Alternative Centres of Power | Class 12 | Political Science | EU | ASEAN |

Alternative Centres of Power | Chapter 4 | Class 12 | Political Science | EU | ASEAN |

European Union


1. During the second world war, the economy of the Europe was in ruins and after the warfare the countries determined to integrate to come out of ruins.
2. The US President Truman decided to provide moral and financial assistance to countries whose Political Unity was vulnerable by Communism. This policy came to be referred as ‘Truman Doctrine’.
3. America extended massive financial help for revitalizing Europe’s economy under the ‘Marshall Plan’. It created a collective security structure under NATO.
4. Organization for European Economic Co-operation(OECC)– It had been established under Marshall plan in 1948. The purpose of the organization was to act as a coordinating agency of the counties receiving the help.
5. The Council of Europe – it had been established in 1949. This was the forum for political cooperation between the countries.
6. European Economic Community – it came into being by the treaty of Rome in 1957. It provided for the abolishment of all customs and other barriers.
7. European Parliament – EEC attained political dimension with the creation of an assembly that declared itself a ‘Parliament’.

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European Union

1. The European Union was established in 1992 after the collapse of USSR.
2. Its foundation was laid for a common foreign and security policy, cooperation on justice and home affairs and the creation of the single currency.
3. It has its own flag, founding date and currency and has emerged as a one of the major centres of power.

Influence of European Union

Economic Influence
1. It is the world’s second largest economy with a GDP more than $17 trillion in 2016.
2. Its currency Euro is a major threat to the US dollar.
3. Its share of world trade is much larger than that of US.
4. It is the world’s largest single trading blocs, because the member states have eliminated all tariffs restrictions on goods and services.
5. They also have Common Monetary Policies, which influences the trading pattern a lot in their favour.
6. Its economic power gives its influence over its closest neighbours and in Asia and Africa.
7. It has an important say in economic organizations like WTO.

Political and Diplomatic Influence

1. Britain and France, the two members of EU, are permanent members of the UN Security Council.
2. EU also has non-permanent members in UNSC.
3. With this EU has been able to exert pressure on US and it has influenced US policies on Iran’s nuclear programme.
4. It has used diplomacy, negotiations and economic investments to start a dialogue with China on issues of Human Rights and Environment.

Military Influence

1. EU does not have any common forces but the combined forces of its members make up second largest in the world.
2. It stands second in the world after US in terms of Military Spending.
3. Britain and France happens to be Nuclear Power and have approximately 550 nuclear warheads.
4. France and Britain have also advanced space and communication technology .

EU as a Supranational Organization

Supranational Organization – it is the one that has the power and influence beyond national boundaries in the spheres of economy, politics and social life and has emerged as a one of the major centres of power 

1. It has some common features, such as a single market, a common Currency, a common agricultural Policy and a common Foreign and Security Policy.
2. EU member-states could readily deploy their forces for UN Peace- keeping Operations or to tackle situations like Kosovo conflict.
3. EU won Nobel Peace Prize of 2012 to promote peace and prosperity in Europe.

Limitations of EU

1. Bigger European powers were unwilling to give up their independent policies in world politics. Britain was the part of the US-led “Coalition of the Willing” that invaded Iraq in 2003 but France and Germany were opposed to it.
2. A common Constitution for all countries of the European Union was not acceptable to France, although many countries had accepted it.
3. The EU currency Euro was not accepted by countries like Denmark, Sweden and Britain.
4. There also exist ‘Euroskepticism’ in many parts of EU about the integrationist agenda. Margaret kept UK out of European Market. Maastricht Treaty was resisted by Denmark and Sweden.


The abbreviation stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


1. Before and during the Second World War whole of the South-East Asia was under the domination of European powers and Japan.
2. Because of which the region suffered with poverty , economic backwardness and pressure to align with one of the superpowers during the cold war.
3. The Bandung Conference and the NAM were not effective in establishing cooperation.
4. Hence in order to promote regional security and economic development the leaders of five countries combined to form ASEAN which has emerged as a one of the major centres of power

Formation of ASEAN

1. The ASEAN was formed by the governments of
• Malaysia
• Philippines
• Singapore
• Thailand
2. It was formed through the Bangkok Declaration signed on 8 August 1967. It was later joined by other nations like Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei and Cambodia.

Objectives of ASEAN 

To promote economic, social and cultural development.
• To promote regional peace and stability.
• To promote active collaboration in scientific and administrative and scientific facilities.
• To promote South – East studies.

The ASEAN Way 
It is a system of consensual decision-making through discussion in which open disagreements and controversy are avoided at all costs. 

Pillars of ASEAN
ASEAN established ASEAN community in 2003 which has three pillars.


