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China’s Perception of ‘Look East Policy’ and Its Implications

Baladas Ghoshal is a former Professor of Southeast Asia and South-West Pacific Studies and Chairman of the Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
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  • IDSA Monograph Series No. 26

    The monograph explores China's perception of India's Look East Policy (LEP) and how that affects India's strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. Beijing does not favour a strong Indian presence and influence in Southeast Asia. China is both a determinant and a constraint in India's Look East Policy. China is undoubtedly an important factor in shaping the policy, but it also acted as a constraint, for India's hesitation and caution in taking an active role in Asia-Pacific security issues until very recently, was a function of its desire to avoid ruffling the feathers of Beijing. .LEP is in no way directed toward 'containment' of China, as Beijing claims, but an attempt to promote India's political, economic and strategic interests in Southeast and East Asia, and also an insurance against any attempt by China to harm India's vital interests in the region. It argues that India must augment and consolidate its position in the region by its 'niche' soft power, i.e. education, culture and democracy and play an effective and enduring role in the region by leveraging such comparative advantages to build interdependence and mutual benefits that can contribute to peace and stability in Southeast and East Asia.

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