India and Southeast Asia: Towards Security Convergence

India and Southeast Asia: Towards Security Convergence

India and Southeast Asia: Towards Security Convergence

India and Southeast Asia: Towards Security Convergence

Synopsis

In the context of the geopolitical situation in the Asia-Pacific in the post-September 11 period, the security dimension between India and Southeast Asia cannot be overemphasized. With the continued U.S. preponderance in the region and China's phenomenal rise, the countries of Southeast Asia and India have an opportunity to evolve a co-operative relationship not only with one another, but also with the major powers of the region. This book examines the areas of comprehensive security and the growing understanding between India and Southeast Asia where there is less divergence and greater convergence. The author argues that India-Southeast Asia security convergence is not and should not be aimed at any particular country. On an optimistic note he concludes that such convergence will contribute to creating harmony among the major powers of Asia to make the twenty-first century the "Asian century".

Excerpt

In the closing months of 2004, a few dozens of enthusiastic drivers piloted their ordinary roadworthy vehicles through the northeast of India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and by ferry to the Indonesian island of Batam. They were participating in the first-ever ASEAN–India Car Rally. This fascinating event reaffirmed once again the land connectivity between India and Southeast Asia. It renewed public consciousness of the related geography of ASEAN and India.

In ancient times, commercial interests, regal adventures, missionary zeal and intelligent curiosity prompted many journeys over the ocean to link the peoples of Southeast Asia and the South Asian subcontinent. Over time, the customs, religions and traditions of the richer civilization of the Indian states were enmeshed into the ways of life in mainland and archipelagic Southeast Asia. Rather than being a physical barrier, the seas surrounding ASEAN and India were the conduit of popular interactions and community development. Today, the sea routes remain just as important, though taken for granted because of the relatively convenient and inexpensive air travel.

For the future, ASEAN and India will be further bundled together through fibre optics, the Internet and other technological advancement. The human resources from both sides are connected by cyber-works and the common desire to achieve peace, progress and prosperity. Their resilience, perpetual optimism and relentless attachment to hope will tie them in inseparable manner and motivate them to strive for a better tomorrow. The changes in the creation of value in the global economy will also mean greater interdependence between ASEAN and India.

Therefore, geography, culture, technology and economics bind ASEAN and India. The challenge is to provide the security for realizing these common aspirations in an uncertain world. The political leaderships in . . .

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