The political history teaches us that when a country dominates a region geographically , demographically and economically , the region becomes its backyard. Hence when The United States came up with the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 , no one was surprised . But when a country of India’s size declared a foreign policy based on equality and non interference at the time of independence a few eye brows rose . Nehruvian concept of a free and equitable world order was a revolutionary concept , according to which India would assist its neighbors with all its means in solving their problems without interfering in their internal affairs. Nehru’s vision got its first set back in the war of 1962 and by the time of his death our foreign policy was in disarray. Today if we look around us , we have more enemies than friends in our neighborhood.
so what went wrong? The failure of 1962 and the unprovoked war of 1965 made us realize the futility of an egalitarian foreign policy and the need for self preservation made us assert our stature as the regional power . Pakistan has always seen us as an existential threat , hence it tried to exploit the weakness shown by us during the war of 1962 by invading Indian territory in 1965 making us suspicious of that country’s motive ever since . Hence when the rebellion broke out in the East it was natural for India to support the Mukthi Bahini . The war of 1971 broke whatever trust pakistan had , turning it into our eternal foe . As far as Sri Lanka is concerned we never had a clear policy , we always saw Colombo through a lens that was placed at Chennai . Once we realised our folly we tried to rectify it , but the damage was already done . Bangladesh was supposed to be our friend thanks to our involvement in its birth but with the rise of ziaur Rehman and the Bangladesh National Party we were not able to cope up with the changing scenario and due to our poor judgement we lost an ally . The error in judgement was also the main problem in our relationship with Nepal , which sadly still continues with the madhesi fiasco.
Our failure could largely be attributed to the lack of clear foreign policy doctrine. Once the Nehru doctrine was thrown out we never tried to frame a new one . A country specific approach is one of the steps to rectify our current situation. Using the same yard stick for every country was the biggest mistake as far as our relations with the SAARC countries were concerned. China signing the CPEC with Pakistan must not be equated with Sri Lanka signing a treaty with China or Nepal planning a Railway line across the Himalayas . Sri Lanka is recouping after a bitter civil war and it needs investments from across the globe , Hence that factor must be taken into consideration while evaluating the Sino-Lankan relation and its effects vis a vis India.
Next is to evaluate the political situation in a country thoroughly before interfering or lending support to different groups. India’s policy with respect to President Nasheed of Maldives was such an issue . Tit for Tat cannot yield any results , Pakistan supporting separatists in Kashmir must not make us support the balochi cause . A stable Pakistan is more of India’s necessity than of Pakistan itself. A better judgement could help avert many of such crises.
Lastly we must have a better perspective management system. The cause for every ill in any of these countries is often directed towards us . This has much to do with how those people perceive India . This requires more cultural interactions , but sadly it is one sided with Indian culture being imposed on them , which they see as aggression . A better cultural understanding of our neighbours could go a long way in alleviating suspicions and mistrusts.
According to IMF, India will be the fastest growing major economy next year . This will not only raise our International clout but also make us more vulnerable to the changes taking place in our volatile neighborhood. Our biggest neighbor China is facing the biggest economic crisis since its meteoric rise in the 80s and is expected to slow down to sub 7% levels for the first time next year. Though western experts expect a dystopic future , in reality the Chinese one party system could be stretched to its limits . There could be ruthless oppression in Tibet as the communist party would be needing scape goats to tide over the situation , which could easily spill over into India .Pakistan on the other hand is fighting a civil war with a hydra headed Taliban , which ironically have sympathizers within the government apparatus. A failing state is more dangerous , as it could do anything to take maximum causalities with it as it sinks , which in Pakistan’s case is us.Hence The proxy war and a porous border are bound to frustrate us more and more in the coming years . Bangladesh , a regional success story is in midst of a showdown between two women , who are in no way in the mood to relent. Nepal and Myanmar are in transition while Bhutan and Sri Lanka are on a path of self discovery. Being the only “bright spot” in the region we must be prepared to face the worst.
Bharat mala and Sagar mala are two ambitious projects proposed by the the new central government aimed at enhancing the infrastructure along our land and water boundaries .
The Bharat Mala project plans to build a 14,000 Km long highway along our land border extending from Gujarat to Mizoram on a fast track basis . This is of strategic importance especially along the border with China , which will reduce the chances of a 1962 fiasco from being repeated. It is a known fact that the Chinese are also enhancing the infrastructure along the other side of the border and in many ways this initiative could act as a deterrent for the Chinese. The project is expected to be completed by 2020.
Sagar Mala on the other hand aims at improving the infrastructure along the coast , with ports developed along the modern lines and improved connectivity between them.The modes of communication would include roads, railways, inland waterways and coastal routes. Both these projects aims at garlanding India (Mala) along its peripheries not only acting as arteries for economic growth , but also as a shield to protect us .
Yesterday (6 may 2015) Minister for road transport and highways Mr Nithin Gadkari signed an MoU with Iran to develop the southeastern Iranian port of Chabahar for $ 85 million . This project is expected to increase Indian access to the resource rich central Asia Bye passing Pakistan. Ironically , China is developing the Gwadar port in pakistan , which is 72 km east of chabahar , aimed at turning it into a naval base in the distant future . With these ports becoming operational in years to come their effect on regional dynamics is something to look forward to.
footnote : With two more ports in its neighborhood it would be interesting to find how Dubai , which is basically the gateway to Iran will fare in years to come.
TIMES NOW represents what is wrong with the urban middle class India today-the new post liberalization world where morality and integrity have been sacrificed for wealth and power.
times now started late but soon came to the fore front by a simple trick ‘sensationalism’.the channel is known to see everything with suspicion.even the minutest detail how irrelevant is scrutinized and made into a big issue of mammoth proportion.the anti Pakistan rhetoric that is visible all the time is the major example for its sensational nature.though mumbai attacks were tragic, a war with Pakistan would have been many times a disaster.all the anti china war cry so often heard in it was actually responsible for creating anxiety among Indians in the past few months.
so today on 3rd dec 2009 lets start ‘CLEAN UP TIMES NOW’ (CTN)movement.this is not a movement against times now but against the modern indian mindset.lets all take an effort to bring back the indianness that we have lost.
the new age media trying to win maximum eyeballs sensationalize issues and give it unnecessary importance.while on my way home from college a few days back i heard two old gentlemen taking about politics.they were talking about all sorts of things from PINARAYI VIJAYAN to ACHUTANANDAN.talking about COMMUNISM their talk turned to CHINA and its impending war with INDIA.one of those gentle men were sure about india’s military might and the victory to come.
lets ask ourselves – can we ever win a war with a neighbor whose economy is 4times ours and a military which had defeated us once.through the hype around the DALAI LAMA visit to TAWANG the whole media frenzy have peaked .they misinterpret dalai lama’s comments trying to inflame the situation.it is common knowledge that our previous enemy no 1 have been disintegrating and the media is trying its best to replace it with a new one so as t to get more and more of those nationalist TRPS
its true that china wants India to disintegrate into 30 odd states and is trying hard to do this by supplying arms to north-eastern separatists and the MAOISTS. India on the other hand have been a base for anti china activity for the last half century mainly through the Tibetan lobby.i believe that this year’s riot in XINJIANG will someway or the other have an indian involvement.
but an all out confrontation will cost both the countries dearly.the economic and human cost will be too enormous that it will pull whole of this world into economic stagnation for years to come.the NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST that follows can only be visualised in superlatives.
so it is not only the responsibility of the two countries to act responsibly but also the international community to supervise the situation.lets hope that the media’s thirst for china’s blood slowly subside and peace will reign over the region