The East Asia Summit is a premier Leaders-led forum for discussions on important strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific region

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will represent India at the 15th East Asia Summit on Saturday.. The virtual summit to be chaired by Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, will see participation from all the eighteen EAS countries.

As per the External Affairs Ministry, ways and means to strengthen the EAS platform and to make it more responsive to emerging challenges on its 15th anniversary will be discussed at the summit.

The Ministry further added that leaders at the Summit will also exchange views on issues of international and regional interest including the COVID-19 pandemic and the cooperation among EAS countries to achieve an expeditious and sustainable economic recovery.

The East Asia Summit is a premier Leaders-led forum for discussions on important strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific, and a leading confidence-building mechanism in the region. India strongly believes that the ASEAN-led frameworks of which EAS is an important part, are at the core of the regional security architecture and need to be strengthened further.

Established in 2005, the East Asia Summit (EAS) is a Leaders-led forum that provides a platform for discussion on important strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific region.

It is a regional grouping of 18 participating countries i.e. 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States. India is a founding member of the EAS.

The 18 members of the EAS together represent 54% of the world population and account for 58% of the global GDP.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the EAS, which is the only leaders-led forum of its kind that brings the US, China, Russia, India, RoK and Australia together on one platform. It enables focus on key strategic issues of global and regional importance and serves as a mechanism to reinforce adherence to international norms and rules.

The network of ASEAN-led frameworks, like the EAS, is a vital part of the regional security architecture. India attaches great importance to the EAS as a premier leaders-led forum and sees it as a logical platform to promote a free, open, inclusive, transparent, rules-based, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

At the 14th East Asia Summit in Bangkok on November 4, 2019, PM Narendra Modi announced India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) aimed at forging partnerships to create a safe, secure, stable, prosperous and sustainable maritime domain. The IPOI envisages cooperation under 7 broad pillars including:

➢ Marine ecology;
➢ Maritime security;
➢ Marine resources;
➢ Capacity Building and Resource Sharing;
➢ Disaster Risk Reduction and Management;
➢ Science, Technology and Academic Cooperation; and
➢ Trade, Connectivity and Maritime transport; as its key pillars.

India in partnership with Australia and Indonesia organized the 4th EAS Conference on Maritime Security Cooperation on February 6-7, 2020 in Chennai to take forward India’s commitments in the maritime security domain. India hopes to organize activities in partnership with interested countries under IPOI.