In the 1990s, the Indian government had initiated a policy which aimed to ‘Look-East’. While much of a headway was not made as the liberalization of the economy had not happened in the early years, the process was slow.
After the onset of the new century, the world developed an inclination for the Indian as well as the East Asian markets as they were rich in their natural reserves and also offered a host of services at a competitive price.
The Indian government in the later years of the recent decade favoured and signed many pacts with the East Asian nations, which aimed to boost trade and military ties in the region.
The guests of honour at this year’s Republic Day parade are the officials/ premiers of ASEAN countries who are here to pursue a futuristic goal. The biggest factor that has catalysed the current interest of ASEAN in India is the tough stand taken by Chinese on the territorial fronts in the ASEAN region.
The other factor is also the wave of mass Chinese economic might which has shadowed every other mid-sized economy, and Indian economy seems to be the only light house in these situations.
While the projects instituted between the Indian government and the ASEAN nations have not shown much of progress, the ASEAN trust is a promising response for the Indian market which will provide the right amount of push for the economic cooperation which will define the new economic narrative required for the global markets.
The ASEAN nations and India will also put the penetration through logistics by investing in road and rail connectivity which will foster cultural relations and cement economic ties as well.
The ASEAN nations have certain peculiar resources which if tapped by Indian manufacturers, will enhance the overall productivity of the bloc. The Indian service sector if works together with the ASEAN will yield in the world’s largest service sector bloc.
The co-operation in energy sector will be another way to go forward, where not only the conventional sources of energy would benefit the Indians, but also the boost that the renewable energy resources shall get is beyond the scope of imagination.
Also, the routes of tourism and circuital development will help the ASEAN and Indian markets to benefit from the tourist flows which come find a deep attraction in the region.
Also, there is a major possibility of formation of a bloc resembling the European Union, which if translated into a reality will be a bigger bloc than the EU in all respects.
It will worth observing how the current regime responds to the latest developments and will counter the Chinese constructively through leadership and partnership.