As it feels the effects of the mounting tensions - economic, political and military - to its east between the United States and China, it is increasingly worthwhile for South-east Asia to look west, to the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Key countries in the region have begun to take some tentative steps to widen their economic options and mitigate the security risks.
Last week, Singapore, Thailand and India conducted their first trilateral maritime exercise in the Andaman Sea. The exercise was announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the Shangri-La Dialogue in May last year. But some of the credit for promoting the idea goes to Singapore and its sustained security cooperation with India.