India’s Issues With Neighbouring Countries

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india's issues with neighbouring countries

India’s problems in Neighbourhood / South Asian region 

  1. Structural constraints 
  • Dysfunctional region of mistrustful powers—Hostilities, Border disputes
  • India’s structural dominance creates suspicion
  • Rajiv Sikri “A fundamental problem is that S.A’s Pol borders are artificial.
  • Stephen P Cohen— S.A happens to be “the most dangerous place” in the world .
  1. Shyam Saran (How India Sees the World)— The Challenge of Proximity  
  • Physical proximity begets complexities too
  • Peculiar coexistence of deep attachment to India & an equally deep fear of domination by India.
  1. India is part of domestic politics of most regional states where anti-India sentiment used to bolster nationalist credentials

Do India is “losing” its neighbourhood ?


  1. Shyam Saran—Our engagement with neighbours r “episodic & crisis-driven”—If you leave empty spaces someone else will walk in—China seized Opp
  2. S.D Muni—
  • India is loosing bcz of China’s determination to push itself strategically in S.A & India’s attitude of alienating it’s neighbours through it’s flip-flop approach.
  • India’s Muscular diplomacy, Diplomatic intrusions & delivery deficit not allow Neighborhood First policy to flower

No—Harsh V Pant 

  • There has never been a golden period of seamless ties with neighbours—But Going by historical record, Delhi’s regional outreach today is quite promising. 
  • China’s advantage— 
  1. Unlike India, it is not part of domestic politics.
  2. Not have a long-term stake in S.A region—so can afford to ignore it when its interests not served. New Delhi doesn’t have that luxury, as its future & of its neighbours remain intertwined. 

C. Rajamohan

  • Burden of Subcontinent’s history– Disputes on Borders, River,
  • China’s Southward ingress into the Subcontinent.
  • Persistent fallacy in Delhi that neighbourhood is India’s to will
  • Intra-elite conflicts in the neighbourhood.
  • Role of domestic politics in India’s regional policy– TN on SL polciy
  • There is no happy end-state in India’s relations with its neighbours. It will always be about carefully managing the inevitable difficulties that arise. Timely responses to emerging problems, preventing small issues from becoming big, and aligning Delhi’s regional economic policy with India’s natural geographic advantages are some important elements of any successful management of India’s perennial neighbourhood challenges.
  • Delhi has been losing some and winning some at any time in the region.
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  • S. Jaishankar—
  1. “Elimination of terrorism is a precondition not only for fruitful co-op, but also for very survival of region itself ” 
  2. India’s entire neighbourhood “minus one” has been a “fairly good story” of regional co-op
  • Harsh V. Pant—As a bigger regional power, India should make the first move & demonstrate its benevolence