China and Russia’s outreach towards Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created space for him to explore a new ‘Connect East’ strategy towards ASEAN and seek nuanced ‘strategic autonomy’ in engaging big powers.
Responding to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Southeast Asia, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has articulated a nascent ‘Connect East’ strategy towards ASEAN.
He did not explicitly use the phrase ‘Connect East’ during his visit to Indonesia and Singapore from 29 May to 2 June 2018. But his pronouncements reflect such a strategy as an apparently emerging new dynamic under his ongoing “Act East” policy.
The context is China’s BRI-ambition of seeking full-spectrum connectivity with many countries. Evidently, India is responding through two modest but new aspirations in Southeast Asia – boldness of strategic thinking and a projection of smart power in connectivity-related diplomacy.
The current thaw in China-India engagement at the highest political level seems to have encouraged Modi, for at least two reasons: Read More