TODAY -

Deepening Dependency
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: December 07 2015 -



It has been quite an interesting task to look at how the Government of India has made its presence felt in South East Asia and of course the Northeastern States of India.

First, it was the adoption of the Look East Policy in the 1990s and now it is the Act East Policy as propounded by the Narendra Modi led BJP Government at the Centre.

However, scholars of India’s development paradigm have also expressed the view that the country’s “Push East Policy” has been part and parcel of the initiation and internalization of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation policy since 1991.

It can be recalled that the Look East Policy had been initiated as part of India’s diplomatic positioning in South East Asia in the post cold-war era vis-à-vis cementing existing ties with neighbouring countries like China, Myanmar and other countries in the Asia Pacific.

While promoting India’s eastward move, the country has more or less made it clear that future of States in India’s Northeast lies in political integration with India and economic integration with South East Asia.

However, Indian policy bigwigs have only considered the post 1970s political geography rather than dig deeper into the region’s ties with the rest of the South East Asian countries since ancient times.

Grabbing the new found opportunities under globalization and liberalization, India signed border trade agreement with Myanmar which came into effect from 1995 with the opening of Indo-Myanmar border trade at Moreh in Manipur.

Since then, the Government of India made efforts to further push forth the Look East Policy by adopting allied policies and providing several incentives.

However, infrastructure and connectivity bottlenecks came as big hurdles. Since then, the focus has been shifted to developing connectivity while industrial infrastructural development and setting up of export promotion zones remained more or less static.

Development analysts have also noticed that the policies despite the good intentions have led to further deepening dependency of the Northeast States on New Delhi, both in terms of capital and essential goods.

And as it stands now, the Northeast of India has not seen any perceptible dynamism in either organized manufacturing or infrastructural development to spur the flow of goods and investment that can actually bring benefits to the people.



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