India is the seventh largest country of the world with the area (3,287,590 KM) and its second most populated country with a population of 1.2 billion. This figure shows how huge and big country India is. India shares its boundaries with eight countries namely Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
India is a peace loving country and it has aimed to develop good relations with its neighbours. Since the inception of India’s Foreign Policy, it aims at a peaceful and friendly relationship with its neighbours. The prime minister and the cabinet of India keep changing after every 5 years but the foreign policy of “Peaceful relation with neighbours” is constant.
India is a regional power with the capability of becoming a superpower. It has the world’s eighth largest military expenditure, third largest armed force, and seventh largest economy by nominal rates. Its good and bad relationship with any of its neighbor can affect the global equations.
Let’s study India’s relation with its neighbouring countries.
Post independence, Pakistan used to be a part of India. In 1906 the Muslim League was founded as a forum for Indian Muslim separatism. It was the Muslim League who endorsed the idea of a separate nation for India’s Muslims.
If we talk about the relationship between both of the countries then we must admit that India and Pakistan share a strained relationship. Kashmir is one of the main reasons for a dispute between India and Pakistan. Kashmir conflict didn’t let both nations share a friendly relationship despite the efforts of many Indian Prime Ministers.
The trade relations between India and Pakistan were at a good condition till February 2019. India has given Pakistan the status of ‘Most Favoured Nation’. But if February after the Pulwama attack, India has taken back the MFN status from Pakistan and increased the customs duty on the trade from Pakistan. Although still, the trade is going on between India and Pakistan.
As we mentioned above that Pakistan used to be a part of India before Independence so, both of the countries have commonality in culture. Urdu is the language of Pakistan but many Indians also speak in this language. Indian movies are loved by Pakistanis and Indian also like Pakistanis actors. Although at present the cultural trade is stopped in between both of the countries.
India and Nepal have been a good neighbour. Between both of the countries with a majority of Hindus, an ethnic demographic relationship exists. The citizens of India and Nepal have cross border marriages. India and Nepal share an age-old relation which has been described in Hindu mythology. And at present time frequent high-level meetings make this bind stronger.
Nepal is now a democratic country. India has played an important role in the development of Nepal especially after the massive earthquake in Nepal in 2015, India helped Nepal a lot in the redevelopment work. The flagship projects of Nepal like B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences completed under the Indian assistance. Overall India’s relation with Nepal is friendly and coordinative.
India and China both countries are a part of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India China, and South Africa). BRICS nations represent 40 percent of the world population and they have a share of approximately sixteen trillion dollars as Nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP). China is the manufacturing hub in the world and its a trading relationship with India has effects on the economy of both of the countries.
After independence, India was in a hurry to recognise China as its supportive nation thus it supported China for its entry into the United Nations. In 1962 India had a border conflict between China over Tibet. The war of 1962 with China was a political shock for India. Bur later on the thing will start improving between both of the countries. Still, there are some border conflicts are present between the countries and many dialog happen to remove these conflicts.
China is becoming close to Pakistan and it affects India’s campaign against Pakistan supported terrorism. But still, India could not decide to look at China as a threat or a friend. India imports many things from China and it boosts china’s economy as well. So trade wise both of the countries share a good relationship.
In 1971, the fragmentation of Pakistan happened and East Pakistan got disintegrated with West Pakistan and Bangladesh was formatted. India supported the boiled struggle of East Pakistan of that time. India has some strong geographical, cultural, historical and economic ties with Bangladesh. India and Bangladesh share a relationship of ‘friends of all seasons’. The strategical position of Bangladesh is important for India’s defense at northeasters end.
4 years after the formation of Bangladesh, the country has started to shift towards Islam and it has become a point of concern for India. India is a democratic country and it always supports the democratic values soothe internal stability of Bangladesh is important for India as well.
India and Bangladesh share some conflicts as well. One of them is the border issue between both of the countries. The border between India and Bangladesh got finalised in 1947 and after the formation of Bangladesh, India shares 4351 km long boundaries.
The Indo-Bangladesh border crosses through 5 states and this borderline often used for smuggling. Water dispute of 54 trans-border rivers is another reason for conflict between India and Bangladesh. The illegal immigration issue is another problematic issue for India. Despite the presence of all the above mentioned issues, India and Bangladesh share hood economical relationships.
India and Sri Lanka had a historical and warm relationship during the time of Pt. Nehru as PM. But the racial disturbance affected the relationship between both of the countries. Under the Rajiv-Jayawardana accord, Indian Peace Keeping forces landed in Sri Lanka for performing a peace-keeping operation in Sri Lanka.
This operation had to abort and force was recalled due to criticism at both national and international level. This operation was the reason behind the murder of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. After that India stop intervention in the ethnic conflicts of Sri Lanka. After the end of LTTE and the death of LTTE leader Prabhakaran the trade between India and Sri Lanka start growing. At present India is keeping an eye on China’s overtures in Sri Lanka.
India’s former Prime Minister Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee once said that you can change your friends but not neighbours. So it becomes must have a cordial relationship with all the neighbours. India knows as a peace-loving country, has some difficult neighbours along with a few friendly ones. Having a good relationship with Pakistan has been a challenge for the country so far.
The present circumstances forced India to take some harsh steps against terrorist training camps situated in Pakistan. The step taken by the Indian government was supported by the other powerful nations of the world. To maintain peace in South Asia, India has to tackle its two neighbours very carefully. These two neighbours are Pakistan and China.
To conclude India’s relationship with its neighbour we can say that India doesn’t have a very cordial relationship with any of its neighbour but meaningful dialogue can improve the relationship between India and its neighbour countries.