[op-ed snap] In South Asia, be the Un-China

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

Q.) “India needs to rekindle the SAARC process in order to secure historical affinity with its neighbours.” Discuss.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: The article comprehensively explains Chinese influence in South Asia.


News

Context

  1. The Article talks about the China’s influence in South Asia and ways to counter it

Views of different countries on Doklam issue

  1. According to a statement by Nepal’s Dy PM, Nepal will not get dragged into this or that side(means India and China) in the border dispute
  2. Sri Lankan Minister in Colombo contended that India and China are “both important” to Sri Lanka
  3. Bhutan is blaming China for violating agreements at Doklam, but not mentioning India

China’s presence in India’s Neighbor
(1)Maldives

  1. Chinese companies has bagged contracts to most infrastructure projects in Maldives
  2. This includes development of a key new island and its link to the capital Male
  3. And a 50-year lease to another island for a tourism project

(2)Nepal

  1. Nepal has signed a transit trade treaty and agreement on infrastructure linkages with China in late 2015-2016
  2. China is also building a railway to Nepal, opening up Lhasa-Kathmandu road links
  3. And has approved a soft loan of over $200 million to construct an airport at Pokhara

(3)Sri Lanka

  1. Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port construction project went to the Chinese in 2007 only after India rejected it
  2. China doesn’t just own 80% of the port, it has also won practically every infrastructure contract from Hambantota to Colombo

(4)Bangladesh

  1. China has committed $24 billion to Bangladesh for its infrastructure and energy projects

How can India boost its relations with neighbors?

  1. India must regain its role as a prime mover of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
  2. Even after a year, there have been no steps taken to restore the SAARC process is unfortunate
  3. It should be remembered that despite China’s repeated requests, SAARC was one club it never gained admittance to

The way forward

  1. India must recognise that doing better with its neighbours is not about investing more or undue favours
  2. It is about following a policy of mutual interests and of respect which India is more culturally attuned to than its large rival is.
  3. Each of India’s neighbours shares more than a geographical context with India. They share history, language, tradition and even cuisine.
  4. when dealing with Beijing bilaterally, New Delhi must match China’s aggression, and counter its moves with its own. When dealing with China in South Asia, however, India must do exactly the opposite, and not allow itself to be outpaced. In short, India must “be the Un-China”.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-China
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