Analyze the nature and prospects of India's Look West Policy.

Published: February 19, 2018

India’s multidimensional engagements with the West Asia are in accordance with the rapidly evolving look west policy. Look west policy aims at increased interaction, enhanced trade and economic relations and launch of negotiations towards FTA with the western Asian countries.
Nature of the policy

  • Western Asian countries provide unique opportunities and challenges with several internal contradictions and conflicts, India aims to play a balancing role in west Asia. The look west policy is based on 3 pillars, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel.
  • India is having a mix of idealism and realism with the look west policy. Together with embracing Israel for deeper cooperation in the fields of science and technology, defence, agriculture, India is upholding its historic commitment to the cause of Palestine.
  • Look west policy again reiterates that Indias foreign policy is shaped to cater to the interests of India in the region and it is not a mere shadow of other countries policies. India’s deepening engagement with Iran through Chabhar port is testifying a niche of India in west Asia.
  • China Factor: Countering increased presence of china in Indian Ocean region by enhancing cooperation with the littoral states of Indian Ocean region.

Prospects

  • With US signalling withdrawal from Indian Ocean region and west Asia. The west Asian countries are looking east towards India to fill the gap.
  • Soft power of India in the region due to the large presence of Diaspora, Bollywood, and Indian Cuisines will aid in emerging of India as a strong player in the region.
  • India’s bonhomie relations with all the major powers of the region like Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia which is a unique of its kind in the whole world provides for a favorable atmosphere for India.
  • Fight against Terrorism: ISIS is spreading its ambit and is causing serious security challenges in west Asia. This provides for achieving of a coalition against terrorism. This will force Pakistan to act against terrorist groups operating from its soil.
  • Energy Security: India is a energy deficient country; West Asia has rich reserves of fossil fuels. India being a fast growing economy provides a unique opportunity to engage in the avenue of energy security with West Asia.

As India is re-scripting its security strategy as net security provider in the region of Indian Ocean, Look west policy provides with a unique opportunity in 21st century Asia.

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