For the last 2 decades, international experts have been praising Dr. Manmohan Singh and his fellow officials constantly for liberalizing our economy and also our policy of "LOOK EAST". But I ask: have we really started looking East? Doubtful. For decades, due to Socialist ruling, our economy was weak and inefficient meaning that we had to suck up to international monetary bodies and developed countries. However, despite the present acceleration and growth of our economy and clout, we still lack progress in eastern sector. Southeast Asia has been a strategic gate to South China Sea and the region's rich food and mineral resources and immense trade potential. For example, only recently did India consider pursuing a strategic relationship with Vietnam when Gen. V.K Singh visited the Vietnamese capital. Despite sharing a similar threat, it took us 40 years to realize the potential of military cooperation with this southeast country that despite its small size has show some serious spine when dealing with invaders. Vietnam is also a place where electronic industry is rapidly emerging as a place of outsourcing. Also it gives us the same access to South China Sea (if needed) the way Bangladesh and Sri Lanka offer Chinese their ports. Although I don't personally like the military junta of Burma for their massacre of Buddhist monks, we need them eventually more than the liberalist Aung San Suu Kyii that is nothing but a US puppet in the region parallel to Koizumi government of Japan. We should therefore not be concerned of whether the country is ruled by a general or a PM and must strive harder to increase our cooperation with them. Remember that they are closer to our Andaman and Nicobar Islands than mainland India and already on their side of the Coco Islands, Chinese are holding a listening post. Not just Vietnam and Burma but also the most developed state of Thailand in Southeast and other countries like Laos and Cambodia who not only share culture and religion with us, but also hold tremendous potential for trade. The aim of my started this thread is to know all of your views regarding the following: China has successfully turned Nepalese Communists against India and kept Bangladesh on a tight rope walk while making Pakistan into its red carpet and Sri Lanka its small brother---ALL our immediate neighbours, except for the Kingdom of Bhutan which has an unwaivering loyalty of friendship to us. Why don't we make Southeast our yard of friends where all Burma (really tough task), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam become close allies of us? To develop trust, we will have to open up competitive sales of arms as compared to China. While Chinese offer J-7 and FC-1 fighters to Burma (remember that the J-10 offer is just a rumour as only Pakistan has been given that privilege), Laos and Cambodia, we must offer Tejas Mk.1 and Mk.2 which is our latest fighter considering the secondaries and tertiaries that China has offered them. Thailand is a Swedish customer and Vietnam is Russian.. but we can still manage to attract them. Also now that we're capable of manufacturing frigates and destroyers of our own along with transport- surveillance aircraft like SARAS, and MBTs like Arjun, we should definitely consider offering these countries weapons. Who gives a jack as to what Amnesty International has to say? Like they'd compensate for the relation that we develop with these countries! We should take our own stand rather than listening to past century powers. Asia is the new power in the block. Comments are welcome.