Look East Policy

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  • India’s ‘Act East’ Policy Towards the Two Koreas: Issues and Challenges

    The Narendra Modi government after coming to power in May 2014 initiated the ‘Act East’ policy to further enhance New Delhi’s engagement with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. However, India’s engagement with the two Koreas has not seen any significant improvement under the Modi government. North Korea’s isolationist policies and its involvement with India’s neighbouring countries with regard to the proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies have proved detrimental for relations between New Delhi and Pyongyang.

    September 2018

    Look/Act East Policy, Roads and Market Infrastructure in North-East India

    The socio-politico-economic scene in India’s North-east region has guided certain aspects of the country’s domestic and international policy. The Act East Policy (AEP) of the government of India aims to build relations with the countries of South-East Asia, including trade relations, for which the north-east serves as the gateway. This article seeks to analyse the relevance of the policy: How is it grounded in the complex region of north-east India? In what way can it impact the region?

    September 2018

    Act East Policy and the CLMV Countries

    India's Act East Policy and CLMV countries

    While the economic-cum-strategic thrust towards CLMV countries has to be invigorated, a re-look at the Act East Policy is warranted to give it a more north-east development oriented under-pinning.

    March 29, 2016

    Shubhendra Mishra asked: How is the Look East Policy of India different from that of Russia, and how Chinese response to both can be explained?

    Rajorshi Roy and Sampa Kundu replies: There are several components to the query, each of which has been dealt with under the following sub-heads:

    India-South Korea Relations: A New Beginning

    South Korean President’s visit has initiated a common vision and a roadmap between the two countries based on political cooperation, open economic and trade environment and deeper cultural understanding. India’s growing emphasis on its ‘Look East Policy’ and South Korea’s ‘New Asia Diplomatic Initiative’ is pushing the relationship to one of ‘strategic partnership.’

    January 29, 2014

    India-Japan Relations: New Opportunities

    The Emperor of Japan and his wife are visiting India. 60-years ago they had laid the foundation stone of India International Centre. The visit will further strengthen India-Japan strategic partnership in the backdrop of major global and regional geopolitical shifts, particularly the rise of China; the US policy of ‘rebalancing’ and “pivot to Asia;” and maritime security challenges in the Indian and Pacific Oceans

    November 29, 2013

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

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

    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.

    2013

    India's approach to Asia Pacific

    India's approach to Asia Pacific

    This policy brief discusses some of the key trends in the Asia Pacific and sets out a long-term approach for India so as to maximise its security and developmental opportunities.

    September 19, 2013

    Shubhendra Mishra asked: What is the strategic significance of India’s Look East Policy? Is it to counter China’s ‘string of pearls’ network?

    Rup Narayan Das replies: India’s Look East Policy was unveiled in early 1990s before the concept of ‘string of pearls’ gained currency. In fact, India’s Look East Policy is a resurrection and rejuvenation of India’s traditional, cultural, historical and political ties with the countries in the South East Asian region. India’s deep cultural interaction is particularly evident in Bali in Indonesia and the Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia. There is also an Indonesian version of Ramayana. In modern times, India extended moral and political support to the liberation struggles in Vietnam and Indonesia. India played a key role in the Geneva Conference of 1954, which brought peace to the Indo-China region after the French withdrawal. Similarly, India played an important role in the Indonesian fight against the Dutch imperialism. Thus, India’s engagement in the region has its own imperatives.

    When India’s Look East Policy was unveiled in early 1990s, it also coincided with India’s economic reforms and liberalisation, and as such, the policy has much to do with India’s economic engagement with the region rather than to counter the ‘string of pearls’ strategy attributed to China. The ‘string of pearls’ strategy refers to China’s building of ports in Gwadar in Pakistan, Hambantota in Sri Lanka, Chittagong in Bangladesh and Sittwe in Myanmar. China has claimed that these ports have commercial purposes, but these ports have security and strategic implications for India. India has taken cognisance of such future possibilities and has deepened its comprehensive engagement with the countries of the region, particularly Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

    The import of India’s strategic engagement with the region can be understood from a statement by India’s National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, made during a discussion at Carnegie Endowment in September 2010, when he stated: “We have global interest, the Chinese have global interest, all of us do. And all the major powers, as I said, are not only interdependent on each other, but also are dealing with each other across a whole range of issues, none of which recognise some artificial geographical construct like South Asia or East Asia. These are interlocking circles of security and prosperity, whichever way you look at it.”

    Akash Pratap asked: What is the role of Myanmar in India’s “Look East Policy”?

    Reply: Refer to an earlier reply by Udai Bhanu Singh on a similar query, at http://idsa.in/askanexpert/importanceofMyanmarforIndia.

    Also, refer to following publications by the IDSA faculty:

    Myanmar’s Critical Role in Bolstering India’s Look East Policy
    Arvind Gupta, February 2, 2012, at
    http://idsa.in/idsacomments/MyanmarsCriticalRoleinBolsteringIndiasLookEastPolicy_agupta_020212

    An Assessment of Manmohan Singh’s Visit to Myanmar
    Udai Bhanu Singh, IDSA Issue Brief, June 1, 2012, at
    http://idsa.in/issuebrief/AnAssessmentofManmohanSinghsVisittoMyanmar

    The Significance of Connectivity in India-Myanmar Relations
    Shristi Pukhrem, July 6, 2012, at
    http://idsa.in/idsacomments/TheSignificanceofConnectivityinIndiaMyanmarRelations_spukhrem_230512

    Southeast Asia-India Defence Relations in the Changing Regional Security Landscape
    Bilveer Singh, IDSA Monograph Series No. 4, 2011, at http://idsa.in/monograph/SoutheastAsiaIndiaDefenceRelationsintheChangingRegionalSecurityLandscape

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