1. ASEAN Security Community
The member-states would respect each other’s independence and sovereignty and settle disputes by peaceful means.
• Several agreements between the state promised to uphold peace, neutrality, cooperation, non-interference and respect for national differences.
• In 1994, the member countries established ASEAN Regional Forum to promote multilateral security dialogue with outside powers, it carries out coordination of security and foreign policy.

2. ASEAN Economic Community
The main objectives were to create a common market and production base within ASEAN States.
• To help overall development of the region.
• Attempts were made to improve Dispute Settlement Mechanism to resolve economic disputes.
• In Bangkok Summit efforts were made to speed up the creation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) for investment, labour and services.

3. ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community

It endeavors to promote cultural activities.
• Visa rules were relaxed to encourage Tourism.
• Mutual Cooperation increased in the field of population control, sports, higher education.
• Regular telecast of cultural programmes throughout the region.

ASEAN Vision 2020

Vision 2020 has an outward looking role for ASEAN in the international community. This encourages negotiation over conflicts in the region. ASEAN has mediated the end of the Cambodian conflict, the East Timor crisis. It was decided that ASEAN countries should meet twice a year to discuss East Asian Conditions and cooperation.

India’s Relations with ASEAN

1. The Economic Strength of ASEAN, makes this an attractive proposition to countries like India and China.
2. India did not pay much attention to ASEAN during Cold War, but later it signed trade agreements with the three ASEAN members- Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
3. ‘Look East Policy’ of 1990’s served as an impetus to development in the relationship.
4. The ASEAN-India FTA came into effect in 2010.
5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Look East Policy will now be known as ‘Act East Policy’ in 2014.
6. It’s the regional association in Asia which provides a political forum to discuss major issues in Asia.

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The abbreviation stands for South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation.

The South Asian countries have a common cultural heritage, similar social customs and much the same economy. The people in the region suffered from poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and political instability. There is a scope for mutual cooperation in the region. These were the factors that led to the formation of SAARC which has now emerged as a one of the major Centres of Power . Its Headquarters lie in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Objectives of SAARC

1. To accelerate the economic,social development of the region.
2. Promotion of the welfarism of this region .
3. Making full use of all human and natural resources.
4. To bring mutual assistance and collaboration in areas of agriculture, rural development, technology ,sports and culture.

BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)

1. This is the organization of the powerful and emerging nations created to promote peace, security and development and cooperation which has now emerged as a major Centres of Power.
2. It was initially founded as BRIC by Russia in 2006 and later in 2009 South Africa was also included.
3. It has five member states, each being distinctive in all the spheres.
4. Its headquarter is situated in Shanghai, China.
5. These nations together represent almost 40% of the world population, becoming a voice for them.
6. The 11th conference of BRICS took place in Brazil in 2019 which was chaired by President of Brazil , Bolsonaro.

Chinese Economy


1. During the second World War there prevailed wide-spread unemployment , extreme poverty and economic exploitation in China .
2. Her long continued struggle with Japan threw the economy in ruins.
3. After Japan’s withdrawal from China, a civil war broke out between the Communists and the National Government.
4. The People’s Republics of China was officially proclaimed on 1 October 1949.

Economic Reconstruction and Political Cohesion

1. After Communist Revolution, the Chinese seemed to be occupied with economic and social repair.
2. In 1971, China was admitted to UN and it also became a permanent member of the Security Council. With this ended China’s isolation. It started signing agreements on cooperation in trade, education, science and technology.
3. In 1973, Chinese PM Zhou Enlai embarked upon a programme of ‘Four Modernization’ ( agriculture, industry, armed forces and Science & technology)
4. In 1978, China’s leader announced a ‘reformist and liberal’ policy. It was stated to be an ‘Open Door Policy’, which brought in market economy and privatization in the country.
5. The Citizens were given ‘Right to Work’ and the right to state assistance in old age.
6. China was remarkably successful in giving food, shelter and primary education to its people and since became as one of the major Centres of Power.
7. It decided to substitute imports by domestic goods.

Privatization of China

1. Privatization of Agriculture – Collective Farming was abolished in 1982 and Peasants now became owners of their land. This led to rise in agricultural production and rural incomes. It led to high exponential growth in rural industry.
2. Privatization of Industries- this happened in the year 1998. Trade barriers were eliminated in Special Economic Zones. Industrialists were given concessions to promote FDI. This led to phenomenal rise in foreign trade. China now has a large exchange reserves that allows it to make big investment in other countries.
3. China’s accession to WTO– In 2001 ,China decided to open its economy to its economy to the outside world.

