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'India Can Expand Cooperative Policy Framework In South & South-East Asia'

OIA of NEHU has organized a distinguished lecture series of the MEA on India's Foreign Policy and its present challenges

India Can Expand Cooperative Policy Framework In South & South-East Asia

Sentinel Digital Desk

SHILLONG: The Office of International Affairs (OIA) of NEHU has organized a distinguished lecture series of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on India's Foreign Policy and its present challenges on September 22. Renowned ambassador and veteran foreign policy expert Skand Ranjan Tayal delivered the lecture.

Tayal spoke on "India's options in the changing dynamic of Act East policy". He argued that India is able to expand its cooperative policy framework in the whole of South and south East Asia. Explaining India's cooperative paradigm of policy making that evolved after the cold war, Tayal cited potential of India's participation in ASEAN and BIMSTEC. While India is able to improve on volume of trade and is able to get the ASEAN nations contribute to Atmanirbhar Bharat, mutual cooperation is still to reach a dynamic stage. He further spoke of the increasing size of ASEAN's economy to the world GDP and BIMSTEC's role in promoting technological and economic cooperation needs to be further augmented. He surmised that in spite of India's strong efforts at increasing volume of trade through lowering of tariff for imports, Free Trade Agreements with many countries within the formation, trade cannot achieve complex goals of regional security and stability.

Tayal called upon the academic fraternity to understand importance of geostrategic positioning of India that enables and secures India's national interests. This, he contended, is the pivot of decision making keeping in mind India's security concerns with South Asian neighbours and then promoting mutual economic and technological interests.

India's overall geopolitical positioning in many conflicts have been based on strategic ways of finding peace and the n promoting national interests through cooperation. He contended that India has to play a cautious mediating and neutralizing role in conflicts like Ukraine, or nearer home in not allowing a formation like Asia Pacific Economic Concern (APEC) to align with a China and Pakistan axis. India's role in Quad and ASEAN allow for not allowing India's bête noire to occupy a more convenient position. India, therefore, is successful in turning bipolar into multipolar through its role in various formations like ASEAN and BIMSTEC. He cited India's civilizational, spiritual and philosophical linkages with entire South Asia and Southeast Asia as the very basis of Act East Policy.

The lecture was chaired by Vice-Chancellor Prof PS Shukla, who in his remarks stated that NEHU can play a significant role in Act East Policy by bridging up demands for higher education and foreign policy concerns. While NEHU can draw a fine balance between local and global in terms of implementation of UGC's mandate on internationalization of higher education by seats on a supernumerary basis to foreign students, it can also promote diplomacy through higher education that can have direct bearing in multilateral cooperative frameworks. He cited NEHU's success story of Government of Thailand asking for cooperation from Thai Universities with NEHU in frontier areas of various science, engineering and social sciences disciplines. That Act East policy can be best implemented by advancing the cause of research, teaching and joint collaborative ventures in solving important international issues and problems is spoken insightfully by Prof Prabah Shanakr Shukla.

The lecture and the discussion evoked a huge interest as the multi-convention hall was filled with young bright students and researchers, a press release said.

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