Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 111
Since 1991, India's leaders have sought to engage in new thinking for new times. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, and hence of the special Soviet-Indian economic relationship, reinforced by frustration with the disappointing performance of the Indian economy, obliged India to make a fundamental reassessment of its economic and strategic stance. The Indian government initiated an ambitious reform programme, designed to open up and liberalise a highly inward-looking and regulation-bound economy. In addition, India's long-standing orientations, to Europe, North America, and Russia, came under question. India decided, as part of the reformulation of the full range of its international relations, to 'Look East' in order to improve and consolidate its relations with its neighbours in the east, especially in East Asia and Southeast Asia, but also in Australia and New Zealand and elsewhere in the broader Asia-Pacific region.
This volume, which draws on a conference held at the Australian National University in December 1994, presents assessments of the various dimensions of India's new eastern orientation. To ensure continued success with its Look East initiative, the editors argue, India will need: to maintain and consolidate its economic reform programme; to get its fractious South Asia 'house' in order; to maintain positive relations with the other powers which are either 'Asian' or else have substantial Asia-Pacific interests; and, to ensure that it pursues, a pragmatic, low-key diplomacy.
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