• The fifth East Asia Summit Conference on Maritime Security Cooperation is set to begin in Kolkata.
• The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a unique Leaders-led forum of 18 countries of the Asia-Pacific region formed to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.
• 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 regional architecture.
• Established in 2005, EAS allows the principal players in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss issues of common interest and concern, in an open and transparent manner, at the highest level.
• The membership of EAS consists of ten ASEAN Member States (i.e. Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the USA.
• India is a founding member of EAS.
• EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN. EAS can only be chaired by an ASEAN member.
• There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS. These are – Environment and Energy, Education, Finance, Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases, Natural Disaster Management, and ASEAN Connectivity.
• India endorses regional collaboration in all six priority areas.
Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: East Asia Summit
Mains level: Regional and global groupings and agreements