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India to Continue its “Look East” Policy

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The respective economic success­es of India and South Korea have emerged from various strategies by concentrating on how to im­prove economic status internal­ly while connecting with foreign countries. More specifically, India, similarly with oth­er countries, has its own distinct economic strategies, one of which is the Look East Policy, or LEP. In the upcoming years, it’s believed that India will continue in aiding its economy with this policy.

Look East Policy a background

The underpinnings of this policy are about changing perspectives when it comes to viewing the world. As influenced by Western colonists, the mindset of India of the past focused more on Western countries in terms of bridging business connections. Through the Look East policy, however, the country’s view on partnerships was divert­ed to concentrating on countries in the east­ern part of the world. Prime Minister P.V. Narasiha Rao was the initial active person behind this policy. He believed that reach­ing the top of the global business industry is attainable by tying up with countries from Southeast Asia, which in this case is the eastern region the policy targets.

Not going for the east earlier

One question that commonly emerges is why didn’t India pursue such economic direction at an earlier point in time? As mentioned earlier, Western colonialism on the country played a crucial role in terms of India’s economic outlook. At that point in history, the country had a more Western mindset and relied on enhancing relation­ships with countries in the Western region of the world.

In addition, the perspective of the South­east Asian market and its economic stability was not that appealing, and this continued until around the 1970s. Such degraded mar­ket potential appeal was caused by numer­ous factors, such as when countries closed themselves off to trade or other business connections.

Furthermore, a great political divide be­tween regions of this area ultimately pre­vented India from connecting with South­east Asian countries. The Cold War was one such influence, leading to a split between India and Southeast Asia region, and thus causing many countries to have negative impressions of each other.

Nevertheless, increased needs for estab­lishing strong economic foundation in each country resulted in the opening of doors for the purpose of greater business connection, which of course included India.

Seeing LEP at work

Another question that people ask today is what results have been gained from fol­lowing this policy. Has it proven itself as an effective strategy for India to continue to pursue? Experts indicate that it has sig­nificantly improved the country’s competi­tiveness, as it has been able to attract more countries to do business in connection through ASEAN.

India had its time to shine in the global economic market in the late 1990s, specifi­cally with regard to its nuclear power. As an economic milestone, India’s nuclear capa­bilities attracted a lot of ASEAN members as well as the United States for doing business.

Nowadays ASEAN is thriving towards building a better relationship with India, with the goal of equilibrating China’s grow­ing power in the global market. The orga­nization (as well as other countries across the globe) understood the potential of India when it comes to international business relations and growth. While seeking to at­tain this balance of power, Southeast Asian business industry will continue to grow, fur­thering the success of its different member countries, which of course will result in fur­ther benefit for India as a trade and invest­ment partner.

Chinas domination

Many people ask about why China be­came such a significant player among the Southeast Asian countries as well as ASEAN. Further, why did India not compete with China in the past when neighboring coun­tries’ markets started to embrace the con­cept of opening more to the world?

China was a considerable powerhouse country even before India became known for its own economic development. Dur­ing the time of India’s absence from the prominent grouping of countries, China had already spread its influence, resulting in ASEAN establishing connection with it.

Now that ASEAN has ‘acquired’ India as one of its active countries in the global mar­ket, this nation has unceasingly established its ASEAN connection up to today by engag­ing in various programs that aim to help all ASEAN member countries attain stability.

Thriving towards LEP

What many individuals don’t notice is that India has been continuously thriving based on its ‘Looking East’ goal. Here are some of the notable projects and tie-ups with various Southeast Asian countries in which India has recently participated:

ASEAN reported that mining in South­east Asian countries continued to expand together with efforts from both India and China. Promoting this industry has resulted in abundant supplies of resource materi­als that help build various infrastructures as well as promote energy production ob­tained form coal.

Aside from these materials, gold is also another mineral obtained from mining in this world region. Nevertheless, ASEAN re­ported that its own localized supply doesn’t suffice with respect to the increasing de­mands from Southeast Asian countries, Chi­na and India. The organization thus intends to strive to increase the supply as much as possible to meet these demands.

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