US India Global Review 2018

24 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW APRIL-JUNE 2018 smart cities, Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the Shinkansen bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. All these initiatives witnessed a pro- nounced push during the recipro- cal visit by Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to India in December 2015. Another key strategic partner for India in its AEP purview in the Indo- Pacific region is Australia. India has signed the historic civil nuclear agreement, an agreement which will prove to be immensely beneficial as India seeks to enhance its energy generation from nuclear reactors from the current 5,000 MW to 62,000 MW by 2032. PM Modi's bilateral visit to Australia, following his partici- pation in the Group of Twenty (G- 20) Meeting in Brisbane in November 2014, was the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 28 years. India has also left no stone unturned and has successfully reached out to the Pacific Island nations as well. In 2014, PM Modi visited and interacted with the 12 leaders and representatives of the Pacific Island nations. It was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 33 years. The visit was followed by a conference in India with 14 Pacific Island countries in August 2015. India’s AEP received a renewed push with the visit of past US president Barack Obama to India, and this is how the India – US joint statement, “Shared Effort: Progress for All”, read: “Noting that India's Act East Policy and US' Rebalance to Asia provide opportunities for India and the US and other Asia Pacific countries to work closely to strengthen ties.” True to this, the leaders announced a joint strategic vision to guide their engagement in the region. It will however be notewor- thy to see how best the Trump administration takes this vision forward in the region. These significant developments show how much India is doing to fulfill the imperative of ‘acting east’. Although there is more to be done in concretizing the policy, India has moved beyond the norm of limited engagement and given its relations with ASEAN countries and other partners in the Indo- Pacific region, enough scope by furthering vital economic and strategic dimensions of its AEP. By acting east and prioritizing its deeper engagement with the region, India will seek to fulfill its broader strategic objectives of balancing against China’s increas- ing presence in the Indian Ocean and carve out a prominent role. Sudarshan Ramabadran, Deputy Director with India Foundation, a New Delhi based think tank. Member of Tamil Nadu Young Thinkers Forum | Published with permission from the author and Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C. PM Narendra Modi at the Plenary Session of ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, in New Delhi on January 25, 2018. Photo: PIB

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