Economic Outlook and Prospects
As a regional bloc, ASEAN has developed much faster than any of the other blocs in Asia-Pacific. It has an active Free Trade Agreement (FTA), almost free movement of factors of production and an ASEAN identity building process. ASEAN, in addition to China and India, is one of the three pillars of growth in Asia, with an average GDP growth at around 6 per cent per annum over the past 15 years. Today, ASEAN is an economic bloc having an aggregate economic size of US$ 2.3 trillion. The Indian economy, on the other hand, is the world’s 10th largest by nominal GDP (US$ 1.8 trillion).1 Economic cooperation between ASEAN and India would, therefore, be a huge step towards regional integration of the Asian economy. There has been a high possibility of success due to the economic integration of the two as well as a keen intent on both sides to achieve this. There is now a sense prevailing on both sides that any cooperation would be beneficial to both.