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Q. India’s relation with neighbours: Discuss the broad issues that India is facing in its relations with neighbouring countries.
Jun 03, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

India, having long land frontier and coastline, shares its boundaries with Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.  Since independence India always adopted a foreign policy of neutrality and non-involvement. India’s approach towards neighbours is always peaceful and positive. India has always maintained good relations with neighbours. Present government has given high priorities to its neighbours through its neighbour-first policy.

But in the modern geopolitics, to maintain hegemony, competition among counties increased many fold. For example China has posed several challenges for in India in its neighbourhood policy.

Issues-

  • In comparative terms, India lacks the financial resources to invest in crucial projects in neighbouring countries in a sustained manner due to budget constraints and compulsions of domestic priorities. For ex- India has not accepted Srilanka’s offer to build the Hambantota Port some years ago.

  • Many of India’s strategic initiatives in the region often get portrayed in competitive terms, thereby getting into the cross hairs of adversarial/insecure neighbours. For ex- Building of Chabahar port in Iran made Pakistan insecure.

  • India is also facing a problem of attention deficit resulting from an inability to commit diplomatic and political capital to pursue key strategic objectives. For ex- recent developments between India and Nepal created hurdles between both.

  • Many times India’s policy was criticised as unilateral bias in addressing key challenges in the neighbourhood and near abroad.

Solutions-

  • India should adopt a grand strategic approach to addressing key strategic challenges with neighbours.

  • Even India can adopt multilateral approach (instead of unilateral) to tackle the various problems.

  • Also creating regional as well as global consensus on key issues will help India in developing its relation with neighbours and others.

  • For example, India in its effort of reconstruction process in Afghanistan can engage other likeminded countries by taking them on board with respect to several issues.

Conclusion-

Since in last seven decades India has built its good relation with neighbours, but in the present geo-political scenario India needs to more aggressive and should take calibrated efforts to put its imprint. Though present government has prioritised neighbourhood through its neighbour-first policy, but needs a grand strategic approach.


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