India & Neighbours - 2016

Editorial

Today India and neighbours has come to mean   what was once Ashoka’s India  of the third century BC as its benchmark  and the Southern Chola dynasty which built  the first  great seaborne empire to spread India’s  influence to the far east or  far west as the reach of what India’s neighbourhood policy should be. We are everywhere where we have trade interests. Growing the area with roads and rail connectivity will open up the entire area for better trade in commodities, oil and gas. Be it in the west be it Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian Republics. The Chabahar Port Agreement along with other Transit and Transport corridor in the area   will give India access to the Central Asian Region, which is well connected to Europe. It is movement of goods all the way back and forth. Indian Railways are connecting Chabahar with Irarian border town from there to Afghan town of Zaeanj which has connectivity with the whole of Afghanistan. India is pushing its Geopolitical interests on the back of strong Geoeconomics. Also there is a talk of a under-sea pipeline connecting Chabahar with Kandla to evacuate Iranian and Central Asian Oil and Gas. This along with earlier agreements with  Central Asian Republics, which India has signed for the building of the multi-modal evacuation/ transportation  systems for Gas and oil  in the CAR (Central Asiaan Republics)-Afghanistan-Iran-Oman, to get Oil and Gas to India will bring  prosperity to this region.

In the East, it is a matter of time before the 1726 long Stlwell Road built during the World War II is made functional as this road   starting from Assam in India, goes through Myanmar and to China. This will connect to all the important South-East Asian capitals. Entire northern and North-Eastern India will benefit. This will take Indian Goods to South-Eastern markets, while bringing in their goods. It will create employment opportunities in the area. Myanmar, Thailand, Loas, Combodia will be closer to us. Connectivity to export goods by road and rail is the mission of our new neighbourhood policy. This was  a strategic supply route between  India and China, through Myanmar the  road from China up to Myanmar border is fine and functional, through Myanmar up to Assam, will now get going as the government  of India has given up its reservations with its develop the Act East policy.

India is also pushing hard on the India-Myanmar- Thailand trilateral highway, once this highway get going it will bring development to the area as local production  of goods can be easily evacuated to reach all markets in South East Asia .India is also working on Kaladan-multi- Modal link, Transport  corridor  India plans to take this Road/River  linking concept up to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. There will also be a link between Mizoram, Sittwe port in Myanmar and Kolkata by road and Rail, bringing development in this region.

India’s expansion of its geopolitical reach and interaction has never been so far, east or west, north or south. As we grow to be a global power so has our neighbourhood increased to encompass a vast neighbourhood, unnerving and amazing all friends and foe’s. So nimble is India today that an Indian is kidnapped somewhere in the world, the government of India reaches out to get that citizen released. This is remarkable expansion of the government’s respect for its people, unheard of before noted by all our neighbours. The entire extended neighbourhood today receives or it is sending a political/trade mission to India, so fast is the desire to do trade, or expand political interaction, to break out of our containment by ourselves and by others over the years.

Today with  China’s role of trying to be a dominant power  in the South China Sea all look to India, well India is not disappointing with the government of India aggressively following a policy of exporting small arms, ships ,missiles, to maintain peace and at the same time make local  manufacturing units economically viable. Today China realises that India will walk the talk so the massive opposition to block India’s entry into the NSG club, as it will allow India to do nuclear trade, today India is ready to export sophisticated, indigenously developed thorium based green (as there is no Radioactive waste, as used fuel is reused) 700M.W. nuclear power plant cost effective- best in class- a tribute to Indian engineering. We can also export nuclear desalination plants to quench the worlds thirst.

India is in all transportation systems of the area be it Rail, Road or Sea of the area to keep Oil, Gas and Trade going.

This is Taking India as far west as possible, more than it was in Ashoka’s time on the west and  in the East more than what we had during the time of Rajendra Chola.

