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By. Mohammed Khalid Department of Evening Studies Panjab University, Chandigarh. email@example.com
Southeast Asia comprises of those continental margin and archipelagos of Asia which lie to the south of China, north of Australia, and east of India. Touched by the South Pacific Ocean on the east and the Indian Ocean to its south and west the region includes the countries of Brunei, East Timor (Timor–Leste), Indonesia, Kampuchea, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Southeast Asia has been an integral part of Indian consciousness throughout history. Its religions languages and culture are highly indebted to India. Trade relations between the western parts of Southeast Asia and eastern parts of India go back to the prehistoric period which continued in the earlier centuries. As the Colonial powers entered the Indian Ocean seventeenth century onward, India as well as the countries of Southeast Asia fell to this rising might. During the colonial period trade between the two regions declined as it was more dependent on the directions of the respective colonial powers. As the process of decolonization began post-World war II, efforts were again made to bring the two regions close. Southeast Asia in India’s foreign policy After the Second World War, India and the countries of Southeast Asia gained independence from a long and exploitative colonial rule. India felt the need to rebuild relations with these countries. Nehru’s interest in the region was visible when he organized Asian Relations Conference in March-April, 1947, "to bring together the leading men and women of Asia on a common platform to study the problems of common concern to the people of the continent, to focus attention on social, economic and cultural problems of the different countries of Asia, and to foster mutual contact and understanding." Nehru offered to serve as a mediator during the French-Indochina War (1946-1954), and Korean War (June 1950 to July 1953). He expressed pride in Japan's
victory in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 and opposed punishing Japan at the postWorld War II Tokyo trials.1 India vehemently opposed Dutch action in Indonesia and did not allow the refueling of Dutch planes which were being used to quell the freedom movement there.2 The organization of Conference on Indonesia in New Delhi in 1949, taking interest in organizing the Bandung Conference in 1955 are only a few of many efforts India made to redevelop economic and political relations with the region as a whole. However, all the efforts made by India to befriend the countries of Southeast Asia did not bring desired results. The countries of Southeast Asia did not show keenness to keep India on their foreign policy priority.3 They were more inclined to develop economic ties with Japan, and Korea. The presence of a large number of Chinese populations in many of these countries and its dominating presence also kept them diplomatically engaged with China.4 Philippines and Thailand became part of US sponsored military alliance called South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) and part of Western alliance system. India’s Southeast Asia policy lost further momentum after the Sino-Indian border conflict of September 1962. Indo-Soviet Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1971 made these countries --especially Indonesia and Malaysia-skeptical of India’s commitment to the policy of non-alignment. The nuclear tests conducted by India in 1974, launching of a new Joint Service Command, based in Andaman and Nicobar Islands,5 and recognition of Vietnamese installed Kampuchean regime of Heng Samrin made India unpopular with the countries of Southeast Asia. So, during the Cold War period, India and Southeast Asia did not have preferential relations. Factors responsible for a new shift towards Southeast Asia Cold War neared its end with the opening of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and subsequent German reunification. Russian support to the US-led UN alliance forces during the Gulf War (1990-1991) marked the end of Cold War.6 The qualitative and structural changes brought about by the end of the Cold War led to new orientations in the foreign policy of India and the countries of Southeast Asia. The Cold War period foreign policy preferences changed, the Western Military alliances came to an end and India and these countries gave a fresh thought to their role and preferences in the
