INDIA ROLE IN SAARC

SAARC was established in December 1985 during the first SAARC summit that was held in Dhaka. After gaining independence from the British rule , India adopted the policy on National Self Reliance and next formed SAARC along with 6 other member nation of south asia : Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, India and Srilanka.

India offers a great source of potential investment in terms of trade and commerce as it is the sole SAARC member to be sharing borders with all 6 members via land or sea.

Prime objective: Prompting the welfare of the people of South Asia, accelerating economic growth and social progress. Major hindrance: Powerty ; India offered a contribution of US $ 100 million at the 12th summit held at Islamabad in 2004.

India has proposed setting up of climate innovation centres in South Asia to develop sustainable energy technologies.

India announced, ‘’ India Endowment for climate change ‘’ to help SAARC members meet their  urgent adaption and capacity building need posed by the climate change.

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E-COMMERCE: OMNIPRESENT FRIEND IN GUISE!

E-COMMERCE: OMNIPRESENT FRIEND IN GUISE!

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We are a generation that lives not by its words but by their Facebook statuses. There are so many rags to riches stories that we have heard that everybody dreams of a future as Mark Zuckerberg or the next Steve Jobs, but, not everybody wonders what helped them make so much money. Back in the time of nineties, a young IT expert actually did dream it up and today we live in an age where advertising, passing on goods and posting customised Ads did make quite a few millionaires, Michael Aldrich did dream of E-Commerce and here it is, now.

E-Commerce, or Electronic Commerce, as is known is the practice of carrying out commercial activities via the internet and not just the personal desktop but through that has the ability to access internet. Secured by the HTTP and backed strongly by the credit card companies and banks, E-commerce is diving head first in a world where the spending potential is boundless and the technology, more than perfect for the need. E-Commerce involves the business transactions, of services or goods, plus or minus credit, within or around the industry, basically divided into the four types; B2B (Business to Business), B2C (Business to Consumer), C2C (Consumer to Consumer) and C2B (Consumer to Business). The types, self explanatory as they are have evolved to be quite helpful and sturdy in their dealings, especially the first two which have been in the market for very long. C2C can be easily understood by drawing parallels from an auction house where personal belongings are sold, in this case, the Amazon and other setups like that function as the auctioning ground. C2B is the least famous form of E-Commerce where the buyers are free to quote the price they are interested in paying for goods or services and companies bid accordingly.

What really sets apart E-Commerce from the traditional window shopping in the sun is the Sun. Pardon the pun, the fact is E-Commerce is convenient, available 24*7 just a click away, has a lot more variety and appeal (sometimes even cheaper), moreover, with the high security and ease of payments with the help of multiple options (cash on delivery included), it is here to stay and has a long way to go, quite a long way.

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Recent Developments in Indo-China Relations

xi-modiRecent developments have , in fact, caused a shift in the realm of Indian diplomacy towards China, from blind optimism to cautious pragmatism. This article attempts to trace a picture of the current developments in and the challenges facing  Sino-Indian relations in the present globalised world order. 

To better understand Indo-China relations in the present global scenario, it would be in order to take a few steps back and examine from a historical point of view, exactly why relations between the two countries have always seemed so strained and fraught with tension. This can be examined under certain broad headings, as follows. 

1) The Border Question: To begin with, both nations drew different conclusions out of their experiences of colonial domination. While India, under Nehru, chose to adhere to its colonials bequeathed borders, the new Communist Chinese leadership refused to accept the advances the British in India had made into the far reaches of what they believed was clearly Chinese territory. Thus, almost immediately after India’s independence in 1947, and the Communist takeover in China in 1949, the two nations were fast, and perhaps inevitably, hurtling into tumultuous relationship, with the border dispute being a constant irritant and obstacle as far as any sort of reconciliation was concerned. 

2) Tibet- while the border issue has remained more central to India, the concerns over Tibet have always been more pertinent for Beijing. India had to concede its privileges in Tibet to China, post its independence as granted by British administrators, which included the right to maintain a small diplomatic mission in some Tibetan territories. When China invaded and occupied Tibet in late 1949, the Indian leadership remained silent of that, too, fearing Chinese belligerence towards their own borders, which was to be avoided at all cost in the Cold War conditions of the time. 

