Experts call for policy to counter Chinese influence in SE Asia

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New Delhi, Oct 20 (UNI) India's 'Look East Policy' came in for severe criticism from South-East Asia experts at a discussion on Asian security architecture here today who asked New Delhi to devise a policy to counter growing Chinese influence in the region.

Initiating the discussion on 'Regional Security Architecture in Asia:Role of CSCAP in ARF Track 2 Process', at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) here, Prof. Tony Milner, a prominent member of Australia's Foreign Affairs Council, said India could have done ''much better'' while ''deep changes are on the way'' in the region where the security architecture is in a messy situation.

He said India's soft power could have been used for better results.

Prof. Milner, who is Co-Chair of the Australian Committee of The Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) and a key member in developing Trac 2 Australian-ASEAN dialogue, also noted that Russia's strong coming back into international politics in recent years has made the situation much more complex now.

Prof. Baladas Ghosal of the Centre for Policy Research said India's Look-East Policy has failed as it did not matter in the soft power that it could have used to create common linkages among the countries.

India also has no idea as to how to counter the Chinese policy, he noted.

''It (the Look-East Policy) worked more as a fire brigade, more often reacting to Chinese policies rather than being pro-active,'' Prof. Ghosal remarked.

Regretting that India is not taking any initiative to forge cultural linkages with these countries, using the soft power, Prof.

Ghosal stressed the need for 'multi-structured architecture' to address the specific and complex needs of South-East Asia.

UNI RB ARB KN1720

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