changing world order. India started moving toward Southeast Asia to build strong economic, strategic and political ties, and on the other, Southeast Asian countries, leaving aside their past inhibitions, began moving closer to India. These moves between them can be seen in the context of numerous politico-strategic and economic realizations brought about by the end of the Cold War in international relations. Change in India’s attitude can be attributed to many reasons. The open door policy adopted by China during 1980s had given it a quantum jump making it an emerging economic giant in Asia. In contrast; India still followed Fabian Socialist policies of Nehru era. China regarded this region as its natural sphere of influence and had started asserting political, economic and military influence there. Under the force of circumstances -domestic and international- India had also to liberalize its economy to compete with China and other international market forces in the region.7 At the time Cold War came to an end, India was going through the worst balance of payment crises in its independent history. In the absence of a strong political party governing the country it was facing frequent change of governments and these governments lacked vision and will to formulate long term policies. Rising inflation, government subsidies, high interest rates, and a concomitant decline in overseas remittances during the latter half of the 1980s had contributed to overall decline in India’s economy. There was a substantial rise in non-productive expenditure. For example, defence expenditure had risen from 15.9 percent in 1980-81 to 19 percent in 1990-91. Subsidies grew from 8.5 percent in 1980-81 to 11.4 percent in 1989-90.8 The percentage of trade in relation to Gross National Product (GNP) fell from 12.4 percent in 1984-85 to 11 percent in 1988-89. The rise in oil prices following the Gulf War of 1990-91 also caused a 21.9 percent rise in the import bill.9 These moves compelled India to open up to the world economy. The economic ascendance of East Asia and China had made India to watch and emulate its Southeast Asian neighbours. Manmohan Singh, who became Finance Minister and the architect of the Indian Economic Reforms, had been Secretary General of the South Commission of the UN in Geneva from 1987 to 1990. He had often repeated that Korea and India had the same GDP per capita in the 1950s and that South Korean model of economic growth could be emulated. In September 1995, he declared, “the economic policies of India take into account the dynamism of this region (Asia-Pacific), which shall
soon be the tiger-economy of the world. We want to be participant in this process”.10 Gautam S. Kaji, one of the Managing Directors of the World Bank had also expressed in April 1995 that, “Certainly, the East Asian nations are still grappling with some of the same problems as India, albeit on a lesser scale. But they have demonstrated that with the right commitment, it is possible to move very far. With the same kind of commitment, I am convinced that there can be an “Indian Miracle”.11 India drew inspiration from the East Asian path of development and become more closely associated with this region in economic terms. This desire was officially expressed by Narsimha Rao, the Prime Minister of India in 1994 during his visit to Singapore. He said: “The Asia Pacific could be the springboard for our leap into the global market place…I am happy to have had this opportunity to enunciate my belief in this vision of a new relationship between India and the Asia-Pacific from Singapore, which I consider the geographic and symbolic centre of the Asia-Pacific. I trust this vision will be realized… and that the next century will be a century of partnership for us all”.12 Under the unfolding new economic order India had less economic interests in the Middle East. Although India possesses business interests in that region and provides labour, and professionals to the Middle East, the relationship had been more of a dependence on the oil and remittances. Politics of Islam was exploited by Pakistan through the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and tended to work against India’s interests. Moreover, geo-political instability and the lately emerging threat of terrorism also dissuaded India from undertaking worthwhile financial investments there. Southeast Asia was politically more stable than the Middle East and had a common stand and concern about the lethal and negative impact of growing terrorist networks, many of which had emanated from the Middle East. The economies of Southeast Asia --due to their rapid growth-- were an attractive and better option for India.13 It was thus natural for India to have an alternative which Southeast Asia provided. Strategically, also India had to devise a policy --called the Look east policy-- to engage and create good relations with its immediate eastern neighbours. Growing proximity between China and Myanmar and concomitant support to the insurgent groups of India’s northeast;22 Chinese economic and military cooperation and use of some islands of Myanmar as a strategic observatory;14 possible basis for the activities of the
