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A look at India’s ‘Act East Policy’ which South Korean President termed as ‘important’

The President of South Korea Moon Jae-ins four-day visit to India has so far seen the leader inaugurate the worlds largest mobile factory on July 9, pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at the Gandhi Smriti and speak of how India and South Korea have been Strategic Partners since 2015, a result of 45 years of bilateral relations in various fields. Korea has also shown interest in Indias 100 Smart Cities mission and industrial corridors. Moon said South Korea looks forward to working with India and the Act East Policy of India is in tandem with what he proposed as the New Southern Policy of Korea. Moon announced his policy that looks beyond Northeast Asia to focus on Southeast Asia, Australia, and India. Now 3 years have passed PM Modis Act East Policy has importance to co-operation to Korea Im pressing ahead with New Southern Policy that makes India Koreas key partner for cooperation, Moon said on Tuesday. To explore new markets and business opportunities, countries are coming together to form various groupings. ASEAN, SAARC, EU, BRICS are some examples, which have mandates ranging from maritime security, terrorism, cultural ties to the most important aspect of trade. The ASEAN Plus nations include India, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, China, South Korea and US. Indias Act East now envisages covering Indo-Pacific, thereby creating trade avenues. In these circumstances, the outreach of South Korea is seen as a positive development in international relations. Here is a look at the Act East Policy, Indias outreach which envisages integrating the country with its east and beyond. The Act East policy focuses on the extended neighborhood in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary objective is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop a strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels which would eventually provide enhanced connectivity to the states of North Eastern region. Indias northeastern region has been prioritised in the government It is aimed at ensuring the overall development of northeastern states in terms of people to people contact, border trade through border haats, cultural ties, infrastructure projects, for example, Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport project, India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway project, Rhi-Tiddim road project etc. The policy which was originally (1992) envisaged as an economic initiative, has now gained political, strategic and cultural dimensions including establishment of institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation, thereby clearly highlighting the new approach of India. Also, India has now upgraded its relations to a strategic partnership with Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, Singapore and ASEAN. Moreover, India is now actively engaged in regional initiatives such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Asia Cooperation Dialogue, Mekong Ganga cooperation. The policy has also placed an emphasis on India-ASEAN cooperation in India In the ASEAN Plus, both South Korea and India are participants, thereby making ground for more integration at the multilateral level. The Act East, now going beyond the immediate neighbour to Indo-Pacific, has now become a significant foreign policy initiative. According to analysts, Indias consistent reach is pertinent in the backdrop of Chinas outreach across the globe. Moreover, the government The swearing-in ceremony of the new government in 2014 was apparently the first event which showed India Prime Minister Modi It signaled that India would move along with the region and that neighborhood first is a part of India

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