India's Look East Policy and Developments

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by sorcerer, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    The intention of starting this discussion is to discuss India's LOOK EAST policy, its developments and how it is shaping our national policies.


    India's Look East policy represents its efforts to cultivate extensive economic and strategic relations with the nations of Southeast Asia in order to bolster its standing as a regional power and a counterweight to the strategic influence of the People's Republic of China. Initiated in 1991, it marked a strategic shift in India’s perspective of the world. It was developed and enacted during the government of Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and rigorously pursued by the successive administrations of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.

    Background
    Ever since the Sino-Indian War of 1962, China and India have been strategic competitors in South and East Asia. China has cultivated close commercial and military relations with India's neighbour and rival Pakistan and competed for influence in Nepal and Bangladesh. After Deng Xiaoping's rise to power in China in 1979, China began reducing threats of expansionism and in turn cultivated extensive trade and economic relations with Asian nations. China became the closest partner and supporter of the military junta of Burma, which had been ostracised from the international community following the violent suppression of pro-democracy activities in 1988.In contrast, during the Cold War India had a relatively heistant relationship with many states in Southeast Asia and diplomatic relatons with Southeast Asia were given a relatively low priority.

    India's "Look East" policy was developed and enacted during the governments of prime ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao (1991–1996) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998–2004). Along with economic liberalisation and moving away from Cold War-era policies and activities, India's strategy has focused on forging close economic and commercial ties, increasing strategic and security cooperation and the emphasis of historic cultural and ideological links.India sought to create and expand regional markets for trade, investments and industrial development.It also began strategic and military cooperation with nations concerned by the expansion of China's economic and strategic influence.

    Source:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look_East_policy
     
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  3. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    India’s Enhanced Look East policy takes wing


    Look East. And follow the Asian Dream. Intertwining economies, interlinking destinies and creating an arc of prosperity across the region, India’s Look East Policy is cruising along on a higher trajectory. After putting India’s South Asia diplomacy in high gear, the new government in Delhi is now looking East as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj heads to Myanmar, the chair of the 10—nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the 18-nation East Asia Summit (EAS). In Myanmar, the minister will participate in India-ASEAN ministerial meeting, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) foreign ministers’ meeting and East Asia summit ministerial meeting. Put together, these separate but interlinked meetings reflect various facets of India’s Look East policy and will set the tone and tenor for the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar in November for the India-ASEAN summit and EAS.

    Enhanced Look East policy
    The meetings will put the spotlight on India’s blossoming ties with ASEAN and the larger East Asia region, home to the world’s rapidly growing economies. Launched in the early 1990s that coincided with path-breaking economic reforms, India’s Look East policy has now acquired substantive economic and strategic weight. Nearly two years ago, in December 2012, the leaders of India and the ASEAN gathered in the Indian capital to celebrate two defining milestones in their relationship: the 20th anniversary of India’s sectoral dialogue partnership with the ASEAN and the 10th anniversary of their annual summits. India-ASEAN ties have now entered a new high-speed phase, which experts are rightly calling "Enhanced Look East” policy or "Look East Policy: 3.0.”

    Economic synergy
    Economically, the India-ASEAN relations have acquired an unstoppable momentum. The India-ASEAN trade has crossed $80 billion. The signing of a Free Trade Area in goods in 2009 was a game-changer of sorts, and now the two sides are looking to sign the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement on Services and Investment. With the institutional framework in place, the two sides are now confident of scaling the India-ASEAN trade to $100 billion by 2015 and double that volume by 2022.

    Strategic Depth
    In recent years, India has taken a slew of steps to galvanise relations with this economically vibrant region, which includes the setting up of an Indian mission to the ASEAN in Jakarta, and the decision to set up an ASEAN-India Centre for Trade and Investment. While trade and investment remain the core of the India-ASEAN engagement, the two sides have opened new vistas of cooperation on cross-cutting security issues and imbued bilateral ties with the much-needed strategic depth. The festering tensions in the South China Sea have lent an added urgency to the strategic dimension of the relationship.