India & Neighbours - 2016


Modi’s Neighbourhood Policy: An Overview
Prof. R.S.Yadav

In case of China, present regime is following a cooperative- competitive syndrome through enhanced economic ties, on the one hand; and, collaborating with external powers to manage Chinese assertive influence, on the other hand. With Pakistan main emphasis has been to build goodwill and confidence, along with offensive- defense strategies. With proximate smaller states Modi’s is continuing with the past approach of reconciliation and appeasement towards them. In the extended neighbourhood, India is making efforts to develop broader consensus on macro- global issues, on the one hand; and, asserting its position for attaining appropriate place in the emerging multi-polar global order, on the other hand.

You need to subscribe

India and Pakistan Relations through the Prism of Indian Foreign Policy: A Comparative Introspection of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi as Prime Ministers of India
Prof. Tridib Chakaborti and Ms Jhilam Poptani

India’s foreign policy discussion remains incongruous without the mention of India and Pakistan relation. Since independence, both India and Pakistan has been in logger heads with each other and the origin of their conflict is regarding the Kashmir issue. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his tenure had tried through diplomatic ways and bilateral dialogue to resolve the various issues which hinder their bilateral ties. However, his repeated efforts could not fulfill his aim of developing friendly relations with its immediate neighbours. At present our present Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also trying to carry forward the legacy of Vajpayee with regard to India’s relation with Pakistan.

You need to subscribe

India’s Northeast and its Neighbourhood
Prof. Samir Kumar Das

How does one make sense of, understand and interpret India’s foreign policy in general and her neighbourhood policy in particular? While acknowledging that there are indeed many approaches in this regard ranging from the realist and the currently fashionable neo-liberal approach at one extreme to the Marxist one at another (a brand of which even maintains that India’s policy towards the developing world of Asia and Africa is one of domination), in this essay I propose to follow an altogether different route.

You need to subscribe

India- Nepal Relationship: Deciphering the Code
Prof. Snehalata Panda

The blockade following adoption of the new constitution stoked up anti Indian sentiment in Nepal .Instability in the Nepalese territory bordering India might encourage other neighbours to use the terrain for activities adversarial to India’s interests. Trade and commercial relation with Nepal will be hampered .Terai region being the conduit for India- Nepal business operations; a troubled Terai will be unfavourable for congenial bilateral relationship as well as regional stability. In view of these factors India cannot maintain passive indifference but engage Nepal strengthening its democratic institutions and dispelling the misperceptions for the benefit of both the countries.

You need to subscribe

India and Its Neighbourhood Countries - A Concern
Anil Kamboj

The focus of its relations with China should remain on maintaining peace and tranquillity along the border and expanding economic cooperation. Given Beijing’s recent actions on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and Indian membership of the NSG, India should respond more assertively on issues like China’s violations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas. Despite present bonhomie, Moscow and Beijing have historically had ties clouded by rivalries, tensions and mistrust.

You need to subscribe

India’s Neighbourhood Policy: Miscalculations, Mismanagement and Imperatives
Dr. Alok Kumar Gupta

An integrated South Asia shall always be in the larger interest of India. It shall turn out to be an economic giant and attractive for the external powers of the regional as well as the world. However, delineating a more integrated South Asia is no mean task. In the South Asian context, the centrifuge operated by India-Pakistan relations draws the region apart. India at this juncture need to rethink about implanting the ‘Idea of India’ in the heart and mind of leadership as well as people of the region. Undoubtedly, challenges are there before Mr. Modi to reinforce the ‘Idea of India’ by aligning the goals of ensuring that we are the largest democracy of the world and also a global power to be recon with. Such an endeavour will not be successful if Indian leadership fails to be magnanimous in their thought and actions.

You need to subscribe

India in South Asia: Towards a Regional Bulwark!
Sudhanshu Tripathi

Indeed, friendly relations with neighbours are of paramount importance for all countries as that determine a country’s stature and standing not only among its neighbours but also in the world. Obviously, India’s emergence as a regional power and a respected global player depends on its meaningful position in South Asia. Fortunately, the new Indian government under Narendra Modi has taken all-out steps towards forging closer ties with all of its neighbours with a view to establish a strong and effective regional bulwark with their participation and cooperation for ensuring overall progress of the region and also to remove their age-old apprehension about India’s big-brotherly role aim at maintaining its predominance in South Asia.

