Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Look-East Policy

One of the most radical economic and foreign policy decisions of the Union Government was the Look-East Policy that focused India's economic and diplomatic strength on our East and South-East Asian neighbours rather than on the West.

The policy is still evolving as we go along, but a lot of successes can be named: the India-Asean FTA and the opening up of the Nathu La pass are just two examples.

If 'Look-East' is implemented sincerely, then the North East could stand to become the pivot of the new policy. The land-locked region that is precariously connected to the Indian mainland by a difficult path could, by means of globalization, grow into a great centre for trade and commerce with the entire region, as it used to be before the British invasion.

It's a long-term plan and there are many bottlenecks, such as India's border dispute with China and the testy relationship we have had with Bangladesh, but it presents the best option we have to develop the region. The historic chance that the Indian Nation has to convert one of its poorest, most backward regions into one of its most developed and influential is a dream come true for any diplomat and economist.

Can we seize the opportunity? Only time will tell.

(Series Concluded)

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