Foreign Policy – Look East Policy (LEP)

Look east policy was initiated by PM Narsimha Rao in 1991


Look East Policy (LEP) initiated new thrust to engage with South East Asian Countries …

But the ingrediants of LEP was mainly economic interests…

Why LEP ?

  • South East Asian Countries were not along a theatre of Cold war…So the apt time has ripen for India’s engagement…
  • LPG reforms – these gave importance to international relations
  • Increasing influence of China in the regions forced India to have its own space ……

The main objectives of LEP

  1. To develop close economic as well as strategic relation with countries of this region.
  2. To avail better opportunities of market, capital and technology for the rapid and sustained economic, growth of the country.

5 Ts of LEP

  • Trade
  • Technology
  • Tourism
  • Talent
  • Tradition

Phases of LEP

This policy has been implemented in two Phases

  • The 1stphase of this policy covers the period from 1991 to 2003…..During this phase the policy mainly focused on the development of trade and investment linkages with the members of ASEAN.
  • The 2ndphase of this policy covers the period from 2003 to the present….During this phase, the policy mainly focused on the both ASEAN as well as non-ASEAN countries of East Asia.

India and ASEAN –

  • The improvement in relations between India and ASEAN are the core element of India’s Look East Policy.
  • Indian – ASEAN FTA –India has signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with ASEAN on 13th august 2009, in Bangkok to boost the trade between the two. It came in to force on 1st January 2010

Conclusion –

  • India’s Look East Policy is viewed as highly successful by many observers as well as the Indian govt. India has received support and encouragement from countries of this region.
  • The US has openly encouraged India to play a leading role in this region. The US president Obama during his India visit remarked that he expects a larger role for India in East Asia.

However, this has a flip side also. Many observers feel that the encouragement of India by the US to play a larger role is intended to balance China’s already dominating position in the region

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