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PINR: India Rediscovering East Asia

Author: Chietigj Bajpaee
October 24, 2007



Chietigj Bajpaee offers a fairly comprehensive view of India's foreign policy objectives in East and South East Asia laying out the historical relations and moving forward to discuss political, economic and strategic interests.


The visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India in August; India's multi-nation naval exercise with the navies of Australia, Japan, Singapore, and the United States in September following the trilateral naval exercises with Japan and the United States in April; and the planned visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to China following China's and India's first joint counter-terrorism training in November were all events confirming that India's "Look East" policy is in full swing.

While India has a long-standing history of engagement with East and Southeast Asia, which has been couched in shared values, history and culture, it has now been embedded in pragmatism and shared interests, such as resource interdependence and economic integration, to provide a more solid foundation. Fueled by globalization, the liberalization of India's economy and the rise of transnational security concerns, India's "Look East" policy has also been tied to broader interests such as meeting India's energy security and development needs, the ongoing rapprochement with the United States, counter-terrorism, maritime security, combating Islamic extremism and stabilizing India's periphery.

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