What then irritates China is the presence and putative activity of thousands of Tibetans and their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama in India, and India’s tacit support to Tibet in granting this political asylum. The two nations went to war in 1962 over Tibet, and have since been at odds in this respect.

3) The Pakistan Factor- China, sensing the presence of a viable buffer to India’s strengthening position in the subcontinent, in the geographically vast and populous nation of Pakistan, moved to make clear overtures to the country’s leaders in a bid to win them over. Pakistan, with the animosity towards India that it had inherited at its very inception, was ideal to keep India tied up in conflict and to prevent its ascent, especially as a nuclear power in Asia.

Post the war of 1962 and the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, China has aided and assisted Pakistan financially and supplied it with nuclear materials and technology for its nuclear capability programme, as a deterrent to India. 

The defeat of 1962 meant that India has to concede 14,000 square kilometres of territory to China, and ever since China in a package deal, has offered to relinquish the regions it occupies in Aksai Chin in exchange for the regions of the North East Frontier Agency,  now the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. 

Thus, relations between the two countries have always been strained given these contentious border and territory issues and lack of clarity and agreement on the Tibetan region, despite India’s recognition of Chinese occupation of Tibet. The two countries constitute the most populous nations of the world, and in 2028, India is expected to overtake China. They are also two of the world’s most economically intriguing nations, with economies that have shown tremendous growth and potential. Both also have demonstrated nuclear capability. These, among many other geo-political and strategic factors, are a cause for concern for much of the world, especially the West that has begun to lag. Peace between the two nations, and in the South-Asian region is not only a matter of convenience, it is now a necessity. Therefore, the recent breakdown of relations and Chinese incursion into Indian territory has raised an alarm calling for a more concerted approach by Indian leaders towards its seemingly intractable neighbour

China, being the larger nation, and the economic power it is, has fears of encirclement by other powers, especially the erstwhile global hegemon that is the United States of America. It fears India’s compliance with such a plan, especially given the Indo-American Civilian Nuclear Deal. The need to contain India is thus more urgent than ever.

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ELECTORAL REFORMS IN INDIA

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This year, the world’s largest democracy will undergo a test of its strength in the Lok Sabha elections. Elections are the strongest feature of any democracy and the most basic requirement of honest representation in a nation, as long as they are free and fair. This is where India falls short. But India’s first election commissioner, Su kumar Sen, noted that this was not an easy task. Given the geographical, political and social circumstances, the electoral process requires constant improvements for which electoral reforms are mandatory to make India successful democracy.

The problems ailing the Indian electoral system are many and diverse. But steady reforms to overcome each of them would pay rich dividends to India’s democracy.

The foremost problem is the lack of honest representation because of poor voter turnout. The major worry is that half the country has no say in the nations policies since only half of the population votes. The primary reason for this is the lack of interest in public affairs. If a substantial part of the population is working to meet their basic needs, it can’t be expected that voting would feature in their priorities.

Some proportion of citizens claim to have lost faith in the political parties and their candidates. Gurudas Gupta, a present member of Parliament points out that about 58% of Lok Sabha members are crorepatis and 76 members have court cases pending against them. Thus, it is no surprise that people doubt the integrity of candidates. Criminalization and the excessive use of money have marred Indian politics. Unfortunately, the possibility of making money, serves as a strong pull for people to join politics. This causes a decrease in the public exchequer and poor development in certain constituencies. But the most negative impact caused is the loss of faith among citizens who want to join politics as a service to the country’s development.

Other issues such as rigging the electoral roll, tampering with voting machines and voting on behalf of someone else’s identity undermine the quality of elections.

The need for electoral reforms is evident. It would not only lead to a greater representation of the number of people but also qualitative improvement in the conduct of this practice. Irrespective of people’s socio-economic inequalities, their worth (politically) in our society will be the same for one day at least. Cleansing the system, increasing transparency would increase people’s faith in this activity that would further inspire people with honest motivation and high credibility to join politics.

The election commission has realized this and over the years brought about significant reforms such as the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) to reduce the human error and tampering. Similarly, there have been instances when the judiciary and the legislature have brought in certain reforms.

