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Singh's Tour Boosts India's 'Look East' Ambitions

Monday, Nov. 1, 2010

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's tour of Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam this week gave a boost to India's "Look East" policy, underscoring the need for greater integration and deeper engagement between India and East Asia in trade and other strategic sectors. Singh, who traveled to Japan and Malaysia for bilateral visits and to Vietnam for the 8th ASEAN-India Summit, has made it clear that his government's foreign-policy priority will be East and Southeast Asia, which are poised for sustained growth in the 21st century.

India's efforts to make itself relevant to the region come at a time of great turmoil in the Asian strategic landscape. The recent standoff between Japan and China over the disputed Senkaku Islands shows that Beijing is adopting a more-aggressive stance against rivals and U.S. allies in Asia, and there may be more tension to come. With its political and economic rise, Beijing has started trying to dictate the boundaries of acceptable behavior to its neighbors. As a result, the U.S. and its allies have already started reassessing their regional strategies, and a loose anti-China balancing coalition is emerging. ...

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