New mantra: Don’t just look east, Act East

Looking East is no longer enough. It’s time for India to Act East – this was the overarching message emanating from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s August 24-25 visit to Vietnam.

In her first meeting with 15 Indian Heads of Mission in Southeast and East Asia in Hanoi, Swaraj directed them to ‘Act East,’ and amplified on the BJP-led government’s strategic intent to scale up India’s ties with the region to a new level, a kind of Look East 3.0 version.

Mapping the way ahead, the brainstorming session on August 26 saw the envoys tossing a host of ideas to galvanize India’s Look East policy, which included buttressing India’s growing role and relevance in the security architecture of Southeast Asia and Indo-Pacific region, including the disputed South China Sea and ways to increase India’s integration in the region through trade, tourism and better connectivity.

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