Comparative Regional Cooperation: A Case Study of ASEAN and SAARC


  • Visara Kraiwatanapong
  • Yared Akarapattananukul -


ASEAN, SAARC, Regional Cooperation, Regional Integration, International Organization



ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and SAARC (The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) are “Third World” regional and international organizations that emerged during the Cold War and still exist today. As the member countries of these associations are located nearby – Southeast Asia in the case of ASEAN and South Asia in the case of SAARC – and their profiles and objectives are similar, it is worth studying the comparative regional cooperation of these two organizations. This paper suggests that the stability of political-security cooperation is a crucial factor that determines the success of economic cooperation in regional integration. It firstly provides the general background of ASEAN and SAARC. Secondly, it compares their roles in three main pillars: political-security, economic and social cooperation. The article found that ASEAN seems to achieve in preserving peace and stability in the region, which is an essential attribute for economic collaboration between its member states. The ASEAN Way becomes a form of cooperation that gives priority to national sovereignty and self-interest in this region. It eventually builds resilience for peace, stability and diplomatic cohesion amidst major political, economic and social changes across the region. SAARC, on the other hand, endeavors to boost health cooperation during COVID-19 whereas its security and economic cooperation is still ongoing.


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