The year 2017 may change some equations in the East Asian region. Will the near parity that the U.S. and China currently share turn into a keener contest? Will strained relations between India and China persist? Donald Trump’s election as the next U.S. president casts the spotlight squarely on these inter-state relationships
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At a time when New Delhi is beginning to not just ‘Look East’ but also ‘Act East’, and when parallel integrative processes are underway globally, including the ASEAN-led process, the incipient China-led process and the U.S.-led TTP, India and ASEAN could together produce a brilliant new era of Asian integration
The seven decade-reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who passed away last month, was rich with event. There were coups, but economic development too, with the skilful leader managing to hold the nation together
Perhaps South Block did not gain as much as it had hoped to: there was a gulf in member states’ perceptions. One takeaway, therefore, for policy makers was that while noise has its uses, it is now time for some quiet diplomacy
India’s East Asia policy has been a bedrock of the country’s foreign policy, and the Modi government has deepened ties with ASEAN and extra-ASEAN powers in a significant way. As India turns 70, it is worth assessing the few key bilaterals that will now become more important for regional security and prosperity.
In two years, the Modi government’s Act East Policy has gone well beyond the focus on economic ties of its predecessor, the Look East Policy. It has made progress on many wider fronts, including connectivity and defence collaboration. India must now build on this success and further consolidate relations and trade links with ASEAN and beyond
Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia participated as a panelist at edition VIII of the Delhi Dialogue hosted by IDSA.
Vice President Ansari’s recent visits to Brunei and Thailand provided further clarity to the Act East Policy while advancing its implementation. He effectively showcased that the rationale for a strong India-ASEAN strategic partnership is sharper than before.
The U.S.-driven Trans Pacific Partnership agreement between 12 countries, which is aiming to become the new standard of world trade, impacts domestic systems globally. For India, it will skew investment and intellectual property rights, and especially the debate over the Investor State Dispute System which allows companies to challenge sovereign rights and public policy.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership might soon be concluded if the U.S. Congress fast-tracks it, as recently announced, while the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement remains on slow-track. But the TPP, although ambitious, follows an outdated template, and it is the dynamic RCEP that can be a model for a new global rules-based framework