Commentary: Umesh Pandey
Last week Asean celebrated its 46th anniversary, and the 10-member grouping is starting to show signs of age. The fact is, few organisations last for so long without the occasional need for a facelift.
Asean was the brainchild of former Thai foreign minister Thanat Khoman, who popped the idea during a banquet, saying the small countries of the region needed a forum to resolve problems and coordinate work on issues of mutual interest.
The official founding dates back to the adoption of the Bangkok Declaration on Aug 8, 1967. But much of the “T-shirt diplomacy” was carried out at the nearby beach resort of Bang Saen by officials of the five founding countries: Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.
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