Mains Daily Question
Feb. 17, 2022

What do you understand by the look-east policy of India? What role can it play in the development of North East India?

Model Answer

The Look East Policy of India was framed by the Narasimha Rao government in the early nineties. It is a substantial manifestation of India's focused foreign policy orientation towards an immensely resourceful and flourishing region, i.e., South East Asia. 

  • It becomes a tool for greater economic engagement with the eastern neighbours and forging strategic partnerships and security cooperation with Southeast Asia and Far East countries – such as Vietnam and Japan.

  • It focused on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries for greater economic integration.

  • The "northeast development concern" was included in the policy in 1997, and it became a role model for the development of the Northeast.

Given the geographical significance, the Northeast assumes the role of bridging the space between mainland India and other Southeast Asian nations. The Look East Policy contains in it the development mantra of the northeast region of India implicitly. It can be seen as follows-

  • Improved Connectivity: Due to geographically connected areas, the emphasis on developing the infrastructure by widening the roads, expanding the air connectivity and railway networks, opening the new trade routes and transit points came into the focus. E.g. the Multimodal Kaladan Project.

  • Market and labour mobility: Better access to the market is linearly equated to peace, prosperity and development. It can also aid in further connectivity and labour mobility in the Border States like Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Internal Security: For the internal security of India related to the Northeast, external factors like China, Myanmar and Bangladesh are important. Good ties with eastern neighbours can help reduce extremist tendencies that take help from the neighbours—E.g. hot pursuit in Myanmar in 2016.

Only looking at the east is not enough for the development of northeast India; that's why since 2014, the government of India has developed this policy further in Acting with the east. Many other regional organizations like SAARC, BIIMSTEC, and ASEAN aid in the further development of the northeast region.

Subjects : Current Affairs
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