After the outbreak of the Sino-Indian war of 1962, both China and India were on their toes developing strategies and policies. China took up its expansionist policy where as India made policies to counter its neighbour:- East Policy
In 1991 during the Presidency of Atal Bihari Vajpayee the Look East policy came into force. The policy was aimed to bring about active cooperation in economic, strategic, cultural fields. However, the policy, as well as the relationship with ASEAN countries, (Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Laos, Myanmar), was stagnant.
India was keen on developing better ties with the countries of East, establishing commercial, cultural and security ties. However, this policy was just in paper slowly losing its vigour.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the policy was revived and the initial Look East policy was changed to Act East policy. India’s active role in the region with Indian navy patrolling the seas there is definitely development in the relationships. India is not the only one interested in the region the USA also has been actively involved in the region sending patrolling ships and keeping a close eye on the activities of the region.
India is an observer state in ASEAN(Association of South East Asian Nations). Taking into account China’s active involvement in the South China Sea Region, India aspires to create a safer environment in the region.
The Act East policy is not only a beacon of hope for a better relationship with the ASEAN countries but also an instrument to limit China’s active involvement in the region and maintain peace in the region.