India’s act east policy and north-east: Prospects and challenges
Look East Policy (LEP) is pivotal in India’s effort towards globalisation and the economic reform agenda, which was launched in 1991. It is an important foreign policy initiative with respect to South East Asian countries and under the regime of Narendra Modi which came to power in 2014, the policy received immense priority. Terming it as Act East, India was able to sense the change in the locus of world economic power from the ‘west’ to the ‘east’ as necessitated by the evolving geo-politics and trends in the Asia- Pacific. The primary aim is to revive political ties, forge regional security cooperation and develop economic linkages by increasing integration with Southeast Asia.. In context of India’s growing and evolving relations with South East Asia, it is but inevitable that its North Eastern region would be the fulcrum of the overall “Look East” policy given its geographic proximity and socio-cultural and historic ties with the South East Asian region. The Look East Policy is an integral part of North Eastern Region Vision 2020 – a roadmap for development of the Region. The research paper analyses the various dimensions of Look East Policy since its inception in 1992. It also dwells with the North East Region which acts as a gateway to the South-East Asia, an important component of Look East Policy. Finally, it discusses the various challenges that come in the way. For example, language barrier is a major problem. Teaching of languages of South East Asia and neighbouring countries like Thai, Burmese, Chinese, Vietnamese to youth and business persons of NER can prove to be highly beneficial in doing trade and investments.