Begin typing your search above and press return to search.

Has the Act East Policy really helped Northeast

While the erstwhile Look East Policy of the Government of India was launched in 1991


Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 Feb 2023 8:01 AM GMT

While the erstwhile Look East Policy of the Government of India was launched in 1991, with the objective of developing political, economic, and security cooperation with countries in Southeast Asia in order to act as a counterweight to China in Southeast Asia after the Cold War, in 2014 it was converted to or succeeded by what is called the Act East Policy. The main objective of Act East Policy, on the other hand, is to have greater engagement in all spheres with countries in Southeast Asia as well as with far Eastern countries like Japan and South Korea, and countries in the Pacific region like Australia. It is also important to note that the major difference with the earlier policy is that the Act East Policy not only focused on developing political cooperation with other countries as listed above, but also on building a strong cultural and strategic relationship between India and her extended neighbourhood in the Asia Pacific region. In order to make this a reality, India has in the meantime already effected significant upgradation in its relationship to a strategic level with several Asia Pacific countries. Moreover, there is also continuous engagement with these countries at the regional, bilateral, and multilateral levels, with increased stress on people-to-people contacts, academic and cultural exchanges and involvement in infrastructure projects in India, and enhanced cooperation in maritime security-related issues. Unlike its predecessor, the Act East Policy has given more focus to the north-eastern region. These include promoting economic cooperation, cultural ties, and developing a strategic relationship with countries in the Indo-Pacific region with a proactive and pragmatic approach and thereby improving the economic development of the North Eastern region, which is a gateway to the South East Asia region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has time and again spoken about the four “Cs” of the Act East Policy, which according to him, will benefit the Northeast. These four Cs are: culture, commerce, connectivity, and capacity building. In addition to the four Cs, there is also the question of security, especially in the context of China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. Given this backdrop, as the Act East Policy enters its tenth year, it is important to make an assessment of its impact on the North Eastern region and the benefits that the region has accrued. While the Government should come out with a report, it is also for the academia – universities and institutions – to take stock of the first decade of Act East Policy.

Next Story