In the run-up to the 2014 LokSabha elections, three particular reforms have come into discussion. These are- the addition of the ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option, six national parties which have come under the purview of the Right to Information Act and the Representation of People Amendment and Validation) Ordinance which was taken back.

A recent Supreme Court judgement requires the Election Commission to include a NOTA option in the EVM’s and ballot papers since it would lead parties to choose better candidates. This would allow participation of voters who want to be involved in the political process but don’t want to vote for any candidate. It would help better classify between voter and non-voter categories. This classification would help come out with more reforms targeted towards the non-voters. Though it is a very positive reform, there is a requirement to further this reform. As L.K. Advani, a senior politician points out, that selecting the NOTA option merely means not choosing a candidate and doesn’t apply to the rejection of candidates. This is because a person might select the NOTA even if he is confused between candidates.  He recommends that NOTA should mean the rejection of each candidate in order to represent the exact number of voters who are dissatisfied with the quality of candidates. This would encourage parties to improve their candidates. Even without adding this provision, the NOTA is still a progressive reform. It will discourage voters to sit at home and not vote if they are dissatisfied with the candidates.

The NOTA option reform came about without much debate, but the other two reforms have been very controversial.

The SC gave a decision to put six national parties under the purview of the RTI Act since they are largely publicly funded. Till then, the political parties had to inform the government of any donations which were larger the Rs.20,000. It was widely believed that the parties had found ways to dodge this. After this move, the entire accounts of these six parties will be available to the public.

The parties arecontesting this reform by saying that this would reveal certainaspects of their strategy that should remain within the party. Now, a committee has been set-up to give its recommendation on the matter.

The SC carried out the third reform on10th July 2013 as it struck down a section of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951, which allowed immediate disqualification of a MP or MLA who has been convicted in a crime.

To counter this, the cabinet passed the Representation of People (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance which would protect these convicted MP’s and MLA’s, if they appealed within three months of the conviction and their appeal is admitted by the by the higher court. This ordinance nullified the reform that was made by SC’s judgement.

But soon a controversy gave way to this ordinance being taken back.

These three recent reforms have all been based on a Supreme Court judgement. It needs to be a combined effort by the legislature, judiciary and the election commission to guarantee free and fair elections to further ensure that India becomes a successful democracy.

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GD/WAT Topic for IIFT, XLRI, IIMs, SIBM, and other B schools- Trends In India’s Foreign Policy

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India is rising and so are its international profile, engagements and obligations  growing significantly.With time,comes new,challenging and critical demands on India from international community which arouse and strain, India’s aspirations and legitimate interests. There comes the need for charting the India’s foreign policy and the position that India should take, or not take, on specific issues.

Fighting three wars with Pakistan in the west due to the conflicting claims to the state of  Kashmir,loss in 1962 war with China in the North over a long disputed border,China’s nuclear tests and its supplying of arms to Pakistan exacerbated Indian insecurity.India pledged itself to non alignment on the international stage and it diluted its non-aligned stance in the 1970s by developing a special relationship with the USSR which bestowed India with diplomatic support over issues such as Kashmir.

India steadily drifted towards the Soviet Union and its relations with all the other major centres of power –the US, Western Europe, China and Japan– remained underdeveloped during the cold war.And now  India and the US are  locked in an unprecedented engagement, at once intense and expansive. Beijing is now India’s largest trading partner in goods after the prolonged chill in India’s bilateral relations with China from the 1960s to the 1980s,  and while it is building strategic partnerships with the EU and Japan, India has also managed to hold on to its special relationship with post Soviet Russia.

Foreign direct investment was not encouraged as in 1990 it amounted  only to a few hundred  million dollar.In 1970s the expulsion of  IBM and Coca cola,was viewed as a progressive step encouraging economic self sufficiency.Perhaps,this was a natural fear in a country that had been colonized by a commercial enterprise i.e.,the East India Company.In 1993,China signaled a shift from its long standing tilt on Pakistani side on the Kashmir issue which improved its relations with India.

India has seen significant changes in its international and domestic environment over the past few decades which has challenged two basic foreign policy premises.First,the creation of a centrally directed economy has been emphasized, which would be designed to develop the industrial and technological capabilities with minimum foreign investment and maximum self reliance.Second,the need and desire to maintain a nonaligned foreign policy that evolved into a close relationship of convenience with the USSR.

