The Act East policy

Background

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional intergovernmental organisations comprising ten Southeast Asian states which promotes Pan-Asianism and intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members and Asian states. These are the members of ASEAN: Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos, Brunei. Even though India is not a member of ASEAN, the India-ASEAN relationship during a 2012 meeting was elevated to a “strategic” partnership.

The Act East policy

The Look East policy

India's Look East policy is an effort 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.

The Act East policy

Analysis

10 ASEAN leaders are currently slated to attend the India-ASEAN summit taking place in Delhi. They include Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Singaporean premier Lee Hsien Loong. In an unprecedented move, all 10 leaders will be made the Chief Guests at India’s Republic Day parade.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “India welcomes Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Madame Tran Nguyen Thu for the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit. Warmly received by Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satyapal Singh.”

The Act East policy

Assessment

Our assessment is that India stands to benefit massive from an actionable ‘Act East’ policy. If the country is serious about becoming a formidable economic power in the power, then it has to develop its ties with its own neighbors. A strengthened relationship between India and ASEAN will also act as counter to the rise of China. In addition, economically, increased trade with ASEAN will benefit various industries in India. 

Sources: Synergia Foundation