Chapter 1: The problem and its background
For a long time, India has viewed its sphere of influence as stretching far beyond the subcontinent itself but has had little ability to project this influence beyond its borders. It is only in the last few years that India has been able to become more influential both in the surrounding regions and the world at large. This was mainly anchored on its ‘look east policy’ initiated in the early 1990s that saw the country focus on the East Asia and Pacific regions as an economic framework for expanding ties and promoting economic growth. With the new expanded strategic vision – “Look East” policy 2, India has broadened the definition of its security interest in its strategic economic endeavors. It is generally seen that India’s partnership with ASEAN have had an impact on India’s economic, political, and security related involvement ‘in these larger, concentric coalitions around ASEAN…in East Asia and in the Asian Pacific’ (Gujral, 1996, p. 12). The look east policy has integrated a larger regionalization framework and strategy encompassing the Asia Pacific issues (Scott, 2007). WE ARE TECHNOLOGY THESIS EXPERTS! ORDER NOW!
The Indians-ASEAN links do not only have economic frameworks but strategic underpinnings as well. As Scot (2007) has indicated, china has been a factor in all of the India’s initiatives albeit blurred in economic progressions. Some analysts have argued that the growing Chinese economic and military influence in Asia has been the anchorage on the basis of which the strategic molding of ‘look East Policy’ was structured. India’s continued influence has therefore been viewed as providing ‘a balance’ to Chinas growing influence in the region. India’s aspiration to be a major global power is indisputable. For many years, India took pride in its role as leader of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and viewed itself as the primary defender of the rights of less developed nations. With the new expanded strategic vision – “Look East” policy 2, it has broadened the definition of its security interest.
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The underlying framework and the tenets around which the growing India’s presence in the East Asia and Pacific region has been anchored around its ‘look East policy’ strategy initiated in the early 1990s, the ramifications of which continue to be felt in the region. This policy while structured on the perceived frameworks of economic empowerment and working in partnership with the ASEAN countries has grown in magnitude such that in the last decade, India has moved beyond such ASEAN, Southeast Asia economic horizons and progressively shifted to play a more active role in East Asia region. The Southeast Asia was the first sphere of influence of the India’s growing influence in Pacific Asia. Towards the fulfillment of its look east policy initiatives, India pursued with vigor and zeal its relations with ASEAN nations. This saw it became a sect oral dialogue partner with ASEAN in 1992 and a full partner in 1995. These relations were to be further strengthened when in 2002 it became an ASEAN summit level partner, the pinnacle of which was attained when the ASEAN- India framework agreement was appended in 2003, laying the groundwork for the formulation of a free trade area by 2012 (Scot, 2007). This was viewed as a milestone towards even greeter economic and political influence in the region. Several analysts would support this view; with the dynamic economic growth and superiority computer software, engineering and sciences, India started to be a key player in the region taking a keener role in maintaining peace stability and prosperity in the region and the security of the Southeast Asia (Ong, 2004). According to Shahin (2003), the fruits of the policy could be clearly discernible as indicated by the wider influential role being played...
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