THE book is a compilation of papers presented by leading speakers at a dialogue initiated by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ICEAS) Singapore and Observer Research Foundation (ORF) based in New Delhi.
The papers covered wide-ranging and critical issues such as the involvement of outside powers in South and Southeast Asia, the growing naval presence of extra-regional powers in the Indian Ocean, the evolving of Asian regionalism, the situation in Myanmar, Security in the South China Sea Area, and Global Climate Change.
The book also looks at the growing cooperation between India and Southeast Asia, and a notable development in international relations.
The first of these papers touches upon the subject of Major Power Dynamics in South Asia and Southeast Asia, with special emphasis on the Game. Says Dilip Lahiri, India’s ex Ambassador to various countries, “South Asia’s influence in international affairs has steadily increased since the end of the Cold War. The Indo-Soviet Agreement was a reaction to the direct threat posed to India by the US and China during the Bangladesh crisis of 1971. From tackling subjects like US funding Pakistan to end the Cold War, to being unable to contain the repercussions in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Beijing’s refusal to acknowledge India’s privileged position in South Asia, the politics of nuclear weapons between India and Pakistan, and US request to India to thin down its troop presence at the border with Pakistan, the paper says that while India and US have “their own, sometimes diverging national interests, there will be an abiding convergence of interest in the Asia-Pacific between US and India, Japan, Republic of Korea, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and Australia, in making sure that the rise of China is peaceful and non-threatening.”
Other issues that the book take up include the role of major powers, their stakes in this region, and the roles of China, Japan, juxtaposed with ASEAN’s role in the Regional Order. ASEAN was designed to prevent the expansion of the Communist powers, to protect US allies, and ensure security of sea lanes.
Others who have contributed include Vice Admiral PS Das, Dilip Lahiri, K Yhome – Associate Fellow at the ORF, Daljit Singh – Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Vijay Sakhuja Director Research at the Indian Council of World Affairs, and Carlyle A Thayer who is a Professor of Politics at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
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