Northeast insurgent groups in Thailand and the Philippines; underground arms market of Cambodia which was becoming an important source of arms for the insurgent groups; compelled India to take care of its national security which could be threatened from the East. Chine’s gaining of economic and military foothold in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka was another point of concern for India.15 Therefore it was absolutely necessary to seek the cooperation of governments of these countries in dealing with such threats. India, being a trading nation could ill afford to tolerate unsafe Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOCs) around its shores. With the rise in trade and commerce, dependence on shipping overwhelmingly increased and it became essential to make maritime trade routes safe.16 India also needed to collectively tackle human smuggling, pollution, accidents, possible closure of choke points, territorial disputes, arms and narcotics trade and piracy in the high seas. As a matter of fact, contraband trade of arms and ammunitions from Cambodia and heroine from Thailand and illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka in Andaman and Nicobar have been major concerns for India. There were also apprehensions of the ISI and LTTE infiltration in sparsely inhabited islands of the Andaman and Nicobar for their illegal activities.17 This underlined the need for closer naval and military ties with the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. Disappointing pace of regional integration through SAARC due to usually strained relations between India and Pakistan was another reason for India to look East. So, these concerns became the factors behind India’s foreign policy towards Southeast Asia after the Cold War. Look East policy India’s Post Cold War foreign policy towards Southeast Asia marked a strategic shift in India’s perspective. It coincided with the beginning of economic reforms and was seen as an opportunity to enlarge its economic engagement.18 It was also an effort to renew and revitalize the traditional linkages with the countries of Southeast Asia. Though, diplomatic and economic efforts were made by India to join ASEAN since 1987, but these countries expressed reservations due to India’s support to the Heng Samrin regime.19 Moreover, they were apprehensive that Pakistan would also follow suit and they may bring in their bilateral tensions which will have a destabilizing effect. Nonetheless,
they became convinced of the veracity of Indian economic reforms of 1991 and in 1992 granted India the status of “sectoral dialogue partner” for tourism, commerce, investments, and science and technology. The same year India formally launched the Look East policy.20 In the second half of 1992 Foreign Secretary was made direct in charge of Eastern region. In October 1995 Secretariat for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of External Affairs declared that ASEAN is at the heart of our reworked strategy. Due to continuous efforts India was given the status of a “full dialogue partner” of ASEAN in 1995. From 1992 onwards, successive Indian Prime Ministers visited these countries regularly accompanied by large business delegations. In 1992 Narsimha Rao visited Indonesia and in 1993 to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea. Prime Minister again visited Singapore in 1994 and Malaysia in 1995. These visits provided many opportunities to interact with policy makers in the countries of Southeast Asia. India participated for the first time at the Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) of ASEAN in Jakarta in July 1996 and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) which deliberates on the security and political concerns of the Asia Pacific.21 India tried after 1999 for a summit level relationship with ASEAN. At the 7th ASEAN Summit, held in November, 2001, at Darussalam (Brunei), the organization decided to upgrade its relations with India to Summit level, which culminated in the first ASEAN-India summit. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister of India, explained the scope and substance of India's emerging relationship The first phase of the Look East Policy focused on developing commercial relations and institutional links with and in the second phase India aimed at political partnership, physical connectivity through road and rail links, free trade arrangements, and defence cooperation. During this phase India strived to build strategic partnership by holding joint naval exercises with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and even Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam through joint naval exercises. Annual naval exercise ‘Milan’ symbolizes regular interaction and cooperation between the navies of India and Southeast Asian countries.22 India also signed MoUs on defence cooperation, provide training to MiG-29 fighter pilots, supply spare parts and service these air crafts.
