At one time, India had thought it had evolved with concepts like the mixed economy, non-alignment, Gandhian non-violence as its conceptualized pillars. But those were ideals for a new nation caught in the vortex of cold war politics. Economy and national security being the accepted two pillars of any foreign policy, India too used these for her touchstones.
It now seems to have come a full circle from Nehruvian socialist policy of self-reliance to Prime Minister Modi’s ‘atmanirbhar’. The impact of COVID 19 has made most nations inward-looking, debunking earlier concepts of globalisation and connectivity.
At this time, China has turned out to be one of the major challenges while discussing South Asia. After the recent events in Galwan, Ladakh, and India’s boycott of Chinese goods, relations have become tense and need to be managed by both as responsible powers. Unfortunately, China’s aggressiveness has impacted the South China Seas, Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as directly or indirectly, on India too.
Further, it is adept at playing ducks and drakes and has done more damage backing Nepal and encouraging it with its cartographic war with India. India - Nepal had a mostly benign relationship. At times, what was termed as money order relations, since so many Nepalese origins were working in India as domestic help, security, executives in malls and restaurants; were married to Indians and were sending money home. Indian Army, too, comprise of regiments of Gurkha troops also from Nepal who fought in World Wars I and II at the Falklands, and in South East Asia. A tightly knit identity between India and Nepal emerged, with of course a few glitches. Rumour has it that the Chinese ambassador to Nepal recently encouraged this change of border with India. Citizenship papers are being asked for on both sides of the border, an unheard-of phenomenon except in dire circumstances of criminal activity. India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1950 actually emphasize the good relations between India and Nepal. It covered 10 articles including the free movement of people and goods as well as the issuance of work permits. It was a comprehensive document of goodwill in South Asian regions which somehow Nepal now is protesting against and needs to be negotiated with.
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