University Teknologi MARA’s (UiTM) Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Studies (FSPPP) students, majoring in Master of International Relation and Diplomacy (MIRAD), organized a webinar on themes related to diplomacy, security, and cooperation in ASEAN. The program conducted by the postgraduate students took the initiative to invite two spokespersons to share their knowledge and experiences related to the program’s theme. The spokespersons come from different backgrounds, Ms Wan Wardina Wan Abdul Wahab from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), and Professor. Dr Shankari Sundararaman from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India.
This dialogue session aims to provide an avenue for postgraduate students under the Master of International Relations and Diplomacy (MIRAD) program to share their thoughts with the invited panel to refine contemporary issues around the Southeast Asian region.
The first seminar was held on 7 June 2021, focusing on the ‘Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement’ featuring Ms Wan Wardina Wan Abdul Wahab. The webinar focused on how the RCEP arrangement would benefit ASEAN Regional Integration. Ms Wardina highlighted several issues concerning the element of integration toward RCEP. She further explained ASEAN’s structure, its role in international integration and the challenges in regional integration.
MIRAD students also had the opportunity to learn more about the ASEAN-INDIA relations from a lecturer from India, Prof Shankari Sundararaman, who spoke at the event. The discussion focused on India’s quest for more interaction with East Asian countries, which was previously known as “Look East Policy” but is now known as “Act East Policy.” The example of ASEAN-INDIA Dialogue, the ASEAN India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA), is the initial effort to strengthen the ties between the two parties. Besides that, Prof Shankari also provided a thorough explanation of India’s exit from the RCEP, which she believed would help to strengthen the linkages between India and ASEAN. In this regard, Prof Shankari believes that India favours bilateral connections with ASEAN countries and aims to increase India’s influence in the region to counterbalance the Asia Pacific’s impact.