The 21st century has been described as the "Asian Century." Home to 60 per cent of the world's population and accounting for one-fourth of its Gross Domestic Product, by 2050, Asia will also have three of the worlds largest economies-China, India, and Japan. A dynamic hub in this rising Asia is the Southeast Asian region encompassing diverse countries, peoples and cultures. The 9th Asian Security Conference, organized in February 2007, addressed a range of issues and trends affecting this crucial region and their implications for regional and Asian security. The conference, titled Changing Security Dynamics in South East Asia deliberated on Southeast Asian perspectives on security, the role of external powers both current and also those that were rising, the problems of religious fundamentalism and terrorism, the challenges of maritime cooperation among countries abutting crucial world energy transit routes, the advantages of regional, multilateral organizations in fostering cooperative behaviours, and India's growing role and stakes in this region. The contributors point out that the primary security concerns confronting the region were often internal in nature. On the external front, they note the changing geo-political situation'due to the rise of China, a revitalized Japan, a more active Indian presence, along with the continued primacy of the United States. Stressing that these changes were accompanied by their own sets of opportunities and challenges, they express confidence in the ability of regional organizations like the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to deal with the challenges. India and the countries of Southeast Asia have a rich shared history. New Delhi's policy initiatives like the 'Look East's policy have also deepened its economic and security links with the region. Contributors examine different aspects of this growing and multi-faceted relationship, including in meeting the common challenges of energy security, humanitarian and disaster relief, combating trans-national terrorism, among other issues. We hope that this book will contribute to a better understanding of the changing security dynamics in Southeast Asia.
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