23 August, 2012

Eastward-Bound: India’s New Positioning in Asia

Eastward-Bound: India’s New Positioning in Asia

By- Isabelle Saint-Mézard

A long historical perspective would probably describe India as a country that has always been at the very centre of things in Asia. An ancient cultural matrix of Asian civilizations, India had close interactions with its eastern neighbours through centuries and was deeply involved
in the pan-Asianist and decolonization movements during the first part of the Twentieth
Century. Novertheless, by the early 1990s, India found itself so estranged from its eastern neighbourhood that it had to formulate a proactive policy to return to the Asian fold. A Look East policy was thus officially launched as a deliberate attempt on India’s part to emulate the ‘Asian Miracle’ and to associate itself with East Asia, a region that stood as one of the most dynamic in the world. India’s long history in Asia has since entered a new era.

In this volume, Isabelle Saint-Mézard analyses the Look East policy in a comprehensive way, stringing together its various developments and nuances over one decade and a half. Her focus is on the politico-economic dynamics of the policy. At the same time, she acknowledges the multifaceted nature of the Look East policy and underlines its ideological and cultural dimensions, as well as its security-related aspects. Shifting in perspectives, her study also shows how countries and regional organizations in East Asia have responded to India’s opening up. The reprecussions of the 1997 financial crisis on the multidimensional rapprochement between India and East Asia have also been analysed.

The study proceeds to evaluate the results of the policy. The Look East policy has no doubt stimulated ecomimic, political, institutional and strategic ties with East Asia, and more importantly India has increasingly identified itself with Asia. Thus, the author shows that the Look East policy has become a major dimension of India’s new external relations in the post-Cold War era. One of the most remarkable features of this policy is that it has been cleverly pursued in congruence with trends in regionalization and that it has helped India to reposition itself as a major player in Asia.

Isabelle Saint-Mézard holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the Institut de Sciences Politiques (Sciences Po), Paris. She was based at the Centre of Asian Studies, the University of Hong Kong from 2003 to 2006.

ISBN 81-7304-761-8 2006 406p. Rs.895/ Pounds 60

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