You need to subscribe

Engaging Myanmar: A Strategic Importance for India’s Act East Policy
Dr. Lungthuiyang Riamei

A country’s foreignpolicy comprises of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations.The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries. In other words, the foreign policy of a country is the sum total of the principles, interests, and objectives which it seeks to promote through its relations with other countries. It is also for influencing and changing the behavior of other states and for adjusting its own activities to the international environment. So the conduct and formulation of foreign policy is governed by the interplay of numerous determinants, institutions, processes and personalities.

You need to subscribe

NDA-II Government’s Nepal Policy: Litmus Test for ‘Neighbourhood First’
Dr. Mohor Chakraborty

With the NDA-II Government’s assumption of office in May 2014, its “Neighbourhood First” policy had indeed provided a niche to Nepal, as borne out by the priority accorded to it through a series of high-level visits/engagements initiated by the Minister of External Affairs and the Prime Minister of India. Unfortunately, this optimistic rhythm received a major jolt by mid-2015, with the deteriorating curve of bilateral ties becoming apparent by the year end. Thus, in October 2015, when the ethnic Madhesis blockaded the Indo-Nepal border for over five months, crippling the economic backbone of the landlocked state, Kathmandu was quick to term the standoff as an “unofficial blockade” by India, alleging New Delhi’s tacit support for the Madhesis.

You need to subscribe

India’s Rising Relationship with Sri Lanka: An Analysis
Dr.Krishnasri Das

A peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka would always be in India’s strategic interest. Sri Lanka is significant for India as it is the latter’s closest maritime neighbor. Last but not the least   India adopts a pro active policy towards Sri Lanka, in order to not only save the people but also for its own security reasons. India’s own growing economic interests in Sri Lanka have also tempered its political activism. In times of crisis, whether political, military, or international, Sri Lanka has generally taken India into confidence for consultation and advice.

You need to subscribe

The Checkered Oregon trail of the India-Pakistan “Bilaterals”: The Rodeo-Role Playing by the Balancer-Player United States
Dr. Manan Dwivedi

The paper provides a historical analysis of the pantheon of years and landmark developments and trail blazing iconic events as they subsumed the American foreign policy since the creation of free nations such as India and Pakistan in South Asia. The delineation of the India-Pakistan’s troubled relationship is not a difficult ask but the extraneous influence of great powers such as United States of America in an increasingly multi polar nature of the international system makes the deft balancing act of Washington, a challenging diplomatic and strategic exercise. Pakistan is a trusted and traditional ally while India has criss-crossed the pathways of “ Allyhood” with its divergent policy responses to Washington’s national interested defined Foreign Policy in South Asia.

 

You need to subscribe

India’s Bilateral Relations with Maldives
Dr.Harish Chandra Behera

India’s bilateral relations with small island state of Maldives have many ups and downs in recent years. Maldives would be struggling with the adverse consequences of climate change and seeking closer ties with India to manage them. India should assist Maldives as comprehensively as possible. The region can progress if the countries of the region create interdependencies and cooperate with each other to tackle common challenges.  India will need a stronger articulation of its vision South Asia. India cannot aspire to be a truly convincing great power until it achieves a better handle on its region particularly with small island state of Maldives.

 

You need to subscribe

India and Bangladesh Relations in the 21st Century: A New Dimension
Dr. Saleem Ahmad

In a nut shell, India and Bangladesh relations have developed rapidly in the 21st century in general and in particularly during the NDA led government under the leadership of the PM Modi who gave a new dimension to the relations between the two countries. But it should be noted that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the leader of Awami League, has shown similar enthusiasm, like PM Modi, to develop India and Bangladesh relations in a same manner. Both the leaders know very well the strength and weakness of their country, and they have realized the need of each other to maintain peace, prosperity and security in the South Asia region.

