The Triple Alliance formed between 1947 and 1950 and comprises India, ASEAN and Australia. Its overall philosophy is free-market and free-enterprise but with pronounced regional differences. The three alliance members have reasonably strong and capable armed forces, only slightly less cutting-edge than those of the US. Militarily, India has the largest armed forces, Thailand the best-equipped but Australia has the most skilled and competent manpower. On paper, all policy is decided by unanimous agreement of the three Alliance principles; in reality a small group of administrators make their decisions in private and the public displays of debate and negotiation are a show. India includes what, in our timeline became Pakistan. Australia includes New Zealand and a lot of the Pacific islands. By 2004, ASEAN is Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Burma, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos. Technically, ASEAN is group an Association of equals but in reality, all policy is determined by Thailand. The balance of power between the three primary Triple Alliance partners is constantly shifting and all three take delight in scoring points off each other. Nevertheless, they are all painfully aware that they have to stick together so nobody pushes the point-scoring to the point of publicly embarrassing one of the others or infringing on any real national interests. At the end of the 20th Century, The Triple Alliance has settled down into a reasonably stable entity. Education standards are extremely high and scientific research is greatly prized (especially other peoples).
The Triple Alliance is seen primarily as a trading partner. In some ways they are seen as America-Light, a version of American without the massive military power but also without the baggage of fear and mistrust. There is a tendency for them to be seen by enemies as an easy victim, a bad mistake that keeps getting repeated. Although the Triple Alliance and America are not allies, America approves of the Triple Alliance and will help them out and has done so on numerous occasions. In addition, Triple Alliance diplomats are viewed quite correctly - as being devious, deceptive and manipulative. If one goes into a revolving door behind you, he or she will come out in front. Most people count their fingers after shaking hands with Triple Alliance diplomats and the answer is often disturbingly far short of five. Triple Alliance enemies are usually left staring at defeat, often without a shot being fired, bemusedly asking themselves How did THAT happen?
The Triple Alliance is a mixture. India is socially very conservative but the drawn-out transition between British rule and local administration means that the country is much better run than could otherwise have been the case. India is the most socialist of the partners with much of its economy centrally run. It has a very powerful, oligarchic civil service that was built on British traditions. India has internal troubles including an ongoing and bloody insurgency in the largely North west and another one in the south of the country. India is the population center of the Alliance and has something like 2/3 the population of the alliance as a whole.
Thailand (and by implication ASEAN) is at the opposite extreme, a devoutly capitalist social and economic anarchy, largely hedonistic in culture where people can more or less do what they want as long as they don't interfere with others. Scandals are commonplace and nobody takes them very seriously. If the country had a motto it would be "Let's make a deal". However, buried underneath the glitz and parties is a country and military forces that works rather well. The government is by businessmen, of businessmen, for businessmen. Thailand is by far the richest part of the Triple Alliance and is the banking and economic center of the Alliance.
Australia is between India and Thailand in culture; it has some of Thailands hedonism without its free-flowing and laissez-faire society. Its most serious problem is a drastic shortage of people it has barely 1.5 percent of the Alliance population as a whole.