This new shift in foreign policy was multi dimensional. Under the policy, India initiated measures to develop ASEAN level cooperation and individual relations with these countries. Two other measures in this regard include the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Project and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation). The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Lying between the peninsular region of India and China Mekong basin countries include Myanmar, Thailand, Malaya Peninsula, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The shared histories and geographical contiguity with India accord a strategic value to this area. For India Mekong countries provide a strategic accessibility to reach the heartland of Asia-Pacific. These countries are relatively poor and underdeveloped than other countries of Southeast Asia. As Indian economy was registering better growth, its entrepreneurs had fairly good chances of profitable investment and economic cooperation there. For the fulfillment of this objective, India announced at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting at Bangkok in July 2000 a new cooperative forum with five of its eastern neighbours –Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam- called as the MekongGanga Cooperation (MGC) forum.23 The MGC aims at increasing cooperation in tourism, culture and education, transportation and communication. The six countries also undertook to develop transportation networks including the East-West Corridor project and the trans-Asian highway. This is India's major cooperative venture in its Southeast Asian neighborhood after the end of Cold war which offers immense scope to create linkages with the Mekong countries by connecting them to the Indian Northeast. This organization also has the potential to provide counterbalance China in the region. By exploiting the historically driven natural connectivity, India has added powerful cultural dimension to its economic diplomacy by encouraging business contacts between the people residing on the banks of Mekong and Ganga. These over-land linkages have the potential to provide new opportunity to speed up economic development of India’s northeast. One of the projects called the Asian Highway Project under MGC is expected to link up Singapore with New Delhi via Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Ho Chin Minh City (formerly Saigon), Phnom Penh
(Cambodia), Bangkok (Thailand), Vientiane (Laos), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Yangon and Mandalay, Kalemyo (Myanmar), Tamu, Dhaka and Calcutta (India). India has already taken up the building of road linking Tamu (Manipur) to Kalemyo, a key communication junction in the center of Myanmar.24 This connectivity will prove fruitful in promoting border trade between India’s northeast with the adjoining Myanmar and the Mekong region countries. Mekong Ganga Cooperation Initiative has therefore become a pillar of India’s foreign policy towards Southeast Asia in recent years. The BIST-EC to BIMSTEC, the Bay of Bengal Community Another dimension of India’s foreign policy towards Southeast Asia was the creation of BIMSTEC --The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. Historically, the communities and nations around Bay of Bengal had interacted and established multifarious strands of relationships. In tune with many other initiatives after the Cold War came to an end, a new sub-regional grouping was formed on June 6, 1997 in Bangkok called BIST-EC --Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand-Economic Cooperation. The main areas of cooperation identified included cooperation in trade, investment, industry, transportation, infrastructure, science and technology, human resources development, energy, fisheries, agriculture, natural resources, and tourism.25 To be part of this upcoming regional group, Myanmar was became its member on December 22, 1997. The name of the grouping was changed to BIMST-EC –Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand-Economic Cooperation. Again this name was re-christened to be BIMSTEC i.e. The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation at the first Summit conference of the group held in Bangkok in July 2004. At the conclusion of the Summit while elaborating policy, objectives, and areas of cooperation its members, felt: 26 “Convinced, that the geographical location of our countries and our rich natural and human resources provide a sound basis for mutually beneficial cooperation; Recognized, that the pluralist nature of our societies, our shared cultural heritage and the rich diversity of languages, arts, crafts and traditions provide ample opportunity for multi-dimensional cooperation within our region; Resolved, to foster a sense of community that will lead to the economic and social, development of the entire region.” Agreed, to explore the expansion of BIMSTEC cooperation into the areas of culture, education, public health, protection of biodiversity and traditional 8
