Geo–Political and Strategic Developments in India’s Neighborhood and their Impact on India.:- For RAS RTS Mains exam of RPSC

Table of Content:-

  1. Indo- Afganistan
  2. Indo- Pakistan
  3. Indo- China
  4. Indo-Nepal
  5. Indo- Bhutan
  6. Indo-Myanmar
  7. Indo-Bangladesh
  8. Indo- Srilanka

[su_heading size=”21″]Indo- Afganistan[/su_heading]

Republic of India was the only South Asian country to recognise the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s, its relations were diminished during the Afghan civil wars and the rule of the Islamist Taliban in the 1990s.[1] India aided the overthrow of the Taliban and became the largest regional provider of humanitarian and reconstruction aid.

India’s influence in Afghanistan waned in the 1990s after Pakistan-backed Taliban rose to power. During this period, New Delhi provided assistance to the anti-Taliban resistance, the Northern Alliance, comprised mostly of Tajik and other non-Pashtun ethnic groups, according to a 2003 Council Task Force report. After the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, New Delhi reached out to renew ties with Kabul.


Afghanistan holds strategic importance for India as New Delhi seeks friendly allies in the neighborhood, and because it is a gateway to energy-rich Central Asian states such as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. “India is looking to ensure that other countries in the region favor or at least are neutral on its conflict with Pakistan,


Afghanistan, on the other hand, he says, looks to India as “a potential counterweight in its relationship with Pakistan.”

2b aid:


In January 2009, India completed construction of the Zaranj-Delaram highway in southwest Afghanistan near the Iranian border; it is building Afghanistan’s new parliament building set for completion by 2011; it is constructing the Salma Dam power project in Herat Province; it has trained Afghan police officers, diplomats and civil servants; and it has provided support in the areas of health, education, transportation, power, and telecommunications.

India hopes its investment in the Iranian port at Chabahar will allow it to gain trading access to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan. Pakistan currently allows Afghanistan transit rights for its exports to India, but does not allow goods to move from India to Afghanistan.

But soft power is “India’s greatest asset” in Afghanistan, writes Shashi Tharoor,Thier says the positive thing about such influence is that it engages the population in a way that takes into account what they want.



  • Strong historical ties
  • India was the only South Asian nation to recognize the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
  • During Soviet presence in Afghanistan, India sheltered over 60000 Afghan refuguees.
  • Tumultuous times during the regime of Taliban. Diplomatic ties were snapped.
  • Re-establishment of diplomatic ties after the overthrow of Taliban in 2001

Table 1

India’s Concern (India’s interests in Af) Afghanistan’s concern
Security Security and stability of the region after the withdrawal of Western forces Afghanistan looks to India as ‘a potential counterweight in its relationship with Pakistan’
Security of Indian personnel. Embassy bombings. Killing of personnel involved in reconstruction work.
Pakistan’s growing influence in the  region
Energy security Afghanistan is key to our energy security because of geopolitical reasons. It is a gateway to energy-rich Central Asian states such as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan


Table 2

Binders Separators/Challenges
Significant cultural and economic links. Films and music of India popular in Af and products such as carpets, nuts and fruit are exported to India.
India’s popularity in Af high due to the no-strings attached economic assistance


Table 3

Positives Negatives
1.       Lot of Indian developmental projects in Afghanistan. India provides technical and monetary assistance. India is the largest regional donor to Afghan reconstruction
3.       MMS’ visit to Af in May 2011
4.       Af’s entry into SAARC
5.       The two countries have declared that Strategic Partnership should be developed between the two countries
6.       TAPI may promote regional integration. Af to earn about $500 mn in transit fee in TAPI.
7.       India implemented Small Development Projects (SDPs) scheme for grass-root level development in all parts of Afghanistan
8.       India has promised to increase the total development commitment to Afghanistan to USD 2 bn
9.       Bilateral trade of $358 mn in 2007-08
10.   India has opened consulates in Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, Kandhar


