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FOREIGN POLICY:INDIA'S REGIONAL CHALLENGES IN SOUTH ASIA



  May 08, 2024

FOREIGN POLICY:INDIA'S REGIONAL CHALLENGES IN SOUTH ASIA



1. What is the foundation of India's policy towards its South Asian neighbors?

India's policy towards South Asian nations has historically been shaped by the need to maintain influence in the region, influenced by both regional and global political developments. The policy has alternated between realist and idealist approaches, aiming to solidify India's position in South Asia.

2. What significant treaties has India signed with its neighbors?

India has signed friendship treaties with Afghanistan, Nepal, and Bhutan in the early years after independence to maintain close political ties. These treaties were aimed at securing India's strategic interests and fostering good relations with these countries.

3. How has the India-Pakistan conflict influenced regional dynamics?

The unresolved territorial disputes between India and Pakistan, particularly over Kashmir, have led to multiple wars and ongoing tensions. These conflicts have significantly influenced India's regional policy and its relations with neighboring countries.

4. What was the Gujral Doctrine and its impact on India's regional policy?

The Gujral Doctrine, introduced in 1996, emphasized unreciprocated cooperation with neighboring countries like Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. It advocated for mutual respect of sovereignty and non-interference in internal matters, aiming to establish peace and reduce the influence of external powers like Pakistan and China.

5. How has the 'Neighbourhood First' policy shaped India's recent foreign relations?

Introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the 'Neighbourhood First' policy prioritizes security, economics, culture, and people-to-people contact. This policy has led to strengthened relations through initiatives like the ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh and increased developmental aid to neighbors like the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

6. What challenges does India face due to China's influence in South Asia?

China's growing presence in South Asia poses a significant challenge to India. Many of India's neighbors have turned to China to balance Indian power, particularly after India's military defeat by China in 1962. This has led to increased Chinese political and economic influence across the region.

7. What recent developments have strained India-Nepal relations?

India's blockade of Nepal in 2015-16 and the inclusion of the disputed Kalapani region in India's political map have created tensions. These actions were perceived in Nepal as interference in its internal affairs and led to significant diplomatic strains.

8. What are the current issues in India-Bangladesh relations?

The relationship faces challenges related to the National Register of Citizens in Assam, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, and issues regarding the movement of people and cattle across the border. The unresolved Teesta Water deal also remains a point of contention.

9. How should India approach its regional policy to maintain leadership in South Asia?

India needs to engage constructively with its neighbors, avoiding interference in their internal affairs unless it pertains to core national interests. Promoting regional cooperation and addressing hyper-nationalistic sentiments are crucial for maintaining and enhancing India's influence in South Asia.

These FAQs provide an overview of the complex geopolitical landscape in South Asia and India's strategic approach towards maintaining its influence while navigating regional challenges.



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