International Relations Conference
The Look East Policy (LEP) was a course correction of India's foreign policy necessitated by new geopolitical dynamics and economic trends in the Asia-Pacific following the end of the Cold War. The purpose was to revive both political ties and build economic linkages with Southeast Asia. There has been a consensus in India cutting across the political lines in support of the LEP which has focused on re-establishing better politico-security understanding and economic cooperation.
The first phase of India's Look East Policy was ASEAN-centered and focused primarily on trade and investment linkages. The second phase was characterized by an expanded definition of `East' extending from Australia to China and East Asia with ASEAN as its core.
The LEP was not formulated to solely improve relations with South East Asia. The multi-pronged approach on which the LEP is based on provides opportunities to do much more. One, establish bilateral relations with individual countries of the region, build strong political ties with the ASEAN and countries of East Asia and also establish India as a strong economic player within the region. Two, the LEP seeks to find a place for India on the larger Asia-Pacific scenario where it will seek to play a strategic geopolitical role. Three, project India as a viable partner for trade and a favorable destination for investments. And last, the LEP also provides a roadmap for integrating the long neglected North East region with the rest of India and establish economic ties with its neighboring countries.
India has made progress in all the four aforementioned areas. Today, the country is a part of a number of regional and sub-regional groupings to facilitate trade and investments in the South East Asian region; it has signed the Free Trade Agreement between members of the ASEAN countries to ensure smooth development of economic cooperation; it is also now a member of the East Asia Summit. However, India is yet to reap big benefits from Phase I and II of the LEP.
To this end, the International Relations conference on India's Look East Policy organized by the Symbiosis Institute of International Studies, under the aegis of Symbiosis International University, seeks to explore the LEP from different angles with the aim to provide inputs for its subsequent evolution.
For more details visit International Relations Conference 2014 Website