India’s development partnership with Afghanistan

  • Aims to build indigenous Afghan capacities and institutions for an effective state system that is able to deliver goods and services required by the Afghan people
  • Scholarship programme for Afghan students
  • Training courses aimed at skill development
  • New programmes on capacity building in the agricultural sector <?>
    • Agricultural research programmes
  • Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Care
  • Adopted 100 villages
  • Rebuilding of Habibia school
  • Agreements
    • Small devt prog
    • Healthcare
    • Agricultural research
  • National Institutional Building Project (NIBP)
    • UNDP programme
    • India is a donor
    • NIBP follows an integrated and structured approach to capacity development
  • Some projects
    • Zaranj-Delaram highway in SW Afghanistan near the Iranian border
    • Afghanistan’s new parliament building set for completion by 2011
    • Salma Dam power project in Herat Province
  • India bidding for Hagijak mines (Iron ore) in Bamiyan province
  • Cultural reconstruction programme
    • Bamiyan Buddhas

Strategic Partnership Agreement

  • Signed in Oct 2011
  • India will mentor the Afghan security forces as they gear up to deal with the drawdown of foreign forces by 2014
  • SPA also spells out trade and economic cooperation in much greater detail, covering aspects ranging from assisting Afghanistan in developing trading routes to exploring for hydrocarbons and mineral ores the country is abundantly endowed with
  • Both countries will try to operationalize trilateral MoU signed with Iran to end Afghanistan’s landlocked isolation and dependence on Pakistan to reach the sea

Challenges ahead for India in Af

  • Taliban’s reach and influence has been growing in the relatively calmer areas of the country
  • Defragmented nature of the polity


India’s role in Af in next few years

  • Washington has indicated that it may withdraw its troops in Afghanistan by 2014
  • Challenges after withdrawal
    • Resurgence of Taliban
    • Peace and security
    • Economic and political development of the country
  • Political stability of the region is in India’s interest
  • Economic ties with Afghanistan can be beneficial for India
    • India can sell technologies for development to Af
    • Bag contracts for re-construction
  • Engage all major ethnic groups. It would be in the long term interest of India to evenly develop its relations with diverse ethnic groups of Afghanistan.
  • India’s Afghan policy is constrained by various factors
    • Geographical limitations
    • Uncertainty in the US approach
  • India’s likely options
    • To remain engaged and continue with reconstruction assistance
      • Focus on capacity building and human resource development
    • Need for border engagement
    • Strengthening the Afghan National Security Forces
    • Gauging varied Afghan perception
      • Important for India to constantly factor in the varying views and perceptions of the various Afghan factions and groupings.



Table 4

India Pakistan Afghanistan
Porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan needs to be controlled Thinks that India is trying to encircle it by gaining influence in Afghanistan
Promotes Taliban because it offers the best counterbalance against India
Pakistan’s support to Taliban has led to increased instability in Afghanistan
Pakistan’s tribal areas along Afghan border are safe haven for terrorists


After US leaves, Af-Pak-India trilateral relations will become important.

Transformation of Pakistan-Afghanistan ties can only take place in an overall context of improved Pakistani-Indian relations that enhances Pakistani confidence in its regional position


Bonn Conference 2011

[su_heading size=”21″]Indo- Pakistan[/su_heading]



CBMs help in improving the atmospherics for undertaking difficult negotiations and are not in itself a sign of successful negotiations.

2011 CBMs

  • Relate to trade and commerce
  • Both sides have agreed to reduce tariff and NTTBs
  • Form a joint trade promotion body
  • To form a JWG on economic and commercial cooperation and trade promotion
  • Pak recognized that MFN status to India will help in expanding trade
  • To double trade to USD 6 bn by 2014
  • To establish a liberalised visa regime

‘India-Pakistan are like Siamese twins who have no option but to move together even when they are attempting to pull away from each other.’

Indus Water Dispute


Public Perception of the dispute in Pakistan: (Op-ed)

Water crisis in Pakistan: per capita availability declined, river flows diminishing, polluted rivers.

Suggestions to make facts align with perception:

  1. A joint study needs to be made of the fact and extent of reduction in flows in the western rivers
  2. Institutional arrangements for the joint monitoring of compliance at the relevant point.
  3. Review of planned projects from the point of view of ecology and Pakistan’s apprehensions.
  4. Civil society and academia should examine matter independently (is it possible?)

Kishanganga project: India decided to construct the 330 MW Kishanganga power project on the banks of the Kishanganga river also known as the Neelum river in J&K. The water was to be diverted to Wullar lake which would severely restrict the flow of water into Jhelum river over which Pakistan has exclusive rights.

