India’s ‘Look East’ and America’s ‘Asia Pivot’: Converging Interests

U.S. - India Insight: March 2013

Twenty years ago, India announced its 'Look East' policy. For most of the past two decades, however, Myanmar’s isolation, mistrust between India and its neighbors, and poor infrastructure connectivity hindered the development of links between South and Southeast Asia. With Myanmar’s tentative opening and improved relations between India and Bangladesh, an opportunity now exists for India to further boost trade and security ties with mainland and maritime Southeast Asia, a development the United States should not only encourage and support – as it is now doing – but join as an active collaborator and partner.

On February 19, 2013, CSIS and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) hosted key Indian and American decision-makers and thinkers from the region for a conference in New Delhi to examine the current status and implications of India’s ‘Look East’ policy and America’s ‘Pivot to Asia.’ This month’s U.S.-India Insight highlights some of the key takeaways from that conference on issues such as regional architecture, connectivity and infrastructure, trade pacts and maritime security.

Ted Osius was CSIS senior state department visiting fellow, Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies and Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies from 2012-2013.

Karl F. Inderfurth and Ted Osius