Act East Policy Essay
The Act East Policy is an important concept in India’s foreign policy and international relations. Hence, it is important to understand this concept, its applications and ramifications for India for the UPSC exam. It is a part of the polity and IR topics for the IAS exam.
India’s Act East Policy concentrates on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region.
- This policy was originally developed as an economic initiative. It has now got strategic, political as well as cultural dimensions to it. It also envisages the setting up of institutional mechanisms for cooperation and dialogue.
- India has improved its relations to that of strategic partnership with Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore and Australia; and also with the ASEAN. India has also created close relations with all nations in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Other than the ASEAN, the ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum) and the East Asia Summit (EAS), India has also been involved with other regional forums like the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Mekong Ganga Cooperation, Asia Cooperation Dialogue and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
- This policy has given importance to India-ASEAN cooperation in the country’s domestic agenda on manufacture, infrastructure, skills, trade, smart cities, urban renewal, and other initiatives like the Make in India.
- The policy also puts emphasis on connectivity projects, people-to-people exchanges, space cooperation, science and technology, etc. which have the potential for furthering regional integration and prosperity.
- The Objective of ”Act East Policy” is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels thereby providing enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region including Arunachal Pradesh with other countries in our neighbourhood.
- India’s northeast is a priority area in the Act East Policy. This policy offers an interface between the northeast especially Arunachal Pradesh and the ASEAN countries.
- Different plans at regional and bilateral levels comprise of steps to develop and fortify connectivity of the NE with the ASEAN via culture, commerce, people-to-people exchanges, physical infrastructure, etc.
- Some of the major projects include Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project, the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway Project, Rhi-Tiddim Road Project, Border Haats, etc.
- In August 2015, the ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2016 – 2020) was adopted. This identifies concrete steps and cooperation areas on the triumvirate of political-security, socio-cultural and economic pillars.
- On the civilisational front, Buddhist and Hindu links could be promoted to forge new contacts and connectivity among the people.
- Measures, including constructing infrastructure for transport, promoting airlines to improve connectivity in the region, contacts between cultural and academic institutions are advancing.
- India’s economic engagement with ASEAN has been upped – regional integration and implementation of projects are focus points.
- The ASEAN-India Agreement on Trade in Service and Investments has entered into force for India and seven ASEAN countries from 1 July 2015.
- The ASEAN-India Trade Negotiating Committee has been tasked to undertake a review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement.
- India has also invited ASEAN member states to participate in the International Solar Alliance which it has co-launched with France on 30 November 2015 at COP-21.
On strategic issues, India has rising convergence on security interests with major partners both in bilateral and multilateral format. Closer cooperation in combating terrorism, collaborating for peace and stability in the region and promotion of marine security based on global norms and laws are being followed.
This article talked about the Act East Policy UPSC.