Tulbul Project is also disputed. This is aka Wular Lake project. It is located on the Jhelum river.


The Way forward

  • Cooperation with Pakistan is needed because:
    • Domestic: Free relationship with Pakistan would help us consolidate our nationhood
    • Regional: Regional terrorism can be effectively tackled only in cooperation with Pakistan and not in confrontation with it
    • International: India will not be able to play its dual role in international affairs so long as it is dragged down by its quarrels with Pakistan
  • Consolidate the gains of the 13 year old composite dialogue
  • For an ‘uninterrupted and uninterruptible’ dialogue
    • The venue must be such that neither India nor Pakistan can forestall the dialogue from taking place. <say the Wagah-Attari border>
    • The must be fixed periodicity at which the two sides shall necessarily meet without disruption
    • The dialogue must not be fractionated between different sets of interlocutors
    • Instead of an agenda agreed in advance, each side should be free to bring any two subjects of its choice on the table by giving due notice
    • There should be no timeline for the conclusion of the Dialogue
  • Engagement is the only way forward for India and Pakistan


Pakistan recognized that grant of MFN status to India would help in expanding bilateral trade relations. It has agreed to replace its present ‘Positive List’ with ‘Negative List’, by October 2011.


Nov 2011

Pakistan granted India MFN status


Kashmir:The state/province remains divided between the two countries by the Line of Control (LoC), which demarcates the ceasefire line agreed upon in the 1947 conflict.

After weeks of intense fighting between Pakistan and India, Pakistani leaders and the Indian Prime Minister Nehru declared a ceasefire and sought U.N. arbitration with the promise of a plebiscite. Sardar Patel had argued against both, describing Kashmir as a bilateral dispute and its accession as justified by international law. In 1957, north-western Kashmir was fully integrated into Pakistan, becoming Azad Kashmir (Pakistan-administered Kashmir), while the other portion was acceded to Indian control, and the state of Jammu and Kashmir (Indian-administered Kashmir) was created. In 1962, China occupied Aksai Chin


The conflict began in 1984 with India’s successful Operation Meghdoot during which it wrested control of the Siachen Glacier from Pakistan and forced the Pakistanis to retreat west of the Saltoro Ridge. India has established control over all of the 70 kilometres (43 mi) long Siachen Glacier and all of its tributary glaciers, as well as the three main passes of the Saltoro Ridge immediately west of the glacier—Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La.The Pakistanis control the glacial valley just five kilometers southwest of Gyong La. The Pakistanis have been unable get up to the crest of the Saltoro Ridge, while the Indians cannot come down and abandon their strategic high posts.


The line between where Indian and Pakistani troops are presently holding onto their respective posts is being increasingly referred to as the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).

The conflict in Siachen stems from the incompletely demarcated territory on the map beyond the map coordinate known as NJ9842. The 1972 Simla Agreement did not clearly mention who controlled the glacier, merely stating that from the NJ9842 location the boundary would proceed “thence north to the glaciers.”

A cease fire went into effect in 2003.

One of the factors behind the Kargil War in 1999 when Pakistan sent infiltrators to occupy vacated Indian posts across the Line of Control was their belief that India would be forced to withdraw from Siachen in exchange of a Pakistani withdrawal from Kargil.

Sir Creek:The creek, which opens up into the Arabian Sea, divides the Kutch region of the Indian state of Gujarat with the Sindh province of Pakistan.

Pakistan lays claim to the entire creek as per paras 9 and 10 of the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914.India sticks to its position that the boundary lies mid-channel as depicted in another map drawn in 1925, and implemented by the installation of mid-channel pillars back in 1924.[4]

Another point of concern for Pakistan is that Sir Creek has changed its course considerably over the years. If the boundary line is demarcated according to the Thalweg principle, Pakistan stands to lose a considerable portion of the territory that was historically part of the province of Sindh. Acceding to India’s stance would also result in the shifting of the land/sea terminus point several kilometres to the detriment of Pakistan, leading in turn to a loss of several thousand square kilometres of its Exclusive Economic Zone under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea.

