Pranjal Kumar Phukan
From the prehistoric days, India has had trade and cultural relations with West Asia, Rome, China and South Asia. India’s size, population, educated middle class, industrial base, military strength, technical capability, ancient cultural relations with Southeast Asia, and the presence of non-resident Indians (NRIs) are factors in India’s favor. However, New Delhi’s neglect of the region from late 1960s, and the low priority accorded to it by the non-Indochinese countries of South Asia changed after the end of cold war has not allowed both India and the South East Asian region to capitalize much on the significant resource-base and potential for growth and development they both possess. Now is the time, when the renewed Indian interest evident in its ‘Act East’ policy combined with the increasing disenchantment with the Chinese in the South East Asian region, can bring these two economic power houses together.