1. What is ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)?
  2. Working of ARF
  3. What is Track-1 and Track-2 Diplomacy?
  4. 3-stage Confidence Building process
  5. ARF Member states
  6. ARF process is three-tiered
  7. Four Intersessional meetings of ISMs
  8. Vision Statement for ARF for 2020
  9. Hanoi Plan of Action (POA)
  10. India and ARF:
  11. Mock Questions for IAS Mains (GS Paper 2)
  12. Mock Interview Questions for UPSC IAS Exam

What is ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)?

Birth 1994
  • Dialogue platform between between the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and its full dialogue partners.
  • To provide diplomatic solutions to regional problems.

Working of ARF

  1. Involves minimal institutionalization,
  2. The chair of the ARF is rotated annually. The ARF Chairman’s Statement, the organization’s official declaration, is issued after each ARF meeting.
  3. decision making by consensus,
  4. use of both “first track” (official) and “second track” (nonofficial) diplomacy.

What is Track-1 and Track-2 Diplomacy?

  1. first-track diplomatic meetings consist of gatherings of leading officials to discuss security measures,
  2. Second-track meetings consist of scholars, government individuals not acting in their official capacity, private think tanks, and other individuals and organizations (NGOs).

Role of second-track procedures distinguishes ARF from most other international organizations, which generally treat non-official diplomatic measures as residual and peripheral.

3-stage Confidence Building process
Stage No.
1 Confidence Building Measures (CBMs)
2 development of preventive diplomacy
3 Elaboration of approaches to conflicts.

ASEAN Regional forum Members

ASEAN Regional Forum

ARF has total 27 member states
ASEAN Countries (10) Dialogue Partners (10) Other nations (7)
  1. Brunei Darussalam
  2. Cambodia
  3. Indonesia
  4. Laos
  5. Malaysia
  6. Myanmar
  7. Philippines
  8. Singapore
  9. Thailand
  10. Vietnam
  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. China
  4. EU
  5. India
  6. Japan
  7. ROK
  8. New Zealand
  9. Russia
  10. United States
  1. Bangladesh
  2. DPRK
  3. Mongolia
  4. Pakistan
  5. Papua New Guinea
  6. Timor Leste
  7. Sri Lanka

ARF process is three-tiered

Tier Activity
  • annual ARF meeting at the level of Ministers in July/August in the capital of the ASEAN Chair for the year.
  • (ASEAN chair is rotated every year).
  • Seminars of scholars and officials from member states acting in their personal capacity
  • ARF Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM)
  • Inter-Sessional Support Group (ISG) on CBMs and Preventive Diplomacy
  • They hold annual meetings known as Annual inter-sessional meetings (ISMs)

Four Intercessional meetings of ISMs

  1. on counter-terrorism and trans-national crime (CTTC),
  2. maritime security,
  3. disaster relief
  4. non-proliferation and disarmament.

Vision Statement for ARF for 2020

  • adopted at the 16th ARF Ministerial held in Phuket, Thailand
  • Talks about two things
    • ARF is a central pillar in the emerging regional security architecture.
    • strengthening ARF’s role in raising awareness on security challenges and intensifying confidence building and cooperation

Hanoi Plan of Action (POA)

Contains policy guidance for how to implement that ^Vision 2020 involving concrete and practical actions in the fields of

  1. Disaster relief
  2. maritime security
  3. non-proliferation and disarmament
  4. counter-terrorism
  5. Peacekeeping.

India and ARF:

  • member of the ARF since 1996.
  • Our participation is consistent with our “Look East” policy, and development of closer links with the ASEAN as a full-dialogue partner.
  • We’ve co-chaired ARF Inter-sessional Support Group (ARF-ISG) on CBMs  and Preventive Diplomacy
  • We’ve organized several seminars, workshops and training programmes for ARF Members. For example,
    • UN Peacekeeping course @Delhi
    • maritime security training course @Chennai
    • Anti-piracy training @Mumbai by Coast Guard
    • cyber security (don’t know @where).

Mock Questions for IAS Mains (GS Paper 2)

  1. What is Track 1 and Track 2 diplomacy?
  2. Write a brief note on ARF
  3. Discuss the relations between India and ARF
  4. What is Hanoi Action Plan? (2m)

Mock Interview Questions:

  1. What do you understand by Confidence Building Measures  /CBM (Interview)
  2. Can you cite any examples of Track-2 diplomacy between Indo-Pak and Indo-China? (Interview)