In April 1965, a dispute there contributed to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965,A verdict was reached in 1968 which saw Pakistan getting 10% of its claim of 9,000 km² (3,500 sq. miles).

Atlantique incident

Though the creek has little military value, it holds immense economic gain.

The demarcation would also prevent the inadvertent crossing over of fishermen of both nations into each others’ territories

India supports its stance by citing the Thalweg Doctrine in International Law.

Insurgency in J&K:

A widespread armed insurgency started in Kashmir with the disputed 1987 election with some elements from the State’s assembly forming militant wings which acted as a catalyst for the emergence of armed insurgency in the region.This led to the rise of an armed insurgency movement composed, in part, of those who unfairly lost elections.[21] Pakistan supplied these groups with logistical support, arms, recuits and training.

Despite the change in the nature of the insurgency from a phenomenon supported by external forces to a primarily domestic driven movement[17][24][27][28][29] the Indian government has continued to send large numbers of troops to the Indian border and to crackdown on civil liberties.[30][27][29]


There have been widespread protests against Indian rule

After the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, Mujahideen fighters, with the aid of Pakistan, slowly infiltrated Kashmir with the goal of spreading a radical Islamist ideology

The Indian National Census shows that Kashmir lags behind other states in most socio-development indicators such as literacy rates and has unusually high levels of unemployment. This contributes to anti-government sentiment.

All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an organization that uses moderate means to press for the rights of the Kashmiris, is often considered as the mediator between New Delhi and insurgent groups.

The different insurgent groups have different aims in Kashmir. Some want complete independence from both India and Pakistan, others want unification with Pakistan and still others just want greater autonomy from the Indian government.[46]

Indian analysts allege that by supporting these insurgents, Pakistan is trying to wage a proxy war against India while Pakistan claims that it regards most of these insurgent groups as “freedom fighters” rather than terrorists


A 2010 survey found that 43% in J&K would favour independence, with support for the independence movement unevenly distributed across the region

River water sharing:


. Pakistan supported the anti-Soviet mujahadeen and then the Taliban “to ensure that in the event of conflict with India, Afghanistan would provide Pakistan with support and use of its land and air space if needed,” write Afghanistan experts Barnett R. Rubin and Abubakar Siddique in a 2006 USIP report (PDF). Pakistani military plan­ners, they write, refer to this as the quest for “strategic depth.” In this Foreign Affairs essay, Rubin argues that Pakistan’s military establishment has always approached the various wars in and around Afghanistan as a function of its main institutional and national security interests: “first and foremost, balancing India.”

“Pakistan’s fears of encirclement (PDF) by India have been compounded” by the new Indian air base in Farkhor, Tajikistan,

It is no surprise then that Pakistan sees India’s growing influence in Afghanistan as a threat. After India opened consulates in Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, and Kandahar, Pakistan charged that these consulates provide cover for Indian intelligence agencies to run covert operations against Pakistan, as well as foment separatism in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.


Shimla Agreement:The agreement laid down the principles that should govern their future relations. It also conceived steps to be taken for further normalization of mutual relations. Most importantly, it bound the two countries “to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations

The accord converted the 1949 UN “Cease-fire Line” into the Line of Control (LOC) between Pakistan and India which however did not affect the status of the disputed territory:

Diplomatic and trade relations were also re-established in 1976.


In December 1988, Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Rajiv Gandhi concluded a pact not to attack each other’s nuclear facilities

In May 1998 India, and then Pakistan, conducted nuclear tests.

The Lahore Declaration was signed on February 21 along with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) after three rounds of talks between the Indian and Pakistani leaders.[1][4] In its content, both governments asserted their commitment to the vision of peace, stability and mutual progress and their full commitment to the Shimla Agreement and the Charter of the United Nations. Both governments recognized through the Lahore Declaration that the development of nuclear weapons brought added responsibility to both nations towards avoiding conflict and promoted the importance of Confidence-building measures, especially to avoid accidental and unauthorised use of nuclear weapons.[1][4] India and Pakistan also decided to give each other advance notification of ballistic missile flight tests and accidental or unexplained use of nuclear weapons to avoid the outbreak of a nuclear conflict.

Kargil War

The Agra summit was a two-day summit held on July 15th and 16th, 2001 between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. It was organized with the aim to resolve long-standing issues between India and Pakistan.


