Abstract and Keywords
India’s relationship with its eastern neighbours has evolved from pan-Asian romanticism and assertive leadership in the late 1940s and 1950s, to isolation and neglect following its defeat in the 1962 war with China, and finally to a more pragmatic resolve since the early 1990s to seek integration with the region and to benefit from its economic dynamism. But while the economic dimension of India’s ‘look east’ policy remains far from realizing its full potential, a strategic dimension has emerged, namely India’s role as a useful political and diplomatic counterweight to Chinese influence in the Asian security architecture. Another dimension of India’s ‘look east’ policy, its participation in Asian regionalism, has New Delhi pursuing a somewhat passive role under ASEAN’s leadership. The ‘look east’ policy faces new challenges as India must reconcile its role as an emerging power, with its traditional tendency to isolate itself from external economic and geopolitical currents.
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