ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Look East to Act East

India’s North-East and Asiatic South-East: Beyond Borders edited by Rashpal Malhotra and Sucha Singh Gill, Chandigarh: Centre for Rural and Industrial Development, 2015; pp xxv+302, ₹500.

Look and Act East Policy: Potential and Constraints edited by Rashpal Malhotra and Sucha Singh Gill, Chandigarh: Centre for Rural and Industrial Development, 2015; pp xxxxiv+286, ₹595.

Historically relegated into the peripheries of India’s geopolitical imagination and considered mostly a security liability of the Indian state, the north-eastern region of India is now being perceived as the overland (land) bridge to connect mainland India with South East Asia, or more broadly, East Asia and even Asia Pacific. The current government has upgraded this engagement from the “Look East” policy to “Act East” policy.

The two edited volumes under review are well-dated collections of essays on India’s Look and Act East policy with a focus on the north-eastern region and establishing it as a link to India’s eastern neighbours. India’s global economic relations have undergone a significant transformation over the past 60 years. It is within the evolution of India’s foreign policy framework, the Look and Act East policy has to be situated. The scholars of international relations like Sumit Ganguly and Manjeet S Pardesi (2009), Kale (2009), Rohan Mukherjee and David M Malone (2011) describe India’s foreign policy journey as a transition from Nehruvian idealism to contemporary times as an economy-driven pragmatism through a period of hard realism. The collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and confronted with the post Cold War world order, ensued a stronger commitment to international institutions to legitimise India’s emerging power status along with a positive approach to relations with the world’s remaining superpower and a greater emphasis on national defence. These shifts in foreign policy manifested themselves in various ways, including the Look East policy of 1992 (Mukherjee and Malone 2011).

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Updated On : 24th May, 2017

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