US India Global Review 2018

ASEAN And India: The China Factor By Tunchinmang Langel ACTING EAST 26 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW APRIL-JUNE 2018 A SEAN celebrated 50 years of its existence and 25 years of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership in 2017. To provide a fillip to India’s ‘Act East’ policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s govern- ment decided to use the occasion of India’s 69th Republic Day cele- brations on 26 January 2018 to invite heads of state and govern- ment of the ten ASEAN countries as chief guests. A commemorative summit on January 25, with all 10 leaders present, is intended to mark the 25th anniversary of the partnership. This landmark event could be viewed as a reactionary measure fuelled by China’s aggressive pur- suit of its global ambitions by changing the status quo from the South China Sea to the eastern coast of Africa and beyond. These perspectives are not wide off the mark since China has made a deep foray into India’s close neighbourhood. It is slowly chip- ping away at India’s influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives with debilitating soft loans and invest- Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, arrive for the 'Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries' on the sidelines of the 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province, China, 05 September 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Wu Hong/Pool