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India & its neighbors.

The country of peace 'INDIA'. Is this the reality? I guess it's not. People around the globe take India as crores of emotional creatures.

Foreign policy of a country cannot flourish with emotions; its foundation must be based on diplomacy which indirectly indicates self interest. Sometimes decisions need to be made which might not be ethically correct but are important for our interests.

India often falls between two stools, and appears neither pragmatic nor principled in its steps.

Issues with our neighbors-
According to our former foreign secretary muchkund dubey the truth is that India faces threats to its security from almost all its neighbors, be it the spillover of domestic ethnic conflicts, large-scale illegal migration or the base they provide for terrorism directed against India. It is well known that India faces security threats from Pakistan and china, and they have been busy augmenting and improving their nuclear arsenal. Now it is well documented that Pakistan has been encouraging and assisting terrorism over the L.O.C in Jammu & Kashmir. Continuous trespassing by the Chinese military in North east is another security worry for India. In some parts of N.E India mobile networks of India do not work but the Chinese networks are quite good. Indian north east has also suffered destabilization by allowing the united liberation front of Assam and other militant groups to operate from its territory with a view to carrying out terrorist activities in India. India is in an urgent need to augment its defense relations with its neighbors.


    In the two decades since the early 1990s when India liberalized its economy, countries like Nepal and Bangladesh have improved their human development indicators at a faster clip than India. Though India ranks marginally high then most of its south Asian neighbors in human development according to the 2014 UNDP report but falls behind most of its immediate neighbors.
    In 1995, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan were languishing far behind India in infant mortality. However, by 2010, all of them except Pakistan had caught up and surpassed India's figure of 48 deaths per 1,000 live births.
    Among the SAARC nations an average Indian is least likely to be vaccinated as a child, and most likely to suffer from malnutrition. And hence has the lowest life expectancy.
    Somewhat unsurprisingly, India also has the worst gender inequality in the region (sharing the 127th place with Pakistan).

India 'a hub for South Asia'. None of our neighbors can interact with each other without traversing Indian Territory except for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Then also India and Afghanistan share a cordial relation, as India is the largest regional investor in Afghanistan.
India's northeastern States would be benefited by smoother access through Bangladesh to the rest of India. This will be a significant development "enabler" for the northeast.
India's security dilemmas and its interest in new sources of oil and natural gas will continue to drive its ambitions towards Myanmar for the foreseeable future. At the same time, China's access to the Bay of Bengal via Myanmar, and the security of energy accessibility via its landlocked southern provinces, make Myanmar an important strategic partner for Beijing. Within this context, deepening ties between India and Myanmar will remain an issue for China. Hence India needs to act smartly in setting bilateral trade with Myanmar.

Bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and India have been generally friendly, but were affected by the Sri Lankan civil war and by the failure of Indian intervention during the Sri Lankan civil war as well as India's support for Tamil Tiger militants. Then also India-Sri Lanka relations have undergone a qualitative and quantitative transformation in the recent past. Political relations are close, trade and investments have increased dramatically, infrastructural linkages are constantly being augmented, defense collaboration has increased and there is a general, broad-based improvement.

After the establishment of a democratic government in Maldives in 2008, India did not waste much time in taking initiatives to strengthen the bilateral relationships .But ever since the Maldives Government prematurely terminated their contract with GMR in December 2012, relations between India and Maldives seem to have deteriorated. China factor has affected the most in this bilateral relation.

India must adopt a legitimate and pragmatic foreign policy that is inclusive of the geopolitical aspirations of all the states in the Union. The rights violations in Sri Lanka and Tibet among our fishermen getting killed, growing terrorist outfits and incursions from Bangladesh and Pakistan: all of which affects the Indian Union directly or indirectly need to be met with a comprehensive and decisive policy as opposed to the whitewash we are having now.

Manthan Sharma

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