knowledge, rural community development, small and medium scale enterprise, construction, environment, information and communications technology, biotechnology, weather & climate research, natural disaster mitigation & management. Agreed, “to create a BIMSTEC free trade area, year-long Plan of Action on tourism, establishment of BIMSTEC Chamber of Commerce…” The BIMSTEC has indirectly met the aspirations of some of the smaller countries of South Asia which have been clamouring for a large economic and political space in a world of rapid global integration. This can be seen another Indian effort to link itself with the heart of ASEAN through Myanmar and Thailand. As China and Pakistan do not belong to the Bay of Bengal Community, India is in a more comfortable position to play unchallenged leader of this formation. The BIMSTEC brings together 1.3 billion people comprising 21 percent of the world population, a combined GDP of 750 billion US dollars and has the potential of 43 to 59 billion dollar trade annually. Relevance of new Southeast Asia policy India’s foreign policy has undergone a sea change in the post-Cold War period. If India wants to keep the pace of its economic development intact it has to be alive to the changing economic world order and the process of Asian economic integration. India’s policy to look East is relevant to develop closer cooperation with Southeast Asia as well as the emerging Asia-Pacific economic hub. From security perspective, too the policy is quite important and relevant as it can take care of its strategic concerns such as free and secure sea lanes and security environment around its maritime borders. This is not possible without the active support and involvement of the countries of Southeast Asia. China, as an economic and military power is fast building bridges in India’s northeastern neighbourhood. Through this policy, India can counter China in these countries. According to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, “Look East policy was a strategic shift in India’s vision of the world and India’s place in the evolving global economy.” Addressing the North East Council on 12 April 2005 in New Delhi, he again said that, “Full advantage may be taken of the Look East policy of the Government of India. ASEAN markets provide big opportunities for NER, particularly in areas such as promotion of horticulture, floriculture and medicinal herbs. Affinity in the cultural background will make our products acceptable and saleable once the land connectivity is 9
improved. Air connectivity could also be considered when the need arises. Potential Sectors in this regard are IT, tourism, mine & minerals, gas, oil, downstream industries, education and health services, etc. The NEC is in the best position to take a holistic view at the regional level and catalyzes the implementation of Government policies in liaison with the concerned Ministries”.27 Constraints and limitations India’s objective to fully integrate itself in the ASEAN community has not brought desired results. There are certain constraints and limitations, within and beyond India’s reach. It may be due to the non-compatibility of their economies and varying perceptions about the unfolding post-Cold War world order. India currently has limited economic cooperation with Southeast Asia and has yet to become a significant market for East Asian economies. For instance, it accounted for less than 1% of Thailand’s and 2.5 percent of Singapore’s international trade in 2004.28 Countries of Southeast Asia perceive that India has yet to go a long way in opening up its economy. The bureaucratic mindset is slow in accepting the changing economic realities and is a hurdle of sorts to fully exploit India’s commitment to deal with East Asia. India’s economy is not as open as that of these countries. Insistence or expectation of Indian bureaucrats and other policy implementers for commercial reciprocity from ASEAN member countries can not become a reality unless India is well integrated into the global economy. For example, despite the rhetoric of India and Japan forming an "arc of freedom and prosperity," bilateral engagement remains low. Japanese investment in India was approximately US$ 2 billion in 2006, far less than its $57 billion in China. Sino-Japanese trade was more than $207 billion in 2006, and Japan-India trade, was only $7 billion. India makes up only 0.67 percent of Taiwan's total trade and Taiwanese investment in India totals $116 million as compared to over $100 billion in China. Similarly, China's trade with Southeast Asia exceeded $160 billion in 2006, while India's trade with the region is less than $30 billion.29 India could not find a place in the currently formed six-party --or the larger tenparty-- framework on the North Korean nuclear issue. Indian energy companies like Oil & Natural Gas Company Videsh Ltd. and Gas Authority of India Limited have a 30
