Contrary to the commonly held view that India’s “Look-East” policy, aimed at establishing itself as an important Asia-Pacific Power, started in the 1990s under the regime Narasimha Rao, this book explains how India’s engagement in the region really began centuries ago. In fact, India’s preeminence as a major power in ancient times stemmed from its undoubted civilisational and economic influences in Far East and Southeast Asia. No wonder the region was called “Farther India”. If India’s decline as a major global power started in the medieval period, it was essentially because the then rulers of India - the Mughals - turned their attention from the “Seas”, and focussed on land power. The trend was reversed during the British rule. If Britain was the undisputed power in the region stretching from the Suez to China and Singapore, it was essentially because of the fact that India was “the jewel in the (British) Crown”. But after independence, India surrendered its influence in the region to China, since its policy of non-alignment came in the way of a “realistic” projection of power. In fact, for India, the period between 1950 and 1992 was a period of “lost opportunities.’’ It was after the end of the Cold War that India saw the merits of “Rediscovering” the Asia-Pacific, the region which is going to determine the contours of world politics in the 21st century. The book explains how India is traversing the course. It points out the challenges in the process and suggests the means to meet them.
Author: Prakash Nanda