    With the economies of India and the ASEAN growing and their energy needs going up, another area that is bringing the two sides closer is the pursuit of maritime security and enhanced cooperation in combating terrorism and piracy. India has consistently pitched for freedom of navigation, which has received across-the-board endorsement from ASEAN nations and East Asia. On these trans-national issues, India is not only active on the ASEAN track, but has also been a proactive participant in shaping discourse on these issues in the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia summit process. India sees the 27-member ARF as a key regional platform for forging consensus on security issues and evolving an inclusive regional architecture. This year, the ARF is expected to discuss a cluster of regional and global issues, including the rise of radical extremism in Iraq, the Syria crisis, Afghanistan and the North Korea nuclear tests. While the ARF and East Asia summit have their own agenda and raison d’etre, New Delhi sees the ASEAN-India strategic partnership as "an anchor for peace, stability and prosperity in the region as also globally.” India has also underlined the centrality of ASEAN to regional fora such as the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum.

    Taking a long-range view, India has robustly backed the creation of an ASEAN Community by 2015, the precursor to an unfolding Asian century, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and the Narrowing of the Development Gap. In pursuit of these goals, India has been prompt with buttressing capacity building through the Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs) and Centers for English Language and Training (CELTs) in CLMV (Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Vietnam) countries. India has also offered more than 1100 scholarships to ASEAN countries under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.

    Only Connect
    [​IMG]
    Connectivity is the reigning mantra as India deepens its diplomatic, economic and cultural ties with its extended neighbourhood. India has vigorously backed fast-tracking a host of connectivity projects that will quicken regional integration and has supported the Master Plan on ASEAN Plus Connectivity (MPAC). New Delhi is also looking forward to conclusion of negotiations for an ASEAN-India Transit Transport Agreement by 2015. The Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo sector of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is progressing well – the completion of this project in 2016 is poised to create a new dynamic in India’s multi-faceted relations with the region. India has backed the extension of this highway to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, its further linkage with ports in ASEAN countries and its integration with models like Special Economic Zones. Enhancing connectivity to Southeast Asia is critical to unlocking the economic energies and enterprise of India’s north-eastern states, which border the region.


    Cultural affinity
    [​IMG]
    Connectivity is not just geographical and physical; what animates India’s engagement with the region are cultural and spiritual connections, grounded in history and a shared civilizational space. It is from India Buddhism flowed to Southeast Asian countries, as Buddhists from all over the region flock for pilgrimage to revered shrines Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, the sacred place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. The revival of Nalanda University, the ancient seat of learning, has now become a showpiece project of ASEAN and epitomises age-old cultural and spiritual linkages between India and Southeast Asia region. India has signed pacts with several ASEAN and East Asian countries to make Nalanda University an international knowledge hub.



    The Asian Dream
    Underpinning this cultural alchemy and an intricate web of rail, road and maritime links is a soaring vision of an Asian century that is becoming increasingly real with the ongoing shift of economic gravity from the north to the south and the west to the east. There is a lot at stake in the flowering of the Asian dream; in the end, it’s about surging hopes and aspirations of around 1.8 billion people of India and the ASEAN region who are itching to carve their place in a changing world. The world is in a flux, and many equations may change, but the India-ASEAN ties will not only endure, but looks set to cross new milestones in days to come.

    (Manish Chand is Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network, latest global news headlines, india and world current news, international online news website, latest news articles on business, politics, diplomacy, art, culture, travel and etc. INDIAWRITES – Connecting India and The World News, a portal and e-journal focused on international affairs and the India Story)

    Source:India’s Enhanced Look East policy takes wing
     
  4. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    India’s Enhanced Look East policy takes wing


    Look East. And follow the Asian Dream. Intertwining economies, interlinking destinies and creating an arc of prosperity across the region, India’s Look East Policy is cruising along on a higher trajectory. After putting India’s South Asia diplomacy in high gear, the new government in Delhi is now looking East as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj heads to Myanmar, the chair of the 10—nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the 18-nation East Asia Summit (EAS). In Myanmar, the minister will participate in India-ASEAN ministerial meeting, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) foreign ministers’ meeting and East Asia summit ministerial meeting. Put together, these separate but interlinked meetings reflect various facets of India’s Look East policy and will set the tone and tenor for the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar in November for the India-ASEAN summit and EAS.

