The entire south-east Asian region and its growing economy are of worth importance for India because this region is occupying a leading position in a number of sunrise industries. Viewing the emerging economy of south-east Asian region, Narsimha Rao Government adopted the “Look East Policy” to strength the bilateral or multilateral ties.
India’s framework agreement with Asian is complemented by bilateral and subrregional attempts towards economic cooperation. These include the bilateral free trade agreement with Thailand and Singapore. India, Thailand and Singapore along with a couple of south Asian countries are partners in BIMSTEC, a sub-regional grouping that is becoming active with a adoption of free trade area plan and summit level meeting in February 2004. The Mekong-Ganga project is also of worth importance for India and China.
The volume of trade between India and Asian countries is also rapidly growing since 1991. It grew by 30 percent in over 1999-2007. The India- Myanmar-Thailand highway would be an important step in the fields of transport. India is also conscious of the concern of Combodia, Loas, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) nation-the less developed section of ASEAN-as it negotiated the free trade regime India is also offering unilateral tariff concessions only items of export interest to the CLMV countries.
It is also seeking to incorporate an Early Harvest Scheme to provide the incentive for a long term engagement. If it proceeds along this course we can target trade turnover up to $30 by 2007 and a free trade area within 10 years. Thus, India’s increasing involvement in the South-East Asian countries is chiefly concerned with economy or bilateral trade.