News

India to Strengthen Ties with ASEAN

Multimedia

Audio

India is closer to fulfilling one of its top priorities - forging stronger economic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian nations. India and the 10-member ASEAN group will sign deals for a plan of action and to promote "shared prosperity" at the annual summit on November 29 and 30.

India launched its "Look East" policy more than a decade ago to raise its economic and diplomatic profile in Southeast Asia - wanting to emulate the region's growing prosperity.

Geetanjali Nataraj, professor at the Indian Institute for Foreign Trade, says India is looking beyond its traditional trading partners in the West, and taking advantage of ASEAN's increasing global trade and investment.

"India has set a target of achieving two percent share in world trade, and to achieve this target we need to explore new markets, enter new markets, and ASEAN is a big market for India," said Geetanjali Nataraj.

At first, ASEAN was slow to respond to Indian overtures. But that changed as Southeast Asian countries struggled with the financial crisis of 1997, and India's economy began showing signs of promise.

Experts say ASEAN also began to see how India could balance out China's power in Asia.

The relationship has acquired momentum in the past two years. At the 2003 ASEAN summit, India and the Southeast Asian bloc agreed to create a free trade area in goods, services and investment by 2011.

Arvind Virmani, director at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Research, says much smaller ASEAN countries stand to gain from access to India's market of more than one billion people and in particular, its booming information technology sector.

"ASEAN has, of course, recognized India's prowess in IT and in service exports more generally," said Arvind Virmani. "That has also contributed in more recent years to a change in perspective of certain ASEAN countries who may have been hesitant otherwise in terms of much closer cooperation with India."

On the other hand, economists say that by wooing ASEAN, India ensures it is not isolated when regional trading arrangements are becoming the vogue.

This could include eventual economic integration with economically dynamic East Asia. In fact, New Delhi hopes closer links with ASEAN will help draw it into a larger economic community that includes China, Japan and South Korea.

India's need to build links with developing economies now is pressing as developed nations erect more trade barriers, despite preaching liberalization. Geetanjali Nataraj of the Institute for Foreign Trade explains.

"The developed countries are becoming more and more protectionist and they are imposing all sorts of barriers," she said. "Non-tariff barriers in the developed world are increasing rapidly. Therefore India has to look beyond the developed world to expand its trade and ASEAN countries offer great opportunities to India."

India is making better progress with some ASEAN members than with others. It has a free-trade pact with Thailand already, and, in the past year, greater investment from Malaysia and Singapore, with which it has a cooperation deal in the works.

Still, two-way India-ASEAN trade is far lower than it could be. In 2002 it was about $10 billion, only one percent of overall ASEAN trade.

Skeptics doubt India can move fast enough to change that. With Chinese goods flooding the region, India is its own worst enemy, raising tariff barriers higher than countries in East Asia. It has promised to reduce duties, but usually is slow to act. Transport and communication links with the region also need to be improved.

However, as India's economic profile grows, and its industry becomes more competitive globally, there is optimism the relationship will bear fruit.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs