India – Looking East, But Long Way to Go
India is finally beginning to flex its muscles and implementing its Look East Policy. The oil deal with Vietnam unfazed by Chinese objection to oil exploration in the South China Sea augurs well. However, China still has the edge in the region. While we may be enthusiastic over the oil deal, the Vietnamese media has given more coverage to the five-day visit of the ruling party leader to China, which has resulted in signing of several five-year deals for enhancing trade ties, training and education and cooperation between the Communist parties of both countries. India needs to be more proactive in the region and engage in long term relationships to strengthen its strategic interests, and to balance the growing Chinese influence. The India-Vietnam Friendship Year 2012 provides an opportunity for the country to enhance ties and reach out to the people of the South-East Asian nation.