For over two decades India’s “Look East” policy has shaped the way the country deals with its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region, leading to substantially deeper economic, institutional, and security relations. Driven in part by India’s strategy of counter-balancing China’s influence, the policy was initially aimed at diplomatic and economic engagement with Southeast Asia. But over the years, the policy has evolved to include broader security and defense ties across the whole Asia-Pacific, with India signalling its willingness to play a greater strategic role in the region. Given the swiftly changing security dynamics in the region, Indian PM Narendra Modi – who swept to power in a landslide victory in the April-May election – rechristened the approach as the “Act East” policy, stating the importance of also seeking deeper ties with partners such as Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and Australia. Danielle Rajendram, India expert at the Sydney-based Lowy Institute, explains in a DW interview what lies at the core of the “Act East” policy and why she believes the Modi-led government will pursue a greater and more ambitious role in the Asia-Pacific in line with the country’s growing economic and strategic interests. Rajendram: ‘PM Modi’s approach to the Asia-Pacific builds… Read full this story
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