Going back to 2000, President Clinton’s five day visit to india and Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee’s reciprocal visit to U.S. threw the light on a much improved bilateral relationship.Apart from this, the hearing that the Vajpayee government gave to the deputy secretary of the U.S. state department,Richard Armitage was the indicator of continuity in the improved relationship.These official visits drew attention to a crucial reorientation of Indian Foreign policy.During these visits,the Indian side stressed on Indian business and the economy and the importance of close relationships with countries that would help it grow economically.

A  new  trend  is  emerging  in  Indian  Foreign  Policy  with  New  Delhi  becoming major development partner for many countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia & Africa.

Regardless of the change with time, the foreign policies of large countries like India are always based on a set of core values. The usual turnover of governments and leaders have no effect on them and nor do they alter much over time. The commitment of India to internationalism, independence of judgement in the conduct of external relations, support for world democratisation and contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security are legacies of India’s national movement.

In the 21st century,India’s foreign policy will remain rooted in these core values, but Delhi must necessarily adapt to changing external circumstances and its shifting domestic needs. Its main purpose, however, will remain the same: the creation of a favourable external environment for the rapid improvement of the living standards of the Indian people.

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GD/WAT Topics of B-schools (IIFT, XLRI, IIMs, SIBM-P etc.)

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As we are done with most of the entrance examinations for various B-Schools, let’s not just waste time waiting for the results.

Here are some of the GD/WAT topics that have been asked in the previous years of various B-Schools 2nd phase of shortlisting.
We would be also posting important points on each of these topics that should be covered while you are in a GD or writing the Essay (Written Ability Test).
You should bookmark this link so as to be updated with these topics as the GD/PI stage holds a lot of importance in your final selection.

As IIFT was the first b-school to declare it’s result and shortlist, here we are posting the GD/WAT topics asked in IIFT in the previous years.

  1. Twenty years of liberalization: India’s Balance sheet
  2. Personal gadgets and their effect on social fabric
  3. MBA course should focus more on soft skills
  4. Conflict between “development” & “environment”
  5. Food safety : essence & execution
  6. A strong legislation needs an effective implementation
  7. Commercialization of Health sector in India
  8. More Indians have a Mobile than a Tooth- Brush.
  9. India’s economic performance has been overstated in the past one decade.
  10. Commercialization of Education Sector in India.
  11. Should Reality TV shows involving children be banned?
  12. Should we be actually alarmed about climate change or is it just an over-hyped affair?
  13. Petroleum subsidy: should it be removed or continued?
  14. Should genetic engineering of plants and animals be banned?
  15. Should we be actually alarmed about climate change or is it just an over-hyped affair?

Keep visiting our website for more such topics and pointers on them of other B-schools like XLRI, IIMs, SIBM-P and various other colleges through CAT, XAT, NMAT and SNAP.

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Important pointers on Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility: A marketing gimmick or a boon for the society???

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate consciencecorporate citizenshipsocial performance, or sustainable responsible business/ Responsible Business)  is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. It is a process with the aim to embrace responsibility for the company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere who may also be considered as stakeholders.

It can also be reffered as a framework for measuring an organizations’ performance against economic, social and environmental parameters. Building a sustainable business which need healthy economies, markets and communities. It is recasted as “responsible business” with a set of voluntary guidelines for firms by the Indian Government. It tried to make it mandatory by making it a compulsion for companies to spend 2% of their profits on CSR. But due to strong criticism, it gave up effort and and made it mandatory for only a particular class of companies (with profit >5 crore)

Economic and Social Benefits :

Triple Bottom Line : People relate to fair and beneficial business practices towards labour, the community and region where corporation conducts its business. Planet refers to sustainable environmental practices. Harmful or destructive products such as weapons, toxic chemicals or batteries containing dangerous heavy metals are not produced by a Triple bottom line company..Profit is the economic value created by the organization after deducting the cost of all inputs.

Human Resources : Questions about a firm’s CSR policy are often asked by potential recruits during an interview, and having a comprehensive policy can give an advantage. The perception of a company among its staff can also be improved by CSR, particularly when staff can become involved through payroll giving, fundraising activities or community volunteering.

