India՚s Look East Policy, Trade and Investment, Development Cooperation, Science and Technology

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India՚s Look East Policy


Launched in 1991 Why?

  • In the wake of the collapse of Soviet Union India wanted to improve its relations with all major powers of the world
  • India focused on South-East Asia as it was a growing market
  • India wanted to go beyond the confines of SAARC to reap the benefits out of the economic potential of the South East and East Asian region
  • To balance China՚s influence in the region
  • Initially directed towards the SE Asian nations. But India has now included China, Japan, S. Korea and other Asia Pacific nations in the gamut of this policy
  • The policy which began largely as an economic initiative has gained political, military and regional dimensions

Principles of LEP

Outcomes of the Policy

Strengthening Cooperation

  • India-ASEAN relations have strengthened
  • India became ASEAN՚s full dialogue partner in 1996
  • Became member of ASEAN Regional Forum in 1996
  • Since 2002, India has annual summits with ASEAN along with China, Japan and Republic of Korea
  • BIMSTEC and Mekong Ganga Cooperation floated by India in 1997 and 2001 respectively
  • India is also a founding member of East Asia Summit

Trade and Investment

  • ASEAN is presently India՚s fourth largest trading partner after EU, USA and China
  • FDI data
  • Indo-ASEAN bilateral trade data
  • India-ASEAN FTA signed in 2009 at Bangkok came into force from January 2010.
  • However, FTA did not include software and information technology
  • FTA is a part of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Cooperation signed with ASEAN in 2003

Development Cooperation

  • India provides assistance to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Philippines in the form of grants, soft loans, credit lines and training sources for their socio-economic development.
  • As a dialogue partner of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) , India has been engaging with these countries to provide assistance for capacity building
  • MILAN naval symposium

Science and Technology

  • India has set up a Tsunami Warning Centre to extend information exchange and data sharing arrangements with BIMSTEC countries
  • Satellite sharing

Bilateral Ties

  • FTA with Thailand and CECA with Indonesia and Singapore
  • Enhanced defence ties with Malaysia
  • Strong economic ties with China
  • Strategic partnership agreements, economic interaction and defence cooperation with Japan
  • CEPA with South Korea

Infrastructure Cooperation

  • Asian Highway, Asian Railway link being discussed
  • Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport facility is aimed at establishing connectivity between Indian ports and Sittwe port in Myanmar through riverine transport and road links in Mizoram
  • Ganga-Mekong initiative
  • Completion of the 160 KM India-Myanmar Friendship road from Tamu to Kalemyo to Kaletwa built by BRO


Nalanda University

New Cooperation Area Could Be

  • India՚s LEP can be furthered through areas like Education, human resources development, democracy, human rights and culture
  • Furthering of trade ties
  • Simplification of visa regime
  • India-ASEAN health care initiative
  • India-ASEAN Green Fund
  • An Open Skies Policy
  • Cooperation in fighting terrorism and transnational crime
  • Tourism has a lot of potential

Look East and North-East

  • NE states are land-locked and joined to India by a narrow corridor
  • This has been a serious impediment for the development of the region
  • North Eastern Region Vision 2020 makes a serious effort for socio-economic development of this region to match with the objectives of the Look East Policy
  • Several measures have been undertaken under the aegis of LEP to uplift NE India
    • Asian Highway
    • Asian Railway Link
    • Natural Gas Pipeline
    • Kaladan Multi-modal transit transport facility (to Sittwe port through riverine transport and road links in Mizoram)
    • Ganga Mekong initiative