The Narendra Modi governemnt’s rebranded “Act East” policy today came in for praise from a top US official, who said it had moved beyond rhetoric to take shape across the Indo-Pacific region.
“India’s rebranded ‘Act East’ policy has moved beyond rhetoric and is taking shape across the Indo-Pacific through summit-level engagements with ASEAN countries, trade agreements and other strategic investments meant to open new markets in the region,” Neil Kromash, Deputy Director in the Bureau of South Central Asian Affairs at the US Department of State, said.
He was speaking at a two-day conference on building pan-Asian connectivity organised by the Observer Research Foundation and the US consulate.
Kromash said once ready, the projects such as India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway would create additional opportunities for investment, trade and people-to-people contact.
According higher importance to east Asian neighbours, the new Modi government has renamed India’s erstwhile “Look East” policy into “Act East” policy.
“Our message has been consistent and clear – the US will remain a strong and steady partner in bringing the countries of the region together, as well as other stakeholders such as the multilateral development banks and the private sector, to identify where and when our diplomatic engagement and policy advocacy makes the most sense,” Kromash said.
He said that beyond their tangible desire for better regional stability, America’s own economic interests are also at stake.
“Greater linkages in this part of the globe will benefit the American economy and the American people, in the form of growth and jobs,” the diplomat said.
On Sri Lanka, where the January election brought a new government, he said that the US would do all it can to support the new government’s efforts to restore democracy, heal fragile ethnic tensions, and achieve more diversified economic growth.