India defends policy on neighboursAt a time when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticisms at home and abroad for failing to keep cordial relations with its immediate neighbours, a government minister has defended its ‘neighbourhood first policy’.
At a time when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticisms at home and abroad for failing to keep cordial relations with its immediate neighbours, a government minister has defended its ‘neighbourhood first policy’.
State Minister for External Affairs VK Singh claimed that the policy had led to a significant progress in the region. Addressing a seminar entitled “Gateway of India Dialogue”, he said the primary focus of India’s foreign policy has to be India’s neighbourhood—the immediate periphery.
The statement comes at a time when opposition Indian National Congress, observers and analysts are criticising the Modi government for failing to maintain cordial relations with the neighbouring countries. Congress-I has officially said that the Modi government failed to properly handle relations with Nepal.
Especially, Modi is facing criticism for imposing an economic embargo after Nepal promulgated the new constitution. He also faces criticism for failing to better ties with Pakistan and Bangladesh. In his speech on India’s foreign policy, Singh explained about India’s relations with its neighbours. “We have mentioned a new vision to relationship in the region which entails routinised exchanges, greater connectivity, and stronger economic exchanges,” said Singh.
“Our approach has been essentially consultative, non-reciprocal and outcome oriented that lies with our security interests,” said Singh, adding that India’s mantra is of shared prosperity through connectivity.
Singh said India is ready to move forward within the Saarc framework and on issues that see scant progress. “We are open to working with willing partners at a sub-regional level,” said Singh.