India must be proactive in dealing with neighbours | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 15, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 15, 2012

India must be proactive in dealing with neighbours

Suggests new book

An influential foreign policy and security think-tank of India suggested that New Delhi must be proactive in dealing with its immediate neighbouring countries but would benefit by not involving itself in internal politics of those countries.
This was one of the key findings of a new book “India's Neighbourhood: Challenges in the Next Two Decades” brought out by New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and released on Friday.
The book, which contains a chapter “Bangladesh: Illegal Migration and Challenges for India”, says continuing anti-India sentiments in some South Asian countries, demographic pressures, growth in illegal migration, chronic instability in Afghanistan-Pakistan region and adverse consequences of climate change were the major trends in India's neighbourhood.
However, there were also “hopeful signs of great desire for economic integration, strengthening of democratic institutions in some countries and emphasis on regional cooperation”, says the book.
While India may face increasing security challenges due to instability in certain South Asian countries, there would be an opportunity for it to better integrate India's economy with many countries in the region, notes the book.
It contends that in order to deal with uncertainties in South Asia in an effective manner, “India has to fine-tune its diplomatic apparatus to proactively deal with emerging realities in the neighbourhood, systematically pursue policies for inclusive and equitable growth, build networks of interdependence with all neighbouring countries, significantly improve the quality of governance and take measures to deal with internal security situations effectively.”
Internal cohesion, inclusive and sustained growth and stable polity were absolutely essential for India to influence events in its neighbourhood and help establish peace and stability. Building up of a domestic consensus would have to be a key ingredient of India's neighbourhood policy, says the book.
It opines that “collaborative economic engagement and co-operative security approaches will be needed to deal with challenges in a dynamic neighbourhood in the coming decades. At the same time India would benefit by not involving itself in internal politics of its neighbours”.
The book was the result of a study undertaken by IDSA to examine specific issues related to each of India's neighbours which were likely to have a bearing on India's security and foreign policy by 2030.
Releasing the book, Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said, “Common South Asian interests must factor in the policy-making process of South Asian nations.”
He said while a South Asian Economic Union “is a distant dream but even an expanded set of economic connections will not only transform the economies of South Asia but will be a force for political stability”.

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