You need to subscribe

Indo-Myanmar Relations in 21st Century
Dr. Deepak Yadav

Indo-Myanmar relations have suffered through willful negligence in the past. But we should not forget the present that goes back to at least a generation. It indicated that the relationship has been moving towards an upward trend and has experienced a positive peak in the last 4 years. It gained peak during the Manmohan Singh Government and has again gathered momentum during the time of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There is a national consensus now in India on Indo - Myanmar policy but the future relations will depend on the domestic developments within Myanmar. What happens to Myanmar is important to India and the neighbors of Myanmar.

You need to subscribe

India’s Pakistan Conundrum: Exploring realistic policy options in untying this Gordian knot
Dr. Mithlesh Jayas Mukherji

The Indo-Pakistan conflict is the direct consequence of the imbalance of power between the two states and Pakistani non-acceptance of this imbalance. India has always looked upon Pakistan as a sovereign state and has conducted its relations accordingly. It would be an ideal solution if both India and Pakistan could sort out their differences diplomatically and if pressure from the International community as well as Indian / Chinese influence could scale back the military – jihadi elite and promote genuine democracy in the country. This could lead Pakistan to become another Turkey / Germany or Japan in the region and bringing in prosperity to the area. But according to Neo-realists, the gross imbalance between India and Pakistan and Pakistani attempts to balance Indian strength rather than bandwagon it, will not allow any entente to emerge between the two countries.

 

You need to subscribe

Nepal’s Constitutional Contagious Conflict of 2015: India’s Neighbourhood Policy-A Panacea
Dr. Bawa Singh

Nepal has been undergoing a swift and unparalleled transformation in the political arena on account of factors like absence of unity among political parties, inadequate political participation for minority and ethnic people, economic weakness and vested interests of regional and external powers in the country's stability. Since 1950, Nepal has seen six constitutions and last one was promulgated on September 20, 2015 after the seven years grueling efforts of Constituent Assembly-1 and Constituent Assembly-II (2008-2015). The scholars, analysts, politicians of Nepal have been considering it as a very progressive and inclusive document. However, it has proved more contentious and controversial as the one-third Nepalese population (Madheshi people), who perceived it as discriminatory and exclusive one. It has created political paralysis in Nepal creating a lot of contagion effects of cold and cough for India as well.

You need to subscribe

Neighbourhood First: India’s Relationship with Bhutan and Maldives
Dinesh Ahirrao

We can choose our friends, but not our neighbours, so the old saying goes. It is also said that we can change our history but not geography. We cannot unmake it. Fostering good political, social, economic and cultural ties with the neighbours occupy the central place in the arena of diplomacy and foreign policy making and India is not exception to it. Here in India, our foreign policy makers believe that peace, safety, security, stability and overall prosperity in the neighbourhood is sine quo non for the overall development not only of India but also of region as a whole. Needless to say, every right thinking Indian believes that peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood will enable us to focus our energies solely on the foremost goal of socio-economic development of our country and her people.

 

You need to subscribe

Dispute between India and Bangladesh over the uses of the Waters of International Rivers
Sudhir Wadekar

The Ganges River is very important for India, particularly for Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The Farakka Barrage was built for the main purpose of flushing out the silt of Bhagirathi-Hoogly River, through it ships can navigate from Bay of Bengal to Calcutta. Initially Pakistan raised question on the Farakka Barrage. After the emergence of Bangladesh, the Ganges water dispute becomes an important issue between India and Bangladesh. Bangladesh tried to internationalize the water sharing issue.

You need to subscribe

Negotiating China’s Swaggering Rise in Asia: India needs a Multi-Pronged Strategy
Dr. Kamla

India and China are two major Asian powers, vying for a dominant geo-strategic space & say in world affairs, owing largely to their respective sizes of population, area and economic clout. Both the countries are members of BRICS, an association of developing or newly industrialised nations which are distinguished by their large and fast growing economies with significant influence on regional and global affairs. China is also one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.   Since Independence, India’s China policy has witnessed a number of highs and lows in their relations, the hallmark being the boundary and territorial disputes.

 

You need to subscribe