Violent activities in the region declined in 2004. There are two main reasons for this: warming of relations between New Delhi and Islamabad which consequently lead to a ceasefire between the two countries in 2003 and the fencing of the LOC being carried out by the Indian Army. Moreover, coming under intense international pressure, Islamabad was compelled to take actions against the militants’ training camps on its territory. In 2004, the two countries also agreed upon decreasing the number of troops present in the region.

On June 20, 2004, with a new government in place in India, both countries agreed to extend a nuclear testing ban and to set up a hotline between their foreign secretaries aimed at preventing misunderstandings that might lead to a nuclear war.

[su_heading size=”21″]Indo- China[/su_heading]

India and China proposed creating a business model called chindia based on COIN (Cooperation & Innovation) in four areas (Energy, Health, Infrastructure, Knowledge intensive industries)


  • India was
    • The second non-communist state to recognize PRC in 1949
    • the 16th state to establish diplomatic relations with PRC in 1950
  • 1954: eight year agreement on Tibet – Panchsheel
  • 1962: War
  • 1960s-70s: Sino-Indian relations deteriorated because
    • War
    • Sino-Pakistani relations improved
    • Sino-Russian relations deteriorated
  • 1967: Nathu La incident; Chola incident
  • 1976: Restored ambassadorial relations
  • 1979: External Affairs minister AB Vajpayee’s visit to China
  • 1988: Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to China
    • Agreed to develop and expand bilateral relations in all fields
    • Establish a Joint Working Group on Boundary and Joint Economic Group
  • Mid-1990s: relations started improving
  • 1992: President E Venkararaman visited China. This was the first Head of State level visit from India to China
  • 1996: Pres Jaing Zemin’s visit to India <first HoS visit>
  • 2003: Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation signed
    • First comprehensive document on development of bilateral relations signed at the highest level between India and China
  • 2008: ‘A Shared Vision for the 21st century of the Republic of India and the PRC’
  • 2011: Year of India-China exchange

Perception of each other

Table 1

India’s perception of China China’s perception of India
A very important nation in South Asia
Population next only to China
Economy growing at a fast pace. Security forces mobilizing. Nuclear power.



Major Outstanding Issues

Table 2

Issue India’s Concern China’s concern
Visa Policy China giving stapled visa to residents of Kashmir
Trade China accused of dumping goods in India. India imposing ban on investment of certain Chinese companies
Dams China building dams on the Brahmaputra river
Tibet India’s asylum to Dalai Lama
Geopolitics String of pearls;

Relations with Pak – China’s presence in PoK, China’s policy on J&K, nuclear relationship with Pakistan

India’s growing relationship with US
Defence Cooperation
Competition in South Asia


Border dispute

  • China’s claim in two regions
    • Aksai Chin
    • Arunachal Pradesh
  • These two regions are strategically important for China to control the restive populations of Xingjian and Tibet and integrate them
  • The Macartney-Macdonald Line proposed during British times is almost the same as the present Line of Actual Control
    • The northern boundary between India and Tibet was never clearly demarcated
  • The McMahon Line forms the eastern border with China
    • British India and China gained a common border in 1826 after the British annexation of Assam and the Treaty of Yandabo
    • 1913-14: representatives of Britain and Tibet (and Myanmar or China?) attended a conference in Shimla and drew up an agreement concerning Tibet’s status and borders
    • McMahon Line was drawn
    • China objected to the proposed Sino-Tibet boundary and repudiated the agreement
  • East-West swap
    • Zhou Enlai had proposed that China relinquish its claim to most of India’s northeast in exchange for India’s abandonment of its claim to Aksai Chin.
  • 1962: War
  • In recent times, India China boundary has been one of the most peaceful borders in the world
  • A solution to the question is not due to lack of effort; instead it arises from the difficulty of the question itself
  • CBMs are in place to ensure peace in border areas
  • Special Representatives (SRs) talks are conducted on the border question

Defence exchanges

  • Recently defence exchanges were stalled after an Indian army officer was denied visa (?)

Dalai Lama

  • Sought refuge in Dharmsala in 1959

Mangement of transborder rivers

  • Many of our northern and north eastern rivers arise in the highlands of Tibet
  • Dams: Zang