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Politics

Raj Kumar Sharma: India responds to China's growing influence in Southeast Asia

Strengthening ties with neighbors is key to curbing Beijing's ambitions

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, walks with Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, right, and a Buddhist monk at the Quan Su Buddhist pagoda in Hanoi on Sept. 3, 2016.   © Reuters

China's creeping influence in South Asia is raising eyebrows in India, forcing New Delhi to counter Beijing by bolstering relations with Southeast Asian nations through its Act East policy.

The AEP is an upgrade to the country's Look East policy, which was implemented in 1991 in order to strengthen commercial and cultural ties within Southeast Asia. During the Cold War, India's trade in the region was dismal. As the country opened its economy to the world, the LEP was formulated to safeguard its commercial interests.

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