Look East Policy was enforced by the then Prime Minister P. V. Narsimha Rao in the early 90’s and through which he wanted to develop political, diplomatic, improve connectivity, enhance trade and build people to people relationships. The second phase of LEP was enforced by the then Minister of External Affairs Mr. Yashwant Sinha in which he wanted to strengthen economic relations and build defense mechanism. By enforcing LEP in these two decades India has been able to build strategic partnerships with many ASEAN countries and Japan, Australia and South Korea. This phase can be said as an enhanced phase of LEP. Minister for External Affairs Smt. Sushma Swaraj has coined this phase as ‘Act East Policy’ which clearly emphasized extensive importance on the development of North Eastern region and building trade relations with the neighboring countries. The new Government has been able to act positively and this has been reflected by its actions over the months. India and Australia has signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement that would enable supply to uranium to India. The Vietnam visit of President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee and Minister of External Affairs Smt. Sushma Swaraj has enabled allotment of seven oil blocks for exploration, enhanced defense and security cooperation and increase economic and people exchanges. There have also been talks on navigation through sea. Myanmar is the lynchpin of India’s LEP and acts as a strategic bridge with ASEAN. India’s relation with Myanmar is crucial for development of both the regions.
On 26th June 2015 at an International Seminar held by the Department of Management, NEHU, Tura Campus, former Speaker of Lok Sabha and Former Chief Minister of Meghalaya and currently Member of Parliament from Tura Mr. P. A Sangma expressed his eagerness to develop ties with Bangladesh and increase trade among the regions. He also said that it would be a blessing for the people of the Garo Hills if their starts enhanced trading among the region and Bangladesh; it also calls for development of important towns in the region like Tura and Dalu.
Our political leaders have realized our benefits from cross border trading and so they have been emphasizing on trade among the regions. If we dream of mutual development in the North Eastern region and the countries adjoining it then we have to improve connectivity and liberalize certain laws and taxes and promote cross border trading among the people. North Eastern India has tough terrains and that doesn’t permit proper connectivity within a very short time. So we must try to make use of the rivers and the other water bodies and establish navigation through and enhance trading. There are cultural similarities of people of North-Eastern India with the people of the adjoining countries. If people are encouraged to sell their productions across the border then they would be able to identify markets across border, thus earning good revenue for their productions. Also it shall minimize the dumping of goods from the developed countries, which kills the livelihood of small traders and manufacturers. In underdeveloped and developing nations it is very necessary to understand the importance of mutual development. Thereby developing countries and under developed countries should stop competing amongst themselves and increase cross border trade and walk towards mutual development.