Results of the New Economic Policy of China

1. Today, China has emerged as the world’ largest producer of steel and cement.
2. China has been the fastest growing economy since the first reforms began. It is believed to overtake the US as the world’ largest economy by 2040.
3. Its economic integration into the region makes it the driver of East Asian Growth, which means China has a lot of influence over these areas.
4. Its looking for investment in Latina America and Africa to become a global player.

1. Privatization led to a great economic inequalities between different social classes.
2. Unemployment has risen in China with nearly 100 million people looking for jobs.
3. Female Unemployment and their conditions of work were as low as in Europe in 18th century.
4. The development was happening at the cost of environmental degradation.
5. Corruption is very rampant in the nation.
6. Constant Human Rights Violations occur in China, the recent one being the issue of atrocities on Uighur Muslims.

India-China Relations


1. Both the countries have had a considerable influence on each other since very long time and both the countries are Centres of Power in the world currently.
2. China’s small neighbouring countries like Mongolia , Korea and a parts of Indo-China were once again within China’s sphere of influence. But countries like Japan, France and all took advantage of the weakness and took control of the land.
3. After India regained its Independence from Britain and China ousted the Foreign powers, there was a hope for them cultivating friendly relations.
4. The Slogan during the time Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai’, symbolized the cooperative relationship between the two nations.

Tibet and the Border Dispute

The Communist rulers of China had their eyes set on Tibet from the very beginning. On the other hand, India signed a Panchsheel Agreement for peaceful co-existence and to uphold the sovereignty , hence India refrained from intervening in the matter. But China started claiming large areas of Indian territory as within their Chinese borders.

The 1962 War

On 26 October 1962, China launched a massive attack on Indian territories of NEFA and Ladakh. Indians were not prepared for such a massive attack and hence quite a good chunk of our land went under Chinese Occupation. This war damaged mutual relations of the two country.

Improvement in the Relations

1. After the change in the leadership of China in 1970’s China’s policy became less ideological and after 1976 the Government of India took initiative in improving relations.
2. In 1981, China dispatched a mission to India to resolve the border issue.
3. After the end of Cold War, there has been significant changes in the relations as both of them realized the advantages of mutual cooperation.
4. Rajiv Gandhi went to China in December 1988 and agreements on Cultural exchanges, Civil aviation and cooperation in the fields of science an technology were signed.
5. In 1996 an agreement signed between India and China to maintain peace and tranquility on border.

The 2000’s
1. In July 2003 the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee paid state visit to China and China agreed to open the old trade route between India and China.
2. Chinese President visited India in 2006. The leaders agreed to establish strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and tranquility.
3. The year 2006 was declared as the India-China Year.
4. In 2008, the PM of India visits China and agreed that by 2010 the trade would cross the mark of 60 million dollar and hence signed a Joint Declaration titled ‘A Shared Vision for 21st Century’.
5. The Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to India and agreed to work in greater Cooperation on Regional and Global Issues.

Contentious issues between India and China
1. Pending Border Issue – China refused to acknowledge the McMahon line as the border between India and China.
2. China’s Military Support to Pakistan –this is a matter of serious concern to India as China is helping Pakistan to build up Nuclear Programme.
3. Encroachment of India’s properties– China during the war of 1962 took away a part of Indian territory.
4. Lay claims on Indian Territory of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
5. China regards Kashmir as a disputed territory and hence issues visas to people from J&K on separate sheet of paper as opposed to stamping it on passport.


1. Russia has inherited the legacy of USSR after its disintegration.
2. The GDP of Russia is currently 11th in the world.
3. It has vast reserves of natural resources like minerals and gases.
4. It is a permanent member of UN Security Council.
5. It is a nuclear state with a huge stock of sophisticated weapons. It is also a major exporter of Military weapons.
6. It is also well advanced in terms of Space and Technology and stands second in the world after US which makes the nation as one among current Centres of Power in the world.


1. India is the second most populous country with a population of 135 crores and has a huge proportion of youngsters and which can be turned into assets for the country.
2. In economic terms, the Indian is big economy with the target for development set up to $5 trillion dollar.
3. Indian Diaspora is well spread out throughout the world including about 200 million people and hence contributing immensely to global development.
4. India is a nuclear state and hence strategically very important.
5. With new policies of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmnirbhar Bharat’, India is surely going to emerge as a significant nation yielding its influence as one among important Centres of power.


1. It has emerged as one of the most powerful nations and as a major Centres of power in 21st century in terms of science and technology, defence, intelligence and economy.
2. It is the most significant country in the middle of West Asian countries.
3. UN’s Human Development Index places the country in the category of ‘Very Highly Developed’ country.
4. Israel’s innovation ecosystem is one of the most successful in the world, it invests about 4% of the GDP in Research and Development.
5. It has a very advanced market economy and is major export of cut diamonds, high technology equipment and pharmaceuticals.


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