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Act East Policy

Act East Policy

Act East Policy

The Government of India (GoI) introduced Act East Policy at East Asia and India-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Myanmar in November 2014. The policy was introduced to increase and extend the economic ties in the Asia-Pacific Region. It will also help to gain political, strategic, cultural dimensions and establish institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation. Act East Policy was first introduced as Look East Policy to increase economic developments in South East Asian countries. To improve the economic and cultural relationships, Look East Policy has been changed to Act East Policy extending to South East Asia and East Asia.

Objectives of Act East Policy

  • To create a new era of economic development and industrialisation
  • To promote an economic, cultural and strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement with the States of North Eastern Region
  • To provide an interface between North East India and the ASEAN region
  • Actively engage with BIMSTEC, Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to increase trade and investment
  • Cooperate with countries in combating terrorism, collaborating for peace and stability in the region
  • Promote maritime security based on international laws and norms
  • Increase economic partnership between North-East states and ASEAN countries

Act East Policy

Act East Policy focuses on three important factors: Culture, Commerce and Connectivity. To improve culture and commerce, GoI has focused on improving connectivity. The connectivity shall enhance transport and technology as agreed through the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The policy was implemented to create developments and regulations at global, regional and national levels for political-security, socio-economic, cultural and connectivity.

Click here to know about North East Rural Livelihood Project

Political and Security Cooperations

For Political and Security Cooperations, the policy has extended for an open and inclusive regional security system apart from the economic relationship. The cooperation shall focus on the following:

  • Counter-terrorism
  • Cybersecurity
  • Maritime Cooperations

Upon successful participation ASEAN-India Workshop on Blue Economy, India has strengthened the maritime cooperation and connectivity with the region. The policy shall extend its scope towards Counter-terrorism, Cybersecurity and Maritime Cooperations between the ASEAN countries through Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF). India shall also promote the values and norms of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and the EAS Declaration on the Principles of Mutually Beneficial Relations (Bali Principles) for developing regional security.

Economic Cooperation

The ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) has created the largest free trade areas. To expand further in the economic investments, India signed the ASEAN-India Investment and Services Agreement. This resulted in extending trade relations between North East and Thailand through Myanmar. The relationship between the North East and Thailand shall increase development in increased trade, investment, connectivity, labour, transfer in technology and tourism. The economic cooperation between India and ASEAN countries would develop economic, military, educational and socio-cultural integration. This would lead to enhancing customs duties and taxation, customs duties, Charges having an equivalent effect to customs duties and Taxation.

One of the key elements to develop economic cooperation is to increase internal trade, monetary union and free trade. The key elements of economic cooperation shall improve the flow of goods, services, capital and skilled labour. After the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Trade in Services (AFAS) and Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), the countries can enter into successive rounds of negotiations to liberalise trade in services with the aim of submitting increasingly higher levels of commitment and collaborating their stock exchanges that include up to 70% of the transaction values.

To increase the financial stability of the regional countries, ASEAN introduced Asian Currency Unit (ACU) through the Asian Development Bank.  It would increase exploring cross-border business and eliminating currency risk. This would result in intra-trade facilities reducing prices for goods and services and establishing the ASEAN Economic Community.

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To improve the connectivity, India shall develop transportation services between India, Thailand and Myanmar. It would develop projects such as the Mekong–India Economic Corridor (MIEC) project to create access to other countries. The government shall also increase infrastructure related to airlines from Nort East to other ASEAN countries.

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