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India and Neighbours

Mains- GS-2-International Relations

To strengthen its place in the world, India is focusing on positioning itself in the immediate neighbourhood.

Why is it necessary? 

1. Ties with South Asian neighbours were a priority even earlier, as seen in the invitation extended to SAARC leaders to attend Mr. Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in 2014.

2. After that, India’s relations with Pakistan soured, while China continued to expand its footprint in Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

3. So to counter the expansion of Chinese power in its sphere of influence, India has revitalised its ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’.

What are the shifts in the policy?

Neighbourhood will continue to be the priority, but 4 subtle elements are being introduced in the policy matrix.

 1. Principle of proactiveness: Without always insisting on reciprocity, India may get into a proactive mode and adopt measures to incentivise cooperation in the neighbourhood.

2. Work on quick impact projects in the neighborhood that will bring socio-economic benefits to the people.

3. Funds: Recognising its limited capabilities, India may forge a trilateral development partnership, involving India and Japan in a neighbouring country.

4. Conscious shift from SAARC to BIMSTEC:

a) India sees potential in the latter grouping.

b) It could also rope in Maldives into BIMSTEC, at least as an observer. Thus, achieve its Pakistan less objectives.

Source: The Hindu