    Enhanced Look East policy
    The meetings will put the spotlight on India’s blossoming ties with ASEAN and the larger East Asia region, home to the world’s rapidly growing economies. Launched in the early 1990s that coincided with path-breaking economic reforms, India’s Look East policy has now acquired substantive economic and strategic weight. Nearly two years ago, in December 2012, the leaders of India and the ASEAN gathered in the Indian capital to celebrate two defining milestones in their relationship: the 20th anniversary of India’s sectoral dialogue partnership with the ASEAN and the 10th anniversary of their annual summits. India-ASEAN ties have now entered a new high-speed phase, which experts are rightly calling "Enhanced Look East” policy or "Look East Policy: 3.0.”

    Economic synergy
    Economically, the India-ASEAN relations have acquired an unstoppable momentum. The India-ASEAN trade has crossed $80 billion. The signing of a Free Trade Area in goods in 2009 was a game-changer of sorts, and now the two sides are looking to sign the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement on Services and Investment. With the institutional framework in place, the two sides are now confident of scaling the India-ASEAN trade to $100 billion by 2015 and double that volume by 2022.

    Strategic Depth
    In recent years, India has taken a slew of steps to galvanise relations with this economically vibrant region, which includes the setting up of an Indian mission to the ASEAN in Jakarta, and the decision to set up an ASEAN-India Centre for Trade and Investment. While trade and investment remain the core of the India-ASEAN engagement, the two sides have opened new vistas of cooperation on cross-cutting security issues and imbued bilateral ties with the much-needed strategic depth. The festering tensions in the South China Sea have lent an added urgency to the strategic dimension of the relationship.

    With the economies of India and the ASEAN growing and their energy needs going up, another area that is bringing the two sides closer is the pursuit of maritime security and enhanced cooperation in combating terrorism and piracy. India has consistently pitched for freedom of navigation, which has received across-the-board endorsement from ASEAN nations and East Asia. On these trans-national issues, India is not only active on the ASEAN track, but has also been a proactive participant in shaping discourse on these issues in the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia summit process. India sees the 27-member ARF as a key regional platform for forging consensus on security issues and evolving an inclusive regional architecture. This year, the ARF is expected to discuss a cluster of regional and global issues, including the rise of radical extremism in Iraq, the Syria crisis, Afghanistan and the North Korea nuclear tests. While the ARF and East Asia summit have their own agenda and raison d’etre, New Delhi sees the ASEAN-India strategic partnership as "an anchor for peace, stability and prosperity in the region as also globally.” India has also underlined the centrality of ASEAN to regional fora such as the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum.

    Taking a long-range view, India has robustly backed the creation of an ASEAN Community by 2015, the precursor to an unfolding Asian century, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and the Narrowing of the Development Gap. In pursuit of these goals, India has been prompt with buttressing capacity building through the Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs) and Centers for English Language and Training (CELTs) in CLMV (Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Vietnam) countries. India has also offered more than 1100 scholarships to ASEAN countries under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.

    Only Connect
    [​IMG]
    Connectivity is the reigning mantra as India deepens its diplomatic, economic and cultural ties with its extended neighbourhood. India has vigorously backed fast-tracking a host of connectivity projects that will quicken regional integration and has supported the Master Plan on ASEAN Plus Connectivity (MPAC). New Delhi is also looking forward to conclusion of negotiations for an ASEAN-India Transit Transport Agreement by 2015. The Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo sector of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is progressing well – the completion of this project in 2016 is poised to create a new dynamic in India’s multi-faceted relations with the region. India has backed the extension of this highway to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, its further linkage with ports in ASEAN countries and its integration with models like Special Economic Zones. Enhancing connectivity to Southeast Asia is critical to unlocking the economic energies and enterprise of India’s north-eastern states, which border the region.


