Prelims level : Shangri-La Dialogue, East Asia Summit Mains level : GS:2S - Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
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Why in News:

  • Indo-Pacific has been gaining traction in Indian policy and has achieved operational clarity after the Indian vision was presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue.


  • India has been an active participant in mechanisms like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), in ASEAN-led frameworks like the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, the ASEAN Regional Forum as well as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi- Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation and the Mekong-Ganga Economic Corridor.
  • India has also been convening the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, in which the navies of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) participate.
  • India has boosted its engagements with Australia and New Zealand and has deepened its cooperation with the Republic of Korea.
  • India is stepping up its interactions with the Pacific Island countries.
  • India’s growing partnership with Africa can be seen through the convening of mechanisms
    like the India-Africa Forum Summits.
  • India’s multi-layered engagement with China as well as strategic partnership with Russia underlines its commitment to ensuring a stable, open, secure, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.


Shangri-La Dialogue

  • The Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) is an intergovernmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore.
  • The Shangri-La Dialogue has evolved into a key strategic gathering of the Asia-Pacific region. It is attended by defense ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of Asia-Pacific states.

East Asia Summit

  • The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a forum held annually by leaders of 18 countries established in the year 2005. Initially, 16 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian regions were the members of the forum.
  • The membership expanded to 18 countries including the United States and Russia at the Sixth EAS in 2011. EAS meetings are held after the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ meetings.
  • The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 14 December 2005.
  • The East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, The United States, and Russia apart from the 10 ASEAN Member States.
  • India is a founding member of the East Asia Summit.
  • Eleven East Asia Summits have been held so far. Though the ASEAN is at the core of the EAS, its vision is beyond the ASEAN and is seen by India as an alternative to the APEC, in which India doesn’t enjoy the membership.
  • Within the framework of the East Asia Summit, there are six priority areas of regional cooperation. These are
  •  Environment and Energy
  •  Education
  •  Finance
  •  Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases
  •  Natural Disaster Management
  •  ASEAN Connectivity.
  • EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.
  • It 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.
  • Trade is also an important focus for the summit.

Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)

  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association was set up with the objective of strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean Region
  • The IORA is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them.
  • It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.
  • India, Australia, Iran, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Singapore, Mauritius, Madagascar, UAE, Yemen, Seychelles, Somalia, Comoros and Oman are among the members of IORA.


  • BIMSTEC stands for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. It is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia. 7 members are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, Nepal
  • Established in 1997 in Bangkok
  • Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand were founding members HQ: Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • The main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and south east Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Commerce, investment, technology, tourism, human resource development, agriculture, fisheries, transport and communication, textiles, leather etc. have been included in it
  • BIMSTEC uses the alphabetical order for the Chairmanship Bhutan has never been chairman
  • Current chairmanship: Sri Lanka

Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC)

  • The MGC is an initiative by India and five ASEAN countries, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communications. It was launched in 2000 at Vientiane, Laos. It is named after Ganga and the Mekong which both are civilisational rivers. MGC initiative aims to facilitate closer contacts among the people inhabiting these two major river basins.
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