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Act Far East Policy of India

  Jun 04, 2020

Act Far East Policy of India

What is Far East?

In general, the Far East as a geographical term refers to East Asia (including Northeast Asia), the Russian Far East (part of North Asia), and Southeast Asia.

The Russian Far East comprises the Russian part of the Far East, the easternmost territory of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean.

Why did India launch Look East Policy in 1991?

The focus of the Act East policy, which began as a “Look East policy” — that was launched in 1991 — was to gain from association with the Asean countries economically and strategically as we embraced LPG model of growth.

What is the difference between the 'Look East' and 'Act East' policy of India?

The difference in in three aspects

  1. Act east has a greater strategic dimension in terms of defence and military engagement
  2. it has a common focus on China tilting the strategic balance in Asia
  3. it extends to countries other than Asean like Japan, South Korea etc.

How is Act Far East(AFE) different?

'India's new Act Far East' is an extension to India’s Act East policy, Act East Plus-  as it includes Russia's Far East. The goals are to consolidate the strategic and commercial relation.

When was AFE launched?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2019 launched 'Act Far East' policy while addressing the plenary session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. He announced a $ one billion line of credit for the development of the resource­ rich region. He was the Chief Guest at the Eastern Economic Forum. 

How will it benefit India?

There is commercial and strategic fallout that is positive potentially.

  1. The two countries are looking at collaborating in sectors such as diamond ­processing, rare earths, petroleum and natural gas, agriculture, timber, tourism and infrastructure.
  2.  India has invested in oil fields in Far East and plans to invest more as part of roadmap and joint development of oil fields as agreed yesterday.
  3. India’s presence and involvement in sparsely populated Russian Far East as part of its Indo-­Pacific strategy will balance Chinese presence in this region of Russia on the Pacific coast.
  4. India would be able to access new energy sources to reduce its Middle East dependence. A new maritime route from Chennai to Vladivostok with Arctic access is significant as it creates connectivity in areas India hadn’t explored earlier. It has strategic implications for India expanding its maritime footprint to northeast Asia. 
  5. Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) saw Modi, Putin and Shinzo Abe join hands.
  6. In PM Modi's move, Russia  has an opportunity to diversify from China . Russia has been worried about the growing presence of China in its Far East. If Indians are allowed as well as Indian businesses, it could offset the demography change that Russia is concerned about. It’s not only India. 
  7. Japan PM Shinzo Abe, like PM Modi, has increased political and economic interest in Russia, because both countries want to give Moscow an option to balance its dependency on Beijing.