    Cultural affinity
    [​IMG]
    Connectivity is not just geographical and physical; what animates India’s engagement with the region are cultural and spiritual connections, grounded in history and a shared civilizational space. It is from India Buddhism flowed to Southeast Asian countries, as Buddhists from all over the region flock for pilgrimage to revered shrines Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, the sacred place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. The revival of Nalanda University, the ancient seat of learning, has now become a showpiece project of ASEAN and epitomises age-old cultural and spiritual linkages between India and Southeast Asia region. India has signed pacts with several ASEAN and East Asian countries to make Nalanda University an international knowledge hub.



    The Asian Dream
    Underpinning this cultural alchemy and an intricate web of rail, road and maritime links is a soaring vision of an Asian century that is becoming increasingly real with the ongoing shift of economic gravity from the north to the south and the west to the east. There is a lot at stake in the flowering of the Asian dream; in the end, it’s about surging hopes and aspirations of around 1.8 billion people of India and the ASEAN region who are itching to carve their place in a changing world. The world is in a flux, and many equations may change, but the India-ASEAN ties will not only endure, but looks set to cross new milestones in days to come.

    (Manish Chand is Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network, latest global news headlines, india and world current news, international online news website, latest news articles on business, politics, diplomacy, art, culture, travel and etc. INDIAWRITES – Connecting India and The World News, a portal and e-journal focused on international affairs and the India Story)

    Source:India’s Enhanced Look East policy takes wing
     
  5. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    ‘Look East’ policy is now ‘Act East’



    The NDA government has decided to change the name of a key foreign policy approach that remained in currency since the days of PV Narasimha Rao government in 1990s. The Look East policy will now be known as the Act East policy.


    The joint statement issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Barack Obama bears testimony to this change.

    “Noting India’s ‘Act East’ policy and the United States’ rebalance to Asia, the leaders committed to work more closely with other Asia Pacific countries through consultations, dialogues, and joint exercises,” the joint statement said. The Act East policy is India’s effort aimed at bolstering extensive strategic and economic ties with Southeast Asian countries that would possibly act a counterweight to the influence of China in the region.

    Officials have said that there is no political reason behind the name change.

    “The Act East policy is like Look East policy 2.0. The name change has no political connotation to it,” said an official.

    Regarding the policy, PM Modi is keen on expediting the economic agenda with Southeast Asian countries tapping them for greater investment — especially in the infrastructure sector — also driven by connecting trade points in the region, said officials.

    They added that this will bring greater economic benefit to the northeastern region in India.

    India’s business with ASEAN countries is only 30% of total ASEAN trade, and government is keen on increasing it.

    As part of the plan, the government is looking into providing the visa-on-arrival facility to more countries in the ASEAN region.

    “For example, linking south Asia with Southeast Asia through Myanmar will be a top priority. Countries in the region will be partners in the economic plans of the PM,” said an official. Singapore, India’s closest partner in its ‘Act Asia’ is helping India in two of the key initiatives of Modi — smart cities and skill development.

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/india...nt-with-asian-countries/article1-1271765.aspx
     
  6. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    India’s ‘Look East’ Policy Begins with Myanmar
    Modi’s visit highlights Myanmar as a first step in countering China.

    On November 11, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins a 10-day tour of Myanmar, Australia and Fiji – his longest overseas trip to date.
    All eyes will be on the East Asia Summit in Myanmar, as well as the G-20 Summit in Australia. Modi will also be the first Indian prime minister to visit Australia in 28 years. But first stop in Myanmar should not be overlooked; it is important for a number of reasons.

    First of all, Myanmar is India’s link to Southeast Asia, and thus a crucial component of its “Look East Policy,” now also called “Act East” by the current government.
    Over the past two decades successive governments have made assiduous efforts to reach out to Myanmar, realizing its strategic importance, especially in the context of India’s regional ties. While the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited the country in 1987, the real opening up toward Myanmar took place in the early 1990s during the government of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. As the architect of India’s Look East Policy, Rao realized that India needed to adopt a more pragmatic approach towards Myanmar.

