India and East Asia: Will Science and Technology bring them closer?
NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 3 | Author: Sandip Kumar Mishra | February 23, 2016
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To cite: Sandip Kumar Mishra. India and East Asia: Will S&T bring them closer? NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 3. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, February 2016, available at http://isssp.in/india-and-east-asia-will-science-and-technology-bring-them-closer/
India has been getting increasingly connected to the East Asia in recent years. It began with the adaptation of Look East Policy by India in the early 1990s, which has both broadened as well as deepened with its new version of ‘Act East’. A vibrant India, with a confident agenda for domestic economic growth and development along with vision for a stable regional architecture, has been reckoned positively by the countries of the region. These countries are thus looking forward eagerly to connect India also with their own plans and vision for the future.
India is now seen as land opportunities because of its liberal pluralistic values, democratic political order, open market economy, big market, and huge source of natural and human resources. The economic and military capacities of India is based on its spectacular performance in the field of science and technology and thus Japan, South Korea and even China have been looking forward to forge cooperative partnership with India for the future.
There are several political contests among the countries of the region, which could be source of instability and frictions. India, therefore, has to carefully avoid them because they may possibly derail the process of economic and social development in the region and also adversely affect India. India must have to bring economic cooperation and exchanges with these countries at the centre-stage and bring in ‘new agenda’ items, which would make cooperation possible among these countries and also with India.
The new agenda could consist of issues like green growth, use of space technology for agriculture and other safe navigation purposes, joint research on agricultural technology to enhance yield and nutrition, join research to make IT and related technologies more widespread and enhancing human development. India and East Asia may connect to each other by further enhancing their cooperation in disaster management, eradication of diseases, working on climate change, and several such agenda items, which are common concerns of all these countries. It would be most viable strategy to shift the focus in these countries from political rivalries to cooperation in the field of science and technology.
India has been engaged with the East Asian countries, especially Japan and South Korea in these future-oriented areas for some time bilaterally. The process must be further strengthened and hastened along with bringing multilateralism also in the process. A positive, constructive and inclusive agenda shared by these countries and India would be able to subside the political animosities among these countries and India along with these countries needs to work for it.