Chanakya IAS Academy Blog


What do you understand by India’s Look East Policy?

What do you understand by India’s Look East Policy? How is it different from the Act East Policy? Discuss the significance of Manipur in the implementation of these policies.

The Look East Policy aims to cultivate economic and strategic relations with the South East Asian nations in order to secure India’s position as a regional power. The Look East policy can mainly be implemented by using the border of the North Eastern states of India. The policy was developed by P.V. Narasimha Rao government.

The Act East Policy was adopted in 2014. It aims at the effective implementation of the Look East policy by developing better relations with the South East Asian nations through bilateral talks, trade and economic ties.

India’s relationship with South Eastern Nations

India has always pursued good and supportive relations with the South East Asian countries. It has several trade agreements in Myanmar and has given active military support to Myanmar. India has time and again harnessed Myanmar’s oil and natural gas reserves and has countered China’s monopoly over them.

There is a broad cultural relation with countries like Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The commercial ties are also present with these countries. With Thailand, India has several Free Trade Agreements and also military cooperation.

India performs its joint naval exercise with Singapore called SIMBEX. South Korea and Japan have several investments in India. India also participates in South Asian organizations like BIMSTEC, SAARC, East Asia Summit, ASEAN, etc. These organizations meet often and several important issues are discussed in these platforms especially those related to the South East Asian regions.

The importance of Manipur

Manipur shares about 355km border with Myanmar. It is the most economically viable border in the north east. It also has historical and cultural links with Myanmar for e.g.: the religion Buddhism. India plans to improve the infrastructure in Manipur and turn Moreh into a smart city. The trade route between Moreh in Manipur and Tamu in Myanmar is a great opportunity for improvement of trade links with Myanmar. India has also planned to extend this trade route till Thailand. With a bit more focus on the existing trade and infrastructure, Manipur can serve as a great opportunity for the implementation of the Look east policy.

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