Status of ASEAN integration process.

Despite of the expansion of ASEAN, its working principles and objectives remained unchanged throughout this time. ASEAN is considered to be an intergovernmental organization where its foreign minister is allowed to take decisions on the basis of unanimity and consensus. It can be observed that the strategic presence of US in the discussed regions cannot guarantee the security of States present in Southeast Asia, especially in the areas of terrorism, conspiracies and non-conventional threats.

The development of ASEAN may be slow and gradual but it has consistently being demonstrating an uphill shift from concentrating on stability and regional peace to much closer economic integration. The vision of the ASEAN goes far beyond the two pages of the Bangkok declaration that was set in 1967. The ultimate goal of the declaration is to accomplish an integrated ASEAN community that is based on common regional identity. Keeping into consideration the problems and downturns that affects an organization, several scholars argue that achieving successful integration is unlikely for ASEAN. There are difficulties and obstacles laden on the route of integration, which needs to be cleared urgently. However in the last few decades, ASEAN has successfully achieved in the areas of prosperity, security and stability of the region. It has also successfully promoted economic development and regional co-operation. It was in the name of the ASEAN unity that Southeast Asia left its economic rivalry far behind. It has also taken a lead for creating ASEAN regional forum, whose purpose is to engage all its Asian-Pacific neighbors for the first time, for conducting discussions in the form of structured dialogues on a number of Asian security issues (Guan).

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