11th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting
- Foreign ministers of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) countries began their two-day meet in (Oberoi Hotel) Delhi, India.
- ASEM is a gathering of 49 countries and two international organisations – the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat.
- The ASEM group constitutes about 60 percent of the world’s population, 52 per cent of the global GDP, and 68 percent of world trade.
- The theme of the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is ‘ASEM: Bridge to Partnership for Growth and Development’.
- This is the first time India is hosting an ASEM Foreign Ministers meeting.
- Meeting was today inaugurated by Vice President Hamid Ansari, and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid would chair the meeting.
- In his inagural address Ansari said, “ In today’s context, the strategic importance of the Asia-Europe partnership is evident. I believe we should look to optimize ASEM’s potential with a sense of greater urgency. We should endeavour to take it beyond being a forum for political dialogue only, make it reach out to the people of Member States and create wider stake-holding amongst economic partners and civil society. We should invest its outcomes with tangible deliverables.”
- ASEM has an unparalleled edge in terms of membership, capacity, economic influence, intellectual depth, strategic expertise and political leadership. ASEM`s outcomes must accord greater visibility to these strengths, he said.
- India was invited to join the ASEM in 2007.
- The ASEM ministerial meetings are biennial and alternate with summit meetings.
- A summit meeting was held last year in Laos and this year India is hosting the foreign ministers’ meeting.The next ASEM summit is set to be held in Brussels in autumn 2014.
- The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation bringing together the 27 European Union member states, 2 European countries, and the European Commission with 20 Asian countries and the ASEAN Secretariat.
- The ASEM dialogue addresses political, economic and cultural issues, with the objective of strengthening the relationship between our two regions, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.
- The initial ASEM partnership in 1996 consisted of 15 EU member states and 7 ASEAN member states plus China, Japan, Korea and the European Commission.
- ASEM saw the first enlargement during the 5th ASEM Summit in 2004 in Hanoi (Vietnam), where the 10 new EU Member States (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and three new ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) became officially part of the ASEM process.
- The second round of enlargement in 2008 during the 7th ASEM Summit in Beijing (China) brought in Bulgaria, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Romania and the ASEAN Secretariat, increasing total ASEM membership to 45 partners.
- In October 2010, the 8th ASEM Summit of Heads of Government and State in Brussels (Belgium) welcomed three member states to the ASEM process: Australia, New Zealand and Russia. This third round of enlargement increased total ASEM membership to 48 partners.
- During the 9th ASEM Summit of Heads of Government and State in Vientiane (Laos) in November 2012, ASEM was joined officially by Bangladesh, Norway, and Switzerland. This latest round of enlargement brings the total ASEM membership to 51 partners.