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks (AINTT). ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Key Points

  • Issues Raised by India:
    • India highlighted the difficulties that were hindering strong response to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. It said that individual behaviour of many states and old-styled multilateral organisations prevented a collective response to global pandemic.
      • India indirectly referred to the failure of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to issue a statement on the pandemic due to sharp differences between permanent UNSC members China and the USA.
      • The reference also included the USA pulling out of the World Health Organisation (WHO) after accusing it of acting on the behest of China – by declaring Covid-19 a pandemic late.
    • According to India the big issue that confronts the world after Covid-19 pandemic is not simply the state of the economy, but also includes the damage to societies or the challenges to governance.
    • The pandemic has also thrown a debate on the future directions of global affairs and world order.
  • Suggestions made by India:
    • It called upon the ASEAN countries to look beyond current practice in trade, politics and security to find solutions to the challenges posed by pandemic.
    • India urged for greater cooperation to counter challenges of pandemic and called for collective solutions.
      • As part of that, India asked the countries to adopt the idea of strategic autonomy to be used in the context of global supply chains.
      • The reference was to countries looking to move production facilities out of China or at least reduce their dependence on them after the pandemic exposed the weaknesses of overdependence on China.
      • Strategic autonomy can be defined as ‘the ability of a state to pursue its national interests and adopt its preferred foreign policy without being constrained in any manner by other states.

Sources: TH