Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Look East Policy

India’s Look East Policy

          Look East Policy (LEP) was started by our then PM Narsimha Rao. The aim and effort was to have an extensive economic and strategic relation with the South Asian countries so that India does not lack behind its strong competitor China.

           Along economic liberalization and moving away from cold war era, China and India have been strategic competitors for a long time in SE Asia ever since the Chinese invasion of Tibet and Sino Indian War of 1962. China has always had close commercial and military relations with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Not only that, China became the closed partner and supporter of the military Junta of Burma ( also Union of Myanmar ) which had been ostracized from the international community following the violent suppression of pro-democratic activities in 1988. China's close relation with Pakistan and border disputes in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have threatened the improvement in bilateral relations.

         India’s strategy had always focused on forging economic and commercial ties, increasing strategic and security cooperation and the emphasis of historic cultural and ideological links.

          India has established strong commercial, cultural and military ties with Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia along with Burma.

          In 2006, China and India opened the Nathula pass for cross border trade for the first time since the 1962 war. Trade between China and India increases by 50% every year. India’s support for the exiled Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama also causes some friction in bilateral ties. Mekong – Ganga co-operation, BIMSTEC, forged extensive cooperation on environmental, economic development security and strategy affairs, permitting the growth of influence beyond South Asia and without the tense and obstructive presence of Pakistan and China that has stalled its effort in SAARC (South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation).

          In the light of political scenario stated, LEP was launched with a view to establish closer economic integration with South East Asian states. India did not have any concrete strategy before LEP, to create an economic hub in its NE region, or explore the trade and commerce potential with its ASEAN neighbours. It was a significant shift in India’s policy prioritization. The LEP holds the potential to make NER, the commercial corridor of India, linking the ASEAN Nations enabling its people to harness economic wellbeing through Trade and Tourism. India’s LEP was to look to NE first.

        India has an objective of becoming a superpower by 2020. We cannot neglect the business and potential which has to be taken up with South Asia nations. Their importance is immense. Besides, the policy will enhance the economic status or progress of NE states. India  with its growing economy can comfortably do business with all emerging nations of SE Asia which are rather smaller in size like (Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore ). If India neglects our Eastern neighbours in terms of relations, the overall influence of China will surely be overbearing and too dominant in Economic affairs of SE Asia

***************          From MSK Class Speech/2010/B School)                 ********************

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