Risk Management 

Brand Management : In crowded marketplaces, companies strive for a unique selling proposition that can separate them from the competition in the minds of consumers. CSR can play a role in building customer loyalty based on distinctive ethical values.

Employee Engagement : 86% of the engaged employee are happy at work in such companies.Employee turnover reduces by 87%, improved performance by 27%.

Environmental Impact : The degradation of environment can be restricted to some extent by CSR.

Political Impact : The companies can influence the political views by supporting a definite cause. It can act as a platform for healthy revision of policies through ideas of working class.

Good Examples : ITC launching the e-choupal where the rural families get directly linked with large multi business conglomerate via the internet for procurement of agricultural products like wheat etc. Upto date marketing and agriculture information, thus they get fair prices.

6500 echoupals in operation. 🙂

Tata, Wipro, GE, Reliance are some companies heavily involved in CSR.

Research in Netherland states that people are ready to pay 10% more for a product or service from a CSR oriented company.

CSR basically helps in improving the image and brand value of a company which helps a great deal in improving the share prices of the same.

MISUSE OF CSR 

Sometimes it is used just as a “marketing gimmick” for the companies that are only interested in profits. Thus it is misused as a tool for “sales promotion”

Examples : For years the company British Petroleum was heavily involved in CSR activities by engaging in green activism and philanthropy, but on the other side it was continuously discharging it’s wastes in a river and thus ruining the bird and marine life as well as the livelihoods of fishermen and beach hotels. It then changed it’s name to “Beyond Petroleum” and BP China won the “The Most Responsible Enterprise”award. In 2005, a poorly maintained BP refinery exploded in Texas, killing 15 and injuring 180. In 2007, a BP pipeline, corroded through neglect, leaked 200,000 gallons of crude into the pristine Alaskan wilderness. The company paid a fine of $303 million to settle a charge that it had conspired to manipulate the price of propane gas.

All of us know about the company Satyam that was involved in a lot of CSR activities but under the garb of such activities the company was involved in unethical activities.

Countries that have implemented CSR

1) Denmark  was the 1st western country to mandate CSR in annual financial reports of companies.

2) Indonesia passed a law that required all public companies to issue CSR reports.

3) U.S based public companies have to regularly disclose climate related risks in their annual reports.

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A glimpse of the past- WAT/PI experience at IIM Calcutta

IIM

Preparing for the second stage of the admission process including PI/WAT, its important to have an analysis of the trends observed in the PI/WAT process over the past years at IIM Calcutta

WAT

Average Duration: 20 mins

World Limit: 200 words

No. of Panelists: 3

WAT topics over the past years

Politicization and Commercialization of sports – reality or fake?

Modern life has corruption, how will a honest man go up as businessman or as a civil servant?

Case studies suggest that enrollment in increasing in Indian schools & that India ranks 2nd from bottom in reading and math abilities. How would you explain the contribution of B-schools?

Is reading no more a leisure thing? How has the advancement of technology affected the concept of leisure?

Do women in the 21st century still face a lot of barriers to rise to senior management positions?

Give your views on book launches, social hype around books and bestselling novels.

Unhappy is the country which has no leaders.

Has the definition of heroes changed? How about heroes in India. Give your opinion.

Suicides in colleges are on an increase. Analyze and give comments regarding this trend. How would you act to counteract this?

People are not taking care of their old. Suggest how we can save our old.

Affection leads to infection

Devil is in the details

Small is beautiful

Bharat vs. India

BPO is primarily profit driven

It’s the time for Underdogs

Monopoly leads to constraint of freedom.

There is always a tomorrow.

Gandhi v/s. Gandhi.

Only poor people are responsible for their poverty.

Should there be international men’s day?

33% Reservation for woman in jobs.

Personal Interview

Average Duration: 30 mins

No. of panelists: 3

PI experience of a student

ABOUT YOURSELF (Education/Work Experience/List of calls): B. Tech. in Engineering Physics from IIT Bombay in 2006, prepared for IAS exams, taught at IMS and now working at Zeus Learning, calls from all 6 IIMs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION ABOUT THE INTERVIEW : It was a good interview, and I think my performance was average. They were smiling throughout the interview, but they did not seem too happy or unhappy. However, it could be because I gave very diplomatic answers, to which one of the professors said, “He’s already talking like those MBA types”.

