Southeast Asia, a sub-region of Asia, consists of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia, which includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
These countries share historical, political, economic, cultural and social ties, and all but East Timor are members of the regional bloc called Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In recent years, the regional bloc has taken several initiatives to integrate member countries, including developing a single market that would ensure the free flow of goods, services, investment and skilled labor, and the free flow of capital.
Nonetheless, the region is far from being homogeneous and encompassing with different political institutions, diverse languages and cultures. Because of the geostrategic location and its emerging economy, the region has become greater interest to its neighboring countries as well as the Western democracies.
The centre’s mission is to bridge Southeast Asia with the rest of the world through research and teaching.
The objectives of the centre are:
- To understand the overarching history and politics of Southeast Asia and its importance to the world
- To study the comparative politics and international relations of Southeast Asian countries
- To analyse the organisation’s history, accomplishments and the challenges of ASEAN
- To examine the politics of Southeast Asia vis-à-vis the South China Sea dispute
- To study ways and means by which India can work closely with ASEAN to promote stability in Asia
The centre engages in a range of activities, such as research, publication, organising talks and panel discussions. The centre aims to establish relationship with other Southeast Asian Centres around the world and collaborate with them in research projects, organising seminars and conferences. The centre also offers courses on ‘Politics of Southeast Asia’ and ‘Foreign Policies of Southeast Asian Countries’ to undergraduate and graduate students.