Southeast Asia and India are geographically contiguous. They share common histories and colonial experiences. During their freedom struggle and later, Southeast Asian countries expected India to support them not only politically but also economically for their development. However, due to various reasons including its preoccupation with domestic problems arising from partition, inward-looking economy, the war with China and in particular the Cold War divisions, India could not take interest in the region. Some of the Southeast Asian countries did not support India when it had conflict with China and Pakistan which made New Delhi to maintain distance with the region. Though efforts were made to evaluate the policy course, some of the developments made both the entities to driff away from each other.
Disintegration of Soviet Union and India’s relation with the US in the post-Cold War period has had a positive effect on India-Southeast Asian relations. Both the entities recognize the importance of each other. The Southeast asian countries have begun to see India as an economic power and have now become a major player in foreign direct investment takes in India.
India is active in setting up regional economic and development groupings like BIMSTEC and Mekong Ganga project. It also aims at developing land connectivity with the region through Myanmar and Thailand. Both Indian and Southeast Asian countries, as this timely volume shows, now increasingly view each other in a more constructive way. The volume focuses on various issues pertaining to relations between India and Southeast Asia.