India-Southeast Asian relations, though longstanding historically, have only begun to blossom in the last decade or so. This is most discernible in the area of defence. Beginning with low-level intermittent bilateral exchanges in the 1970s and 1980s, since India's 'Look East Policy' in the early 1990s, this has now developed and matured rapidly on multiple fronts, both bilaterally and multilaterally. India's membership in the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus Eight in 2010 was an explicit recognition by Southeast Asian states of the rising importance of India as an indispensable and durable player in the new regional security architecture. While debates continue about the motivations behind India and Southeast Asian states’ reasons to enhance their defence ties, what is even more pertinent is the implications of this defence tie-up, especially against the backdrop of the weakening of American military presence and the growing assertiveness of the Chinese. What is the nature of Southeast Asia-India defence relations, the reasons for the growth in ties and more important, the consequences of the defence relations, will be analyzed in this study.
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