Looking East to Look West|
Sunanda K Datta-Ray
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When P.V. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh launched Indiaâ€™s â€˜Look Eastâ€™ policy, it was only the first stage of the strategy to foster economic and security cooperation with the United States. But â€˜Looking Eastâ€™ became an end in itself, and Singapore a valid destination, largely because of Lee Kuan Yew.
He had been trying since the 1950s to persuade Indiaâ€™s leaders that China would steal a march on them if they neglected domestic reform and ignored a region that India had influenced profoundly in ancient times. With his deep understanding of Indian life, close ties with Indiaâ€™s leaders from Jawaharlal Nehru on, and sound grasp of realpolitik, Lee never tired of stressing that Asia would be â€˜submergedâ€™ if India did not â€˜emergeâ€™.
Looking East to Look West recounts how India and Singapore rediscovered long-forgotten ties in the endeavour to create a new Asia. Singapore sponsored Indiaâ€™s membership of regional institutions. India and Singapore broke diplomatic convention with unprecedented economic and defence agreements that are set to transform boundaries of trade and cooperation.
This book traces the process from the earliest mention of Suvarnabhumi in the Ramayana to Lee Kuan Yewâ€™s letter to Lal Bahadur Shastri within moments of declaring independence on 9 August 1965, from the Tatasâ€™ pioneering industrial training venture in Singapore to Singaporeâ€™s Information Technology Park in Bangalore. It explains the part Lee played in Indiaâ€™s emergence as a player in the emerging Concert of Asia.
History comes alive in these pages as Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, who had eight long conversations with Lee Kuan Yew, tells the story in the words of the main actors and with a wealth of anecdotes and personal details not available to many chroniclers.
About the Author
SUNANDA K DATTA-RAY'S forty-four years in journalism span England, India, the US and Singapore. He has been editorial Consultant to the Straits Times groups of newspapers in Singapore, Editorial Consultant to the straits times groups of newspapers in Singapore, Editor-in-Residence at the East-West Center, Honolulu, editor of the statesman (Calcutta and new Delhi). His columns appear regularly in the telegraph, Business Standard and Business line and in the International Herald Tribune, and he writes essays for Time magazine.
The author of two books-Smash and Grab: Annexation of Sikkim and Bihar Shows the Way- he received the Freedom of Information Award in New Delhi in 1990. He was elected Visiting Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 2001-2002, and is now senior fellow in Nanyang Technological university's School of communication and Information, Singapore.