percent stake in Myanmar's A1 and A3 blocks in the Shwe field in the Bay of Bengal but a proposed natural gas pipeline to India has been jeopardized by an agreement between Rangoon and PetroChina.30 To date, foreign direct investment from Southeast Asia has not played as significant a role in India’s economic development as it has in China. It is believed that India’s policy on FDI has been restrictive and tends to concentrate in the service and IT sectors, which are often less capital intensive than the manufacturing sector. India is still considered a protected market with higher tariff rates. India is a democratic country and has to deal with different kind of political systems prevalent in the countries of Southeast Asia. The differences in the systems of governance sometimes create hic-ups between the leadership of India and the countries of Southeast Asia. For Example, Continuous military rule in Myanmar and Thailand some times puts India in a tight spot as, should it prefer its national interest or support the pro-democracy movement there. The slow down is also as to the East Asian economies have yet not fully recovered from the economic crises of late 1990s and the economic recession of 2009. India’s build up of naval base in Andaman has become a subject of considerable concern and debate among the countries of Southeast Asia. Indonesia and Malaysia have particularly shown their concern about a naval base at Grand Nicobar. Malaysia has questioned the rationale behind India’s expansion, of Joint Service Command. Similarly, when India tested its nuclear weapons at Pokhran in 1998 there were strong reactions from the countries of the region. Such constraints have thwarted the integration process between India and these countries. It is therefore to conclude that different measures India has taken to expand its relations with the countries of Southeast Asia have been significant and have born fruits but also suffer form certain constraints as well. References: 1. India Rediscovering East Asia, 24 October 2007, See at http://www.pinr.com/report.php?ac=view_report&report_id=706&language_id=1 2. The Communiqué released by Press Information Bureau on 23 December said that in view of the military action taken by the Dutch Government against the Republic of Indonesia, the Government of India has decided to suspend the right of KLM in or across
India…No fuel will be issued to KLM aircrafts at Indian airports with affect from 1a.m. (IST), 24 December 1948. Cited in Poplai, S. L: India 1947-50: External Affairs, OUP, 1959, p. 10. 3. Pattanayak, Satya R, “India as an Emerging Power”, India Quarterly, vol. LXIII, no. 1, Jan-Mar 2007, p. 91. 4. Guihong, Zhang, “Sino-Indian Security Relations: Bilateral Issues, External Factors, and Regional Implications”, South Asian Survey, vol. 12, no. 1, Jan-Jun 2005, p. 71. 5. Despite the strategic location of Andaman and Nicobar, India did not have adequate forces there till India-China war in 1962 and India-Pakistan War in 1965. After 1962 it decided to have a small naval base at Port Blair. In December 1976 it was upgraded and in 1977, the Commodore Andaman and Nicobar was re-designated as Fortress Commander. This post was upgraded to that of Rear Admiral in August 1981 and to Vice Admiral in March 1987. Meanwhile, the Army had made its small presence in the Islands in 1972 (after the 1971 Indo-Pak War) and the Air Force in 1984. In October 2001, Joint Service Command", was launched headed by an officer from any of the three services. For more detail see, Nanada, Prakash, “Strategic Significance of the Andamans”, Indian Defence Review, vol. 17, no. 3, July-September 2002, pp. 12-24. 6. Sikri, Rajiv, “ India’s Foreign Policy Priorities in the Coming Decade”, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Working Paper No. 25, September 25, 2007. p. 1; Rusi, Alpo M: Dangerous Peace: New Rivalry in World Politics, Westview Press, Boulder Colorado, 1997, pp. 11-34; and Vivekanadan, B: In Resrospect: Reflections on Select Issues in World Politics, Lancer’s Books, New Delhi, 2001, pp. 160-177. 7. Gupta, Pranay, “Rhetoric of Ideology or Job Creation?, The Straits Times, 23 September 2004. 8. Nanda Prakash, op. cit., pp 67-68. 9. Economic Survey 1990-91, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, New Delhi, 1991, p. 3; Chanchreek, K. L: The Gulf War: A Global Crisis, H. K. Publishers and Distributors, Delhi, 1991, pp. 171-186. 10. Sakhuja, Vijay, “Indian Ocean and the Safety of Sea Lines of Communication”, Strategic Analysis, vol. XXV, no. 5, August 2001, pp. 689-702. 11. Address to a gathering of Indian Finances in Bombay, see, Kaji, G. S, “What East Asia has Achieved, India too can Emulate”, The Times of India, April 13, 1995. 12. Cited in Rao, V. V. Bhanoji, “India and Southeast: New Partnership”, in, Prakash, S (et. al.): India and ASEAN, Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi, 1996, p. 254 13. Kuan. Eric Koo Peng, “India's Look East Policy: Analytical Perspectives from the Political, Economic and Military Lenses”, October 19, 2005, see at http://www.whatsindia.com/editorials/wis20051019indiaslooksestpolicy.htm.
