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Essay on India and her Neighbours

Essay on  India and her Neighbours


 Essay on  India and her Neighbours 



India occupies a very important position on the world map. Geographically it encompasses a substantial chunk of land in South Asia, with the highest Himalayan ranges to its north and the great Indian ocean lying to its south. In the political sphere, it has carved out an important position in the comity of nations. 


Its bold assertion of espousing the cause of freedom and non-alignment, its clear stance for the liquidation of colonialism and imperialism of any sort and apartheid, and its advocacy of the establishment of just and equitable world order, have all succeeded in making the world realize that India is a force to reckon with and that its policies and practices with regard to other countries of the world have the potential of affecting the destiny of the entire mankind. 



In this context the countries touching its borders on all its sides, that is, its immediate neighbors are affected a lot by their attitudes and professions. They along with India constitute a big sub-continent embracing in its fold more than a fifth of the entire mankind. In international affairs, therfore, this part of the land makes a very interesting study. 


India's immediate neighbors are Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. Ever since the achievement of independence India has endeavored all along to maintain close and friendly relations with all its neighbors. Almost right since inception, it declared its faith in the policy of peaceful co-existence and its commitment to freedom everywhere including its neighbors. 


But unluckily its relations with some of its neighbors have passed through stresses and strains. With Pakistan, there has been all along with a tough sailing, with bloody war breaking out between the two countries immediately after the achievement of independence over the question of Kashmir. Since then three more big wars have taken place between them adding to the acrimony characterizing their relations ever since. 


During the last several years a new wave of acerbity between the two countries has come to the fore. Terrorism in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir is believed to be having links in Pakistan. Evidence of its complicity in aiding and abetting terrorists in both the border states of India has now been established beyond any shadow of a doubt. 


The present Government of India has undertaken to perceive its relations with its neighbors from a new perspective. With regard to Pakistan, it has shown utmost restraint to prevent a major crash. It has mobilized all its channels, particularly the diplomatic channel, to see that relations with that country improve. it has warned Pakistan against any misadventure with her. 


At the same time, it has expressed its readiness to go all out to improve her relations with her. Many dynamic external affairs as well as the Prime Ministers of India took from time to time a set of political initiatives to solve problems with Pakistan through mutual discussions and negotiations. We have offered to Pakistan co-operation in many fields including trade, commerce, and culture. 


Time and again the offer of a no-war pact with Pakistan was an important instrument of the policy of India. The responses from the other side have never been sincere and therefore not encouraging at all. 


Pakistan's harping all along on Kashmir oblivious of the fact that Kashmir's accession to India was total and final and that no sovereign country can compromise on the question of its territorial integrity continue to embitter relations between the two countries. 


Pakistan's hatred of India is not unknown to anybody. Its policy of arming itself to its teeth against India has set off an arms race in the sub-continent, which poses a veritable menace to peace in this part of the world. The former Prime Minister of Pakistan declared that Pakistan would continue to support separatists in Punjab and Kashmir. 


The Musharraf government has shown no sign of change in that policy. Not only are the terrorists being trained in Pakistan, arms and ammunitions are also being supplied to them by that country. Pakistan's complicity in terrorist attacks on Kashmir Legislative Assembly on October 1, 2001, and on the Indian Parliament on December 2001, and again on American Information center at Kolkata on January 23, 2002, is too explicit to be given proof.


The IndoPak Summit of July 15-16, 2001 at Agra proved a failure, that even a joint declaration could not be issued at the end of the summit talks. Meanwhile, Jammu & Kashmir is engulfed in a fresh spate of terrorist violence which does not augur well for the normalization of relations between the two countries. 


Pakistan's proxy war in India and the cross-border terrorism aided and abetted by it must be stopped before any hope can be entertained for the resumption of a dialogue between the two countries. The stand-off between the two countries since the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, sent the tension between the two countries to a new high. 


Both the countries went in for an unprecedented military build-up on the border. But in 2004 Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpai, the former Prime Minister of India proposed to Pakistan to start a dialogue in order to resolve all outstanding problems including Kashmir. The Pakistani President. Mr. Pervez Musharraf accepted India's proposal. 


Thereafter, both the countries took several Confidence Building Measures. Cricket matches were played between the teams of the two countries in an atmosphere of goodwill. Besides, both countries have started a dialogue on various issues. The talks are in a very advanced stage. 


But Pakistan's constant preoccupation with the Kashmir problem is creating hurdles in the way of the establishment of permanent peace between the two countries. But it is being felt that if the talks are continued, the problems can be solved and normal relations between the two countries can be established. 


Sri Lanka was, for all practical purposes, a part of British India and she gained independence only about six months after India did, Albert is much in common between the two countries as regards their civilization and culture. 


India's relations with that country, therefore, sinned on a friendly note. Relations between the two countries started getting soured in the later part of Indira Gandhi's reign because of the suspicion that India had a hand and ethnic violence in Sri Lanka. 


