About the Report:
The Methodology used for this baseline report is based on the review and analysis of the political economy and policies of ASEAN member states. The scope of the report covers both economic and security aspects, with emphasis on the former. There is a conscious effort to focus on each country's challenges and opportunities with respect to the rise of China and India.
The Report had several aims in mind. One is to indicate Southeast Asian perceptions and interpretations of the rise of these two Asian giants. Some of these perceptions and interpretations are consistent while others have been changing over time. Intrinsically, perceptions and interpretations among the ASEAN member states are similar. However, for the developing economies and emerging societies in Southeast Asia, the two concepts - perception and interpretation - might be different as they are still evolving and forming their policies, both internally and externally, in response. There are therefore instances in which perception does not represent the logical reality. Therefore, it is possible that an initial negative perception of China or of India can be changed or moderated over time through sustained efforts. In this context, this report will make a conscious effort to indicate the existing gaps in perceptions among some ASEAN member states. In doing so, both the challenges and opportunities that result are given equal coverage.
The other aim of this Report is to highlight that Southeast Asians are diverse in their religions, different political, social and cultural heritage and are also at different stages of economic development. Yet despite this diversity, it appears there are common denominators and and a sense of pragmatism that drive the region toward stability and accomodation to the rise of China and of India. The regional challenge thus is how to create stronger and more equal relations with these two Asian neighbours, especially with the strong presence of the US that has served as the main fulcrum and key for regional prosperity and stability in the post WWII period. In so doing, the report also illuminates background factors to the ties between the ASEAN member states with China and with India.