India’s Act East Policy and ASEAN: Building a Regional Order Through Partnership in the Indo-Pacific

DOI10.1177/0020881719885526
Published date01 January 2020
Date01 January 2020
Subject MatterResearch Articles
India’s Act East Policy
and ASEAN: Building
a Regional Order
Through Partnership
in the Indo-Pacific
Ngaibiakching1
Amba Pande1
Abstract
Over the past few decades, India’s security concerns have undergone a substan-
tial change. With the formulation of the Look East Policy (LEP) in the 1990s, the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a regional entity became
an essential component and a corridor for India’s outreach to Southeast Asia.
In 2014, the LEP became more encompassing with a shift to the Act East Policy
(AEP). The global security and economic environment too are witnessing signifi-
cant changes with the USA taking a back seat, China’s aggressive positioning
and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) coupled with the emerging geopolitical
construct of ‘Indo-Pacific’. The regional stakeholders, such as ASEAN, the USA,
Japan, Australia and India are yet to form a unified stand on the Indo-Pacific
concept as well as the regional security architecture. The AEP appropriately fits
into the current scenario as India is set to take up a larger role in the regional
security environment while keeping the centrality of ASEAN intact. New Delhi
seeks to create a platform for mutual development in the Indo-Pacific and engage
with like-minded nations in the quest for a rules-based order that promotes
transparency, respect for sovereignty and international law, stability and free and
fair-trade framework. India and ASEAN can be apt partners in the Indo-Pacific to
play a constructive role and build a regional order.
Keywords
Look East Policy, Act East Policy, ASEAN, India, Indo-Pacific, regional security order
Research Article
1 Centre for Indo-Pacic Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Ngaibiakching, Centre for Indo-Pacic Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi 110067, India.
E-mail: biakching790@gmail.com
International Studies
57(1) 67–78, 2020
2019 Jawaharlal Nehru University
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DOI: 10.1177/0020881719885526
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