Under compulsions generated by the situation, that country approached India for help and the result was the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of July 29, 1987, under which the Indian Peace Keeping Force was sent to Sri Lanka to maintain peace. Things did not happen the way as expected and India got embroiled with LITE, a warring faction of Tamil extremists. 


The induction of Indian troops was highly resented by Sri Lankan people and they vociferously called for their withdrawal. The National Front Government of India took immediate steps to normalize its relations with its neighbors. 


It reiterated its commitment to respect Sri Lanka's sovereignty and with her troops from there as early as feasible. In keeping with its declared ions, troops' withdrawal from Sri Lanka was completed by March 24. During the Prime Ministership of P.V. Narasingh Rao, things continued as they were. 

In this respect, the present government's policy has registered practically no change. Sri Lanka's en c troubles which were at their climax in July 2001 did strike a responsive chord in Delhi, but the NDA government finds itself helpless to help its neighbor get over the crisis.


 At present the relations between the two countries are normal. India has banned 'LITE' a rebel extremist organization of Sri Lanka, This gesture of India has gone a long way in making Indo-Sri Lanka ties strong.


In the later part of the eighties, Indo-Nepal relations touched a new low. Things grew worst with the termination of the Trade and Transit Treaty between the two countries. 


An undeclared ban on the supply of goods to Nepal added to her people's misery which further soured the relations between the two countries. The National Front government's efforts gave a new ray of hope to good neighborly relations between India and Nepal. 


The Trade and Transit Treaty was revived. The exchange of visits by the Prime Ministers of the two countries paved the way for the normalization of their relations. At present India and Nepal maintain good and normal relations and their mutual co-operation in several fields including technological, economic and trade, commerce and culture are going apace. 


The murder of the royal family including the king himself in June 2001 did raise suspicion, clearly unfounded, about India's role, but the Indian PM's reiteration of solidarity with the people of Nepal helped avert the derailment of friendly relations between the two countries. 


The threat to its sovereignty posed by Maoist terrorism and India's expression of support to Nepal in the latter's fight against terrorism has given an opportunity for the generation of trust and friendliness between the two countries. Both countries' common experiences of terrorism have brought the two countries closer together. 


Now that the monarchy in Nepal is on its last legs and the democratic government has been installed there, further improvement in relations between the two countries is almost a certainty. India and Bhutan are traditional friends. India has all along taken a keen interest in the development of Bhutan. Trade and commerce between the two countries have proceeded unhampered by any restriction. 


During the tenures of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, the traditional friendship between the two countries was augmented. The successive governments since then have been able not only to maintain but to further expand and deepen its relationship with Bhutan. 


Recently Bhutan's unequivocal support to India in its fight against terrorism has gone a long way in deepening faith and trust between the two countries. With Myanmar, India finds hardly any problem. The democratic upsurge in Myanmar was given moral support by India. But she has no intention of interfering in her internal affairs. 


Bangladesh owes its creation to India; therefore, despite occasional flashes of opposition by some of its leaders towards India, relations between the two countries have proceeded by and large on an even level. 


Some outstanding problems like the Farakka barrage, river water dispute, and those relating to the influx of Chakma refugees from Bangladesh to India had the potential of exacerbating relations between the two countries. But diplomacy founded on the good sense in both the capitals averted the crisis. 


The new government is keen to further cement its relations with that country, to solve outstanding issues, if any, through discussion and negotiation. The illegal continued occupation of Indian territory on her northern borders by China is a veritable obstacle in the normalization of relations between India and China. 


The visit of the Chinese Premier to India went a long way in dismantling barriers of mutual suspicion and distrust. India reiterated her stand on the Tibbet issue, which was appreciated by China. Both countries agreed to revive their co-operation in different fields and resuscitate the old spirit of fraternal ties to mutual advantage. 


Both countries realize the fact their happy relations will be beneficial not only to themselves but to the cause of peace and development in South Asia which is going to play a more important role in international politics in the future than Europe ever did in the past. 


India's nuclear explosions in May 1998 certainly inflicted a shock on Indo—Chinese relations & But Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's astute diplomacy rectified things. 


The Chinese Premier's visit to India in January 2002 cleared the clouds of misunderstanding. Chinese Premier's suggestion for further expanding trade and commerce between the two countries and his desire to work with India in close collaboration in the information technology sector, the similarities of views of both countries on terrorism have brought the two countries now much nearer than before. 


In the context of the world that has become unipolar, China and India are now realizing the importance of their friendship. 


On the other side, Russia is well aware of the fact that in the context of the growing power of the USA the Russia-China-India axis can give a strong dimension to regional security.


In the changed world scenario today India has to play a very crucial role. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, the fact of the unipolarity of the world looks straight in the face of the (third) world. 


The Indian subcontinent assumes great geopolitical importance. That is why India's relations with her neighbors will determine the pattern of future diplomacy of different powers. 


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