India’s East Asia outreach shows its Central to regional stability.

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: India’s relations with other nations, Issue: East Asia.

Context: India’s recent Southeast Asia tour highlights regional focus during elections.


  • Historical, cultural, and economic ties shape India’s relations with Southeast Asia.
  • Despite ties, recent survey shows low perceived Indian influence.
  • Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is India’s fourth-largest trading partner, indicating growing economic engagement.
  • Act East policy emphasizes connectivity for economic growth.
  • Indo-Pacific policy stresses ASEAN centrality and adherence to international law.
  • South China Sea tensions drive India’s maritime security interests.


Look East Policy:

●       Initiated in 1991, the Look East Policy aimed to strengthen ties with Southeast Asia.

●       It focused on economic, strategic, and cultural cooperation to counterbalance China’s influence.

●       In 2014, it evolved into the Act East Policy, expanding focus to East Asian countries like Japan and South Korea.

●       The Act East Policy includes the Pacific region, emphasizing economic, cultural, and strategic ties.

●       It ensures continuous engagement at bilateral, regional, and multilateral levels for comprehensive cooperation.

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