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When did Look East Policy Start?

Look East Policy of India was launched in 1991 by the Government of India led by the former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. The objective was to develop political, economic and security co-operation with countries in Southeast Asia. After the cold war, India wanted to act as a counterweight to China in Southeast Asia.

The topic, Look East Policy’ is important for UPSC Mains GS 2 of the IAS Exam.

Which policy of India succeeded Look East Policy?

Act East Policy of India succeeded Look East Policy. The main objective was to have greater engagement in all spheres with countries in Southeast Asia as well as with far Eastern countries like Japan, South Korea, and countries in the Pacific region like Australia.

Read in detail about Act East Policy of India in the linked article.

What is the difference between the Look East Policy and Act East Policy?

The major difference is Act East Policy not only focussed on developing political co-operation but also a cultural and strategic relationship between India and extended neighbourhood of Asia Pacific region. India has upgraded its relationship to a strategic level with many Asia Pacific countries. There is continuous engagement with these countries at regional, bilateral, and multilateral level. There is a greater impetus on people to people contacts, involvement in infrastructure projects of India and enhanced co-operation in Maritime security-related issues.

When was Act East Policy Launched?

Act East Policy was launched in 2014 by the Government of India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Related Links:

Look West Policy India-Malaysia Relations
India-Vietnam Relations One Belt One Road (OBOR)
Gujral Doctrine Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Important Facts about Look East Policy of India

  1. The look east policy tends to connect to ASEAN and the East Asian nations with an asianisation content.
  2. India has made several multilateral agreements with East Asian nations that have boosted India’s act east policy.
  3. The significant bilateral relationships are mentioned below:
    • India-China Relations
    • India-Myanmar Relations
    • India-Sri Lanka Relations
  4. Other forums, regional groupings or platforms that have supported India’s look east policy are mentioned below:
    • BCIM – Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar Economic Corridor
    • BIMSTEC – Bay of Bengal Initiative of Multisectoral Technical and & Economic Cooperation
    • SAFTA – South Asian Free Trade Area
    • ASEAN – Association of South Eastern Asian Nations
    • EAS – East Asia Summit
    • MGC – Mekong-Ganga Cooperation
  5. The first Trans Asian Car rally from Guwahati to Batam (Indonesia) passing through North Eastern States of India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore in 2004 was an important sign for the advent of India’s Look East Policy.
  6. Several governmental initiatives that boosted India’s Look East Policy are:
    • Trans Asian highway starting from Singapore to Istanbul passing through India
    • Trans Asian Railway from Delhi to Hanoi
    • 800 km long Trans-National Gas Pipe Line between Myanmar, Bangladesh and India

Significance of India’s Look East Policy

  1. The North-Eastern states of India were given a direct role under the Look East Policy.
  2. Opening the doors for maritime oriented look east policy by bringing in pictures the coastal states of East India. This way it will help to build relations with southeastern nations that are dominantly coastal.
  3. The look east policy was seen as a step towards competing China’s presence in East Asia.

The above details would help candidates preparing for UPSC 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions on Look East Policy


Q 1. What is India’s Look East Policy?

Ans. India’s Look East policy is an effort to cultivate extensive economic and strategic relations with Southeast Asian regions. It was launched in 1991 by the Government of India led by the former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao.

Q 2. Which countries are members of ASEAN?

Ans. ASEAN stands for Association of South East Asian Nations. The 10 countries that members of ASEAN are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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