KIND OF QUESTIONS ASKED: One of the professor  gave me a case study on a food products company. Later, another professor asked me about my background, and when I brought in the fact that I had appeared for the IAS exams, the entire interview went on those lines, as in why did I appear for it, what I want to achieve in life, what do I think of diplomacy vis-à-vis the business world, and so on. 
DURATION OF THE INTERVIEW: 15-20 minutes.

HOW WAS YOUR PERFORMANCE: I believe it was OK.

AREAS WHERE YOU COULD HAVE PERFORMED BETTER: Even though the interview was on expected lines and I did not really falter at any point, my performance was not very good either.  Try to be more confident during the interview, and not just before it.

QUESTIONS THAT YOU FOUND DIFFICULT TO ANSWER: They asked me to name a family-owned company which has a democratically elected CEO.

suggestion- Be calm and confident. If the interviewers are asking more about your opinions on issues rather than your knowledge of those issues, you should say what you know, and what you think is right, but do not take any extreme stance on any issue.

To get information about the cut-off , selection criteria , courses offered and placements of various B-Schools . Click on the links that follows:-

IIM Kozhikode – Click Here 

IIM Lucknow – Click Here 

IIM Ahmedabad – Click Here 

IIM Bangalore – Click Here 

IIM Calcutta – Click Here

FMS Delhi – Click Here

SIBM Pune – Click Here

MDI Gurgoan – Click Here

IMT Ghaziabad – Click Here

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Current Affairs/GK/GD/WAT/Essay writing Topic for IIFT, XLRI, IIMs, SIBM, and other B schools-India’s Foreign Policy Post 1990’s

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India’s interaction with the world remained limited before the 1990s; it depended on the Soviet Union for military equipment and spares. Its economy was highly regulated and everything was controlled by the Central Government. Although India had pledged to believe in Non-alignment, this was not the case in reality as the USA and the rest of the world perceived it to be aligned with the Soviet Union.

With the abolishment of a bipolar world order after the end of the Cold War, India was forced to adjust its foreign policy in order to acknowledge, encourage and maintain relations with not only its neighbours, but also important nations across the world including the United States of America with whom its involvement had been limited so far. The destruction of the Soviet Union removed all international political leverage that India enjoyed.

India now had to face two major changes – the opening up of its economy and a changing post-Cold War world. This brought about the fact that trade had become an important strategic tool. Thus, favourable trade between two countries could lead to favourable international relations.

The Narasimha Rao-led Congress government brought in economic reforms, fearing at the same time that increasing privatization and globalization might increase the already large disparities between the rich and the poor. After the Congress lost, the United Front governments concentrated more on foreign policy. This led to the peace moves towards Pakistan.

 Also, as India realized the economic importance that its South East Asian neighbours held in the international sphere, it started its Look East Policy. This was derived from the Gujral Doctrine by IK Gujral which emphasized that India’s relations with its neighbours were very important – perhaps more  than other global relations. Engagement with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) grew leaps and bounds with trade agreements, increased interactions, and establishment of sub-regional groups such as BIMSTEC (Bangladesh India Myanmar Sri Lanka Thailand Economic Council) and GMC (Ganga Mekong Cooperative). These groups looked into the integration of national economies, the global economy, free trade agreements and common/aided development of infrastructure.

Apart from the economic importance, India also realized the strategic importance of its South East Asian neighbours. China’s growing influence in the area, a troubling concern for ASEAN,  meant that India’s northeast region would be used for economic interaction with neighbouring countries and boosting growth in a stagnant part of the country. Indo-Myanmar ties, despite of Chinese influence in the area, led to an increased importance of India in the South East Asian arena and improved economic and strategic ties.

In 1998, India tested its nuclear weapons in Pokhran, thus flexing muscles,  the world never realized India had. The immediate result of this was sanctions imposed on India by the US, Japan and other European countries. However, the then-Defence Minister George Fernandes said, India’s nuclear programme was a necessity in the face of potential Chinese threats. By 2001, most sanctions imposed on India were removed.