14. The Chinese support to insurgents in the northeast came early in the 1960s and continued through the 1970s. It was in Yun'an that the Naga fighters were trained in arms and guerrilla tactics and they were also taught Maoism. With the Chinese support the Naga insurgency became stronger and more intense with better tactics and modern weapons. Apart from the Nagas, the Chinese also extended moral and material support to the Mizo and Meiti insurgents by arranging for their training in guerilla warfare in training centers of Yunan province and Lhasa. See, Sarin, V. I. K: India's North-East in Flames, Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, 1980, p. 105; Datta, Sreeradha, “Security of India's Northeast: External linkages”, Strategic Analysis, vol. 24, no. 8, November 2000, pp. 1495 - 1516; Nardi, Dominic J, “Cross-Border Chaos: A Critique of India’s Attempts to Secure its Northeast Tribal Areas through Cooperation with Myanmar”, SAIS Review, vol. XCXVIII, no.1, Winter-Spring 2008, pp. 161-171. 15. Kumar, Ashwini, “Sino-Indian Relations: Issues and Irritants”, Punjab Journal of Politics, vol. XXVII, no. 1, January 2003, p. 103. 16. About 95 per cent of India’s trade is by sea, and sea lanes are of vital importance to India for unimpeded flow of its merchandise trade. Presently, India’s trade interactions in the East may be lesser relative to those with the West, but is growing at a very rapid pace. The trade with China has increased from US$ 1 billion in 1998 to 13.6 billion in 2004 and reached about US$ 20 billion by 2007. Indo-ASEAN trade grew from US$ 7 billion in 1997 to US$ 13 billion in 2004 and further to be about US$ 30 billion by 2007. See, Kundu, Swati Lodh. “Asian Surge in India Trade”, Asia Times, 28 May, 2005; Kuppuswamy, C. S, “ASEAN Economy-Dominated by China? South Asia Analysis Group, Paper 1184, December 10, 2004. 17. Khurana, G.S, “Shaping Security in India’s Maritime East: Role of Andaman & Nicobar”, Strategic Analysis, vol. 30, no. 1, Jan-Mar 2006, p. 171. 18. The economic reforms undertaken by India during the 1991-94 included: Devaluation of the rupee by 30 percent against the US dollar; raising the ceiling of foreign ownership to 51 per cent and higher in some instances, with partial repatriation of capital at market rates on a 60:40 basis; removal of restrictive controls on the import of most items and lowering the tariffs; abolition of internal licensing system in all but 18 industries; preparation for sale in principle of up to 49 per cent of the government’s share in state enterprises; floating of the rupee on trade account in 1993; reduction of excise duty; reform of the financial sectors; a substantial reduction in the rate company taxation in 1994. See, Gordon, Sandy: India’s Rise to Power in the Twentieth Century and Beyond, St. Martin Press, New York, 1995, p. 121; Mukherji, Rahul: India’s Economic Transition: The Politics of Reforms, OUP, New Delhi, 2007. 19. Grare, Frederic, “India and the ASEAN Regional Forum”, in Grare, Frederic and Matoo, Amitabh (eds.): India and ASEAN: The Politics of India’s Look East Policy, op. cit., p. 125.
20. Grare and Mattoo, op. cit., p. 11; Ram, A. N, “India’s Look East Policy: A Perspective”, in, Kesavan, K.V (ed.): Building A Global Partnership: Fifty Years of IndoJapanese Relations, Lancer Books, New Delhi, 2002, p. 8. 21. Thomas, A. M, op. cit., p. 301 22. MILAN is an institutionalized biennial event to engage the navies of the Southeast and South Asia in mutual cooperation at sea and in harbour. See Annual report 2006-07, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, New Delhi, 2006, p. 32; Jayant, V, “Indian Navy Planning Strategic Command for Far East”, The Hindu, December 26, 2000 23. Jayant, V, “The Mekong Ganga Initiative”, The Hindu, October 28, 2000; also see, Baruah, Amit, “Looking East”, Frontline, vol.17, Issue 24, Nov. 25-December 8, 2000, pp. 49-50. 24. India had upgraded the 160 km long Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo highway in 2001 and indented to maintain it for the next six years. There is an ongoing project for construction of a trilateral highway from Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand to Bagan in Myanmar, the progress of which is being reviewed regularly by the foreign ministers of the three nations. See, Kuppuswamy, C. S, “India’s Look-East Policy: More Aggressive, Better Dividends”, South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 1663, 3 January, 2006. 25. Suryanarayan, V, “India’s Look East Policy”, World Focus, vol. 20, no. 10-11-12, Oct.-Dec. 1999, pp. 55-57; Rao, P.V, “India and Regional Cooperation: Multiple Strategies in an Elusive Region”, in Rao, P.V (ed.): Indian and Indian Ocean: In The Twilight of the Millennium, pp. 122-151. 26. “BIMST-EC Summit Declaration”, World Focus, vol. 25, no. 9, September 2004, p. 23; Bhasin, Avtar Singh (ed.): India’s Foreign Relations–Documents 2004, Geetika Publishers, New Delhi, 2005, p. 916; Morris, Peter, “Grouping to Check China’s Influence”, Asia Times Online, 11 February, 2004. 27. Prime Minister Manmohan singh’s Address to the North Eastern Council, New Delhi, 12th April, 2005. See at, http://pmindia.nic.in/speeches.htm. 28. Asian Development Bank Indicators 2005. See at http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/Key_Indicators/2005. 29. The Shanghai Times, 28 October, 2007. 30. Lundholam, Gideon, “Pipeline Politics: India and Myanmar, Power and Interest”, News Report, 10 September 2007, see at http://www.pinr.com/reportt?ac=view_report &report_id=679.