Home Contact Us
Search :
   

China - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#3268, 29 October 2010
 
ADMM+: Another Case of ‘Pretentious Diplomacy’?
Vibhanshu Shekhar
Research Associate, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
email: vibesjnu@gmail.com
 

The representatives of ten ASEAN countries and eight major players in the Asia-Pacific – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the US – got together in Hanoi on 12 October 2010 in a bid to develop a regional architecture for dialogue on security challenges. These countries were participating as members of the first ASEAN Plus Defence Ministerial Meeting (ADMM+), a new, ASEAN-driven security initiative. The forum follows the pattern of ASEAN’s annual Defence Ministerial Meetings (ADMM), functioning since 2006. Unlike other such deliberations where delegates are either the heads of the government or belong to foreign affairs ministries, the participants here were heads of the various defence ministries.

The thrust of the Joint Declaration adopted at the Meeting was on identifying important security threats rather than devising ways and means to combat them. It is expected that the ADMM+ can be a result-oriented initiative given its smaller size, the involvement of major players, its focused agenda for deliberation and the involvement of actual defence practitioners. The initiative is expected to be an emphatic diplomatic statement and an important face-saving exercise for ASEAN-led cooperative processes, which are otherwise giving way to evolving great power politics, bilateral strategic partnerships, and hedging. The number of bilateral strategic partnerships has gone up considerably during the last five years. India alone has signed at least six since 2005 – with Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. Similarly, Indonesia has signed strategic partnerships with Australia, China, India, Japan, and USA. In this context, the ADMM+ appears a desperate ASEAN effort to salvage its role as a facilitator of regional security dialogues.

While focused on creating a cooperative atmosphere and developing a consensus on prevailing security challenges with the objective of addressing them, the first ADMM+ meeting however, resulted in no such mechanism. This likely indicates a similar pattern of gradual and contested evolution that another ASEAN security forum – an overly institutionalized and over-crowded ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) – has experienced. While the US identified maritime security and piracy as important security challenges, China laid stress on humanitarian aid and natural disasters and proposed to jointly chair with Vietnam an Expert Working Group to address these two issues. India, meanwhile, remained content with its call for peace and stability in the region.

Moreover, the declared aims of the forum do not seem to match with the real intent of the participating countries and with the content of the meetings. The Asia-Pacific hosts major powers with historical rivalries, contested territorial claims, and unsettled boundary disputes and engaged in sustained military build-ups. The initiative however, does not address any of these issues. Instead, the ten-member ASEAN along with the most powerful global player and several rising great powers and middle powers decided to deliberate over non-traditional security issues – long-standing sub-national insurgencies, transnational crimes, terrorism and a very wide stretch of unmonitored, unsafe, and piracy-infested maritime corridors.

The above-mentioned issues are already being discussed by different regional groupings within the Asia-Pacific, such as ARF, East Asia Summit, ReCAAP, and ASEAN along with other groupings. Does the region need another grouping when the existing ones are operating as non-performing platforms, where member-states evade much needed practical cooperation in the name of non-intervention, respect for state sovereignty, all concretised under the  much trumpeted ‘ASEAN Way’? Moreover, is the forum asking the right questions and debating issues that it should? For example, should the defence ministers of 18 countries be discussing issues like climate change, infectious diseases, and natural disasters as their top priorities?

Finally, how did India perform at the forum? New Delhi claimed to be a genuine player in the Asia-Pacific, relied on normative calls for building peace and stability in the region, and identified the already recognised threat of terrorism and piracy. The only contribution India seems to have made at the forum was its call for developing ‘cooperative approaches’ towards regional security dialogue. Both the Indian establishment and academia need to devote more resources and expertise in debating the country’s long-term strategy in one of the world’s most dynamic and challenging regions in the context of its changing international outlook as a rising great power. New Delhi cannot afford to continue the policy of testing the waters that it practiced at the ASEAN Regional Forum during 1990s. India as an emerging power should play a much bigger role in steering these ASEAN-driven multilateral processes.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the grouping uses the vast expertise and resources at the disposal of ASEAN or gets lost in a labyrinth of formalized structures, never-ending CBMs, meaningless meetings, and pretentious diplomacy that characterise the flip side of ASEAN forums. The real litmus test will be its second ADMM+ in Brunei in 2013.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Making a Case for Change
Connecting Sri Lanka: Train to Jaffna
Stronger Democratic Values for a Better Tomorrow
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Burying the Past: A New Beginning for Pakistan and Afghanistan
India-Pakistan: Working Boundaries and Lines of Uncontrolled Fire
Of Inquilab and the Inquilabis
 
Dateline Kabul
Mariam Safi
Af-Pak: A Fresh Start
Can Afghanistan Become a "Perfect Place?"
Afghanistan: Political Crises After the Presidential Run-off
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Bangladesh: Diplomatic Manoeuvres at the UNGA
Abe’s Successful Visit to Dhaka: Two Political Challenges

Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism’s Sake?
Changing Global Balance of Power: Obama’s Response
East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
Abe-Xinping Summit Meet: A Thaw in China-Japan Relations?
South Korea's Foreign Policy: More Rhetoric, Less Content?
India in East Asia: Modi’s Three Summit Meets

Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
The Future of SAARC is Now
China in Nepal: Increasing Connectivity Via Railways
India-Nepal Hydroelectricity Deal: Making it Count
Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
Modi in Myanmar: From ‘Look East’ to ‘Act East’
The ASEAN's Centrality in the Indo-Pacific Region
Myanmar's Political Transition: Challenges of the 2015 Election

Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir
Pakistan: Why is Army against Nawaz Sharif?
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
India and Maritime Security: Do More
Indian Ocean and the IORA: Search and Rescue Operations
Maritime Terrorism: Karachi as a Staging Point

Middle Kingdom
Srikanth Kondapalli
China and Japan: Will the Twain Never Meet?
Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping: Building a Closer Developmental Partnership
Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age

Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Naxal Violence: Challenges to Jharkhand Polls
Naxalites and the Might of a Fragile Revolution
Six Thousand Plus Killed: The Naxal Ideology of Violence
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security
Obama’s New Strategy towards the Islamic State: Implications for India

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Islamic State: The Efficacy of Counter-strategies
War against the Islamic State: Political and Military Responses from the Region
The Islamic State: No Country for the Old World Order
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile
Uranium and Nuclear Power: Three Indian Stories

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Of Lawrence, Sykes-Picot and al-Baghdadi
Strategic Estrangement: An Odd Bedfellow to Economic Engagement
The Islamic State Caliphate: A Mirage of Resurrection
Voice from America
Amit Gupta
China's Global Ambition: Need to Emulate Germany
Mid-Term Elections: So What If the US Swings Hard Right?
Modi’s US Visit: So Much Promise, Such Little Outcome

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
18th SAARC Summit: An Economic Agenda
Regional Economic Architecture: Is India Ready?
Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
India-China: Securitising Water

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Panchali Saikia,
"Myanmar Elections 2010 – III: ASEAN’s Ambivalence," 3 November 2010
Panchali Saikia,
"Manmohan Singh in Southeast Asia," 27 October 2010
Pankaj Jha,
"US-ASEAN Meet: Resurrecting a US Role?," 7 October 2010
Tanvi Pate,
"Myanmar-Thailand Border Dispute: Prospects for Demarcation," 8 July 2010
Chloe Choquier,
"ASEAN and SAARC: Resolving Intra Regional Disputes," 24 May 2010
Firdaus Ahmed,
"The Bright Side of ‘Asymmetric Escalation’," 5 April 2010
Vibhanshu Shekhar,
"Socialist Vietnam Demands Market Economy Status," 13 October 2009
AN Ram,
"India-ASEAN FTA: The Road Ahead," 7 September 2009
Tuli Sinha,
"The India-ASEAN FTA: An assessment," 24 August 2009
Tuli Sinha,
"India-ASEAN FTA and India’s Northeast," 9 June 2009

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Myanmar’s Energy Sector: Inviting the World to its Shore

Book Review: A Retrospective on Reaffirming Ties East of India

Polarised ASEAN: ‘Reverse Enmeshment’

Indonesia: Wary of America’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ Policy?

Socialist Vietnam Demands Market Economy Status

Indian Investment in the Indochina: Emerging Trends

East Asia Floats its Own OECD

India's First Multilateral FTA: Lessons Learnt

Minority Malaysians Reject Ethno-Centric Majoritarian Politics

Northeast's Look East Policy: Securitizing the Region through Development

Malaysian Indians in India's Diaspora Policy

Balancing Malaysia, Malaysian Indians and Tamil Nadu

Trends in India-ASEAN Economic Relations

India and Singapore move towards mutual capacity-building

Thailand's Investment Strategy in India's Northeast

India's Look East Policy: Issues Ignored

ASEAN Community and ASEAN Plus Three: What About ASEAN Plus Six?

Pranab Mukherjee's Visit to Indonesia and Singapore

India-ASEAN FTA: 'Micro Pains, Macro Gains'?

ASEAN's Quest for Nuclear Energy

Trends in India's Indochina Policy

Spoilers in the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement

India's Multilateral Activism and Benign Posturing in the Strait of Malacca

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2014
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
 2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006
 2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998
 1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | IPCS Email
B 7/3 Lower Ground Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, INDIA.
Tel: 91-11-4100 1900, 4165 2556, 4165 2557, 4165 2558, 4165 2559 Fax: (91-11) 41652560
Email:
© Copyright 2014, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
        Web Design by http://www.indiainternets.com