Since then, India has significant relations with important countries like the US as well as emerging ones like China. These shall be covered in depth in further articles.

India’s growing economy, friendly foreign relations policy, strategic location and a large variety of people that inhabit it, have led to the country having more allies than enemies. This must grow as we continue to cherish our relations with our neighbouring as well as non-neighbouring countries.

Article By: Garima Kaushal

Click Here to Read about An overview of India’s Foreign Policy

Click Here to Read about Trends In India’s Foreign Policy

Click Here to Read about India’s Foreign Policy Post Liberalization

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India’s Foreign Relations with China, Pakistan & Sri Lanka

India’s Relations with its Neighbours

Following the breakdown of the USSR and the resultant end of the Cold War, India began the practicing theLook East Policy. Under this, it renewed relations with its South East Asian neighbours and realized the strategic and economic importance it held in the area. Below are discussed India’s relations with a few of its neighbours.

China

Perhaps the most important neighbour India has – in terms of political boundaries as well as competition in the economic sphere – is China. While the 1962 Sino-Indian war created mistrust between the two countries, and several trespassing incidents along Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh have led to tensions, India’s relationship with China has gradually and steadily been improving. A number of high profile visits have helped improve the equation. In 1996, then-PRC President Jian Zeming visited India while touring South Asia and signed a number of confidence-building measures relating to political and geographical boundaries. There was a setback in the 1998 as India tested its nuclear weapons and the then-Defence Minister of India justified these tests giving apparent threats from China as a reason. However, this setback was minor as in 1999, during the Kargil crisis, India’s former Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh visited China and said that China did not pose a threat. As soon as 2001, relations were on a mend. So much so, that both countries handled the shift of the 17th Karmapa from Tibet to India with considerable care and tact. In 2003, India recognized Tibet as a part of China and in return, China recognized Sikkim as a part of India in 2004. Things have been on the rise not only in terms of friendly relations, but also in terms of trade, since then. China became India’s single largest trading partner in 2007 with Sino-Indian trade reaching US$ 36 billion. In a recent visit to India, Wen Jibao made a pact with his Indian counterpart to increase this figure to US$ 100 billion. Both countries are also in competition with each other, however, in Africa as they are both the biggest Asian investors and compete for access to resources.

Pakistan

Relations with Pakistan are debatably the biggest source of tension to the Indian government, out of all of India’s neighbours. This is an area with a lot of literal and metamorphical rocky territory as centuries of joint history tie the two nations together. In 1998, India’s Pokhran-II tests and Pakistan’s Chagai-I tests were symbolic of both countries flexing their muscles. The Lahore Declaration in February 1999 briefly improved relations – or at least it seemed so. A few months later, Pakistan infiltrated Kashmir and this led to aggravation in the Kargil conflict as India’s troops flushed out the militants. Though a war was avoided, Pakistan has always been dealt with caution since the incident. Relations reached a new low in December 1999 as Pakistani involvement in the attack on Indian Airlines flight IC814 was unearthed. Even peace measures such as the Agra Summit in 2001 failed, as Pakistani involvement in the attack on the Indian Parliament was suspected in December 2001. Although Pakistan denied this allegation and condemned the attack, tensions escalated with the possibility of nuclear weapons being used rife. This was successfully avoided with the initiation of a peace process that started in 2003. As a part of this process, the Delhi-Lahore Bus Service and the Samjhauta Express were started and led to an increase in contact between people in both the countries. Other Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) were the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus Service (2005) and the opening of trade alone historic routes along the Line of Control (2008). After the Kashmir Earthquake of 2005, the Indian government had sent aid to affected areas in Pakistan, as well. After the Mumbai attacks of 2008, however, mistrust has set in again as the Pakistani government is allegedly being difficult in providing justice. Trade figures between the two countries surged 21% last year to U$ 2.4 billion.

Sri Lanka

The two countries are separated only by the Palk Straight. Relations between the two have always been good, disturbed only by Sri Lanka’s Civil War, India’s unwillingness to help and India’s alleged support for the Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam (LTTE). However, India remains of utmost importance in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy. This is adequately shown in the increase in ties between the two countries that are supported by both political parties in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has also supported India’s candidature as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

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