INTRODUCTION strategic shift in India’s perspective of the world.

INTRODUCTION    The main focus of the proposed study is to analyse the Act East Policy in the context of the ethnic mobilsations and assertions in North East India with special focus on Manipur. North East is a region of various ethnic groups where they interact with each other. Sometimes there arise ethnic tensions among different ethnic groups. Such ethnic assertions are visible in Manipur, one of the border states of North East India. This study will explore how Act East Policy whose evolutionary concern is economic interest and security logic interacts with ethnic issues. The Act East Policy The Act East policy was previously known as Look East policy. Look East policy is an effort to cultivate extensive economic and strategic relations with the nations of Southeast Asia in order to bolster its standing as a regional power and a counterweight to the strategic influence of the People’s Republic of China. Look East policy was initiated in 1991 which marked a strategic shift in India’s perspective of the world. It was developed and enacted during the government of Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao (1991–1996) and rigorously pursued by the successive administrations of Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998–2004) and Manmohan Singh (2004–2014).     With  the  collapse  of   the  Soviet  Union  at  the  end  of   the  Cold  War  and  the onset  of   the  era  of   globalization  and  economic  liberalization,  the  need  to secure international   trade  and  encourage  foreign  investments  was  felt strongly  by  nations  all   over  the  world.  The 1990s  was  a  period  seeing  rapid economic  development  and  growth  of   Asian  countries,  especially in Southeast  Asia.  Southeast Asia came to be recognized as region with vast economic  potential   and  the  Indi an  sub¬continent  was  fast  emerging  as  an economic  and  political   force  to  be  reckoned  with.  This is when  the  Indian leadership  came  up  with  the  concept  of   “Look  East” .  India sought to create and expand regional markets for trade, investments and industrial development.  It  also  began  strategic  and  military  cooperation  with  nations concerned  by  the  expansion  of   China’ s  economic  and  strategic  influence. Thus,  from  the  very  start,  India’ s  strategy  has  focused  on  forging  close economic and commercial   ties,  increasing strategic and security cooperation with emphasis on historic cultural  and  ideological   links.According  to  Eric  Koo  Peng  Kuan  (2005),  “The  origin  of   the  ‘ Look  East’   policy arose from  political   consciousness,  focusing  primarily  on  forging  mutually beneficial   ties  between  India  with  South  East  Asia  and  Japan.  At the  end  of World  War  II,  Prime  Minister  Jawaharlal   Nehru  tried  to  engage  Asia  by supporting anti ¬colonial   struggles,  advocating  pan ¬Asianism,  and  a  new international   order  based  on  not  choosing  sides  during  the Col d  War .  It can also  be  said  that  the  ‘ Look  East  Policy’   for  India  is  an  indirect  expression  of wishing  to  return  to  a  continuation  of   India’ s  historical   behaviour . ” However, India’ s  border  defeat  by  China  in  1962  became  a  setback  of   India’s  foreign policies and  was  viewed  as  an  unimpressive  military and  diplomatic performance record  from  the  South  East  Asian (SEA) perspective.  Moreover, India’s pro ¬Soviet attitude alienated it from other SEA countries, culminating in the Indo ¬Soviet Treaty of   1971, which earned India even more distrust. Until   the  1990s,  ASEAN and Japan in general   did  not  share  high  opinions about  India, with not very attractive impressions of   a corrupt government and a population yielding generally poor  work ethics  and  sloth,  resulting  in low  quality  products  and  services¬ a perception that India was determined to change.