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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.