Northeast India: The Convergence Point of India’s Act East Policy and Japan’s Vision For Free and Open Indo-Pacific
The Indian government announced the Act East Policy in the year 2014. Look East policy was upgraded to Act East Policy which was formed with the main objective to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. This could have been possible only through continuous engagement at multilateral, bilateral and regional levels and by providing enhanced connectivity to the north eastern states. Over the years, many initiatives have been taken by the Indian Government for the development of the north eastern region. However, the region still lags behind compared to national development standards. At the same time, the projects could not materialise or achieve success due to the lack of funds in the country. This is when Japan showed up and became a major player contributing towards the development of the north-eastern region's infrastructural sector. Furthermore, Japan provided easy loans at low interest rates to the country for investing in a wide variety of projects which were undertaken for economic growth. This paper highlights the strategic interest of Japan in the development of the North eastern region and how this has benefitted both India and Japan. The paper also explains the vision of "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" (FOIP) which is crucial for Indo-Japan ties. North eastern region being a critical geo-strategic region for the implementation of FOIP has been the first choice of Japan in this respect. India’s Act East policy and Japan’s vision for Free and Open Indo-Pacific converge at north-east. The paper attempts to throw some light on the initiatives taken by Japan for the development of India’s north-eastern region especially in the light of FOIP and also puts forward some suggested areas on which further projects may be taken up.