By K.N. Pandita
With the turn of the century, India stumbled on the ambitious concept of “Look East” … a phrase variously interpreted and mostly ascribed to her eastward expansion of trade and business enterprises.
Unrelenting hostility of her immediate western neighbour, raging conflict in Afghanistan and escalating anti-American and anti-Arab acrimony of Iranian hardliner regime are among factors driving India to find new markets and land and sea roots to her east.
But “Looking East” being easier said than done, India had perforce, to reckon with far more pragmatic and workable international relations policy of the Asiatic giant straddling across other continents besides Asia, of course.
“Look East” policy has not yielded sizeable dividends, and at best she was obliged to play the second fiddle to China. In 2006 China’s quantum of trade with South East Asian countries was to the tune of 160 billion US dollars while that of India for the same year was less than $ 30 billion.
On board the Soviet bandwagon during cold war era and championing the unrewarding non-alignment movement, India, unwittingly abandoned her prospect of potent Asian power leaving the field open for China to make deep inroads into the politics and economies of South East Asian countries. For lethargy prone India, it is too late to run a competitive race. Continue Reading…