There appears to be awareness that India’s relations with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) must move beyond symbolism.
One of Narendra Modi’s first foreign policy initiatives called on the country to reinvigorate its “Look East” policy, making it an “Act East” policy. The Look East policy, launched in 1991, is not without achievements – bilateral trade between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) increased from just $2.3bn in 1991/92 to around $70bn in 2016/17. However, the contrast with China is stark – back in 1991 China-ASEAN trade stood at just $6.3bn. Last year, however, it had jumped to $515bn.
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