The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or Asean is a regional inter-governmental organisation consisting of 10 countries to facilitate and promote cooperation in trade, security, education and culture integration and exchange. It is collectively the third-largest economy in Asia after China and Japan and the seventh-largest in the world.
Meetings, conferences and summits are conducted regularly at various levels with its secretariat located in Jakarta, Indonesia. Asean, which was established on August 8, 1967, comprises 10 Southeast Asian countries -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Asean is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region, and India and several other countries, including the US, China, Japan and Australia, are its dialogue partners.
Asean member nations have a total population of 650 million people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2.8 trillion.
What is Asean summit?
The Asean Summit is a biannual meeting held by the members of the Asean to discuss the economic, political, security, and socio-cultural matters of the Southeast Asian nations.
Asean Summit is ‘the supreme policy-making body of Southeast Asian nations’. Some of the key functions of the Asean Summit are to ‘deliberate, provide policy guidance and take decisions on key issues pertaining to the objectives of the Asean.
The first Asean Summit was held in November 1976 in Bali.
Asean leaders hold an internal organisation meeting and conferences with foreign ministers of the Asean Regional Forum. Leaders of three Asean Dialogue Partners (also known as Asean +3), namely China, Japan, and South Korea, hold a meeting with the Asean leaders. A separate meeting is held for leaders of two Asean Dialogue Partners (also known as Asean +CER), namely Australia and New Zealand.
The Chairmanship of Asean rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the names of Asean member states.