Modi sees Asean as key to Indo-Pacific policy

Modi sees Asean as key to Indo-Pacific policy

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in India for Independence Day ceremonies last January. Indian cooperation with Asean is central to its new policy of outlook.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in India for Independence Day ceremonies last January. Indian cooperation with Asean is central to its new policy of outlook.

India took exactly 25 years to define its place in the broader Asia region. When Indian prime minister Narasimha Rao first outlined his country's "Look East" policy in 1993 in Singapore, economic imperatives were the main driving force and not much thought was given to strategic components. After all, it was before the rise of China, the decline in US influence, Japan's strategic-oriented foreign policy and the establishment of the Asean Community.

Last week, in the keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia's annual security conference, also in Singapore, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revitalised the staid, almost-three-decades-old policy with a more dynamic and holistic approach. From now on, India is no longer merely content to look east; for the world's largest democracy has now come out of its shell. Judging from the details of the Indo-Pacific policy outlined by Mr Modi, it is succinctly clear that India wants to be treated as a global power that can reinforce and sustain the liberal international order. In addition, it wants to be perceived as a net provider of peace and prosperity in this part of the world.

Kavi Chongkittavorn is a veteran journalist on regional affairs.

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Kavi Chongkittavorn

A veteran journalist on regional affairs

Kavi Chongkittavorn is a veteran journalist on regional affairs

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