    Economic relations between both countries were thus initiated, and a trade agreement signed in 1994 gave a strong initial stimulus to the relationship. Modi’s immediate predecessor, Manmohan Singh, visited Myanmar in 2012 accompanied by a 25-member business delegation. It was a reasonably successful trip, with the signing of 12 MOUs, including a $500 million line of credit, a development deal to establish the Indo-Myanmar border huts, an increase in bilateral airline services, and assistance for setting up centers for research in information technology and agriculture.

    Still, there is ample scope to develop India’s economic and other ties with Myanmar. A number of projects have been commenced, the most important of which – the Kaladan Multi-Modal transport project, which will connect Calcutta with Sittwe port, and the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway – are still ongoing. I
    nfrastructure at border posts like Moreh-Tamu, which is in dire need of repair, and the bus service between Imphal and Mandalay, which was supposed to begin in October, are still on the drawing board.

    Second, while India has been helping Myanmar build institutional capacity and develop areas such as information technology, this often gets overshadowed by assistance from other countries – especially China, with cumulative foreign direct investment in Myanmar reaching $14 billion in June 2014. Some of the major projects initiated by China include the Myitsone dam, Tarpein hydroelectric project, Kyaukphyu-Kunming oil pipeline, Letpadaungtaung copper mine, and the Tagaung nickel mine. Chinese trade with Myanmar was $6 billion in 2013, while Indian-Myanmar trade was touching $2 billion. Indian investment was more than $270 million as of August 2013, yet it is nowhere near China’s investment.

    The assistance granted by China tends to be purely commercial in nature, and the terms and conditions of its loans are much more stringent, while Indian assistance is more liberal. Of late there has also been some resentment against the Chinese, evidenced by Myanmar’s refusal to accept a loan of $2 billion for a highway connecting Kyaukphyu with Ruili following local protests. Connectivity with Kyaukhphu is important for China, since it will help create an alternative to the Straits of Malacca for oil transportation. The Chinese are looking to transport oil from Africa and the Persian Gulf through Myanmar to China rather than using the circuitous sea route through the Malacca Straits.

    Apart from its strategic and economic importance, Myanmar is also important to India because it is a member of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperative (BIMSTEC), along with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal. Interestingly, both Myanmar and India are also part of the BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation).

    Will Modi take on China directly?

    As in Bhutan and Nepal, the Indian prime minister is expected to focus on strengthening connectivity while also providing assistance in institutional development. He could send a clear message that while India may not match China’s economic prowess, it certainly has a major advantage in the context of strong institutions. Apart from conventional assistance and developing government and educational institutions, Modi should focus on Indian assistance for monuments that reflect the shared history of both countries. As he did in Nepal, there should also be a focus on integrating India’s northeastern states with Myanmar like China has done with Yunnan.

    Third, since taking office Modi has sent clear signals that he wants to reach out to Indians settled overseas. Unfortunately, Indians in Myanmar have been neglected by the government. The total number of PIOs (persons of Indian origin) according to the 1983 census was in excess of 400,000, many of whom are stateless. There are PIOs of numerous ethnicities from states including Bihar, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. It is time for the Indian government to assist those who are stateless, with the relevant state governments also helping to re-establish ties.

    Finally, it would also make sense to find synergies with other countries that have a strong presence in Myanmar, including Japan and Thailand. Japan, in particular, has increased its presence in Myanmar recently, and Japan’s approach is similar to India’s in terms of the conditions for assistance it imposes. With India-Japan ties growing and the latter planning to invest in India’s northeast, Tokyo could provide connectivity assistance to India between its northeast and Myanmar. Synergies can also be found with countries like Singapore that have a growing presence in Myanmar. This will help ensure that no single country has a dominant influence.

    Modi has equipped himself well in the sphere of diplomacy, and his emphasis on connectivity and the building of shared values with neighbors has resonance in Myanmar’s case. It remains to be seen whether he can sell India’s strengths effectively and infuse the economic and strategic bilateral relationship with a much-needed dose of dynamism.

    Tridivesh Singh Maini is a Senior Research Associate with The Jindal School of International Affairs, Sonepat.

    India’s ‘Look East’ Policy Begins with Myanmar | The Diplomat
     

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