Essay on India’s relation with her neighbours.
India is a vast country. She occupies a very strategic position in the South East Asia. With a long history of cultural advancement, India has maintained good and friendly relations with all her neighbours. India has always believed in peace, freedom and mutual co-operation among the nations. Her foreign policy is based on the principles of Panchsheela, non-alignment a disarmament.
India’s immediate neighbours are Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Burma, China and Afghanistan.
With Sri Lanka India has a traditionally good relations. A large number of Tamil of Indian origin lived in Sri Lanka. This created ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. Although the problem of the people of Indian origin settled In Sri Lanka was solved by P.M. Lal Bahadur Shastri in an amicable manner, but the killings of the Tamil in large numbers in that country embittered the relations between the two countries. With the signing of Indo-Sri Lanka Accord in 1987 relations improved. The Indian Peace-keeping Forces have returned to India after having performed their job. Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by LTTE activities put the relations between the two countries in doldrums.
Pakistan has been hostile to India all along. India has always tried to improve and stabilize relations with Pakistan. Pakistan has been acquiring arms and equipments from the USA. India feels that it would create tension in the region. Pakistan is assisting and training terrorists in Punjab and Kashmir. Pakistan has been raising the Kashmir issue on various international forums. India has conveyed her concern to Pakistan over all these issues. India has assured Pakistan that she would never attack Pakistan, but the activities of Pakistan are contrary to the principles of bilateralism enshrined in the Simla Agreement. Thus the relations between India and Pakistan are far from satisfactory.
Bangladesh and India share a common heritage. They are friendly and trying to solve the problem of waters of Ganga at Farakka and Tin Bigha corridor in a spirit of give and take. India has helped Bangladesh in the rehabilitation of cyclone victims in 1985. Broadly speaking the relations between the two countries continue to be cordial. The only issue to be settled is that of about 145,000 Chakma refugees who crossed over to India.
The relations between India and Nepal are based on centuries old cultural ties. India has helped Nepal in her development projects. The trade and transit treaty issue created some differences between the two neighbours. But the issue has since been sorted out. Fortunately there has always been good a understanding between the two countries.
Traditionally close and friendly relations between India and Bhutan have further strengthened. Co-operation in economic field between the two countries has benefited them. India has helped Bhutan in the field of industry. Telecommunications, hydel survey, education and forestry.
India’s relations with Maldives continue to be friendly and cordial. Indian troops landed in Maley in November 1988 and rescued Maldivian hostages who had been seized in a coup. Maldives has been assured by India of her full support and assistance in the economic development.
Burma is a close neighbour with whom India shares a long and sensitive border. Relations between the two countries have been cordial. When serious unrest erupted in Burma in 1988, India expressed sympathy for the democratic aspirations of the people in that country. Further India allowed Burmese citizens to stay in camps in Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
China is India’s immediate neighbour with whom India had traditionally close and friendly relation. In 1962 China invaded India and occupied large areas. Since then the relations between the two countries continue to be strained. India has been trying to improve relation with China. She wants a just and fair solution of the boundary question. China, unlike India, wants to postpone solution to the border issue. With regard to the boundary dispute India’s stand is very clear. In 1988 P.M. Rajiv Gandhi said that any solution to Indo-China boundary issue must be equitable not only to the two government but also to the people of the two countries. Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to China in December 1988 marked a new beginning in the relations between the two countries. It was felt that a favorable climate and condition should be created for fair solution to the question. Visit of Chinese P.M. Li Peng to India in December 1991 helped in creating an atmosphere of understanding. Ail-though co-operation and exchange of delegations in areas like culture, sports and trade has been resumed, but the boundary question remained to be sorted out.
India’s relations with Afghanistan have been marked by increasingly friendly co-operation in economic, technical land cultural fields. India welcomed the UN-sponsored Geneva Agreement on Afghanistan in 1988. She reiterated its stand for a sovereign, non-aligned and independent Afghanistan. She further felt that the Afghans themselves should be allowed to decide upon their future without external pressure. India provided Rs. 10 crore assistance for relief and rehabilitation of Afghan refugees. India is also assisting Afghanistan in public health, small-scale industries, education etc.
India is anxious to have peaceful and friendly relations with all her neighbours. If Pakistan land China see reason and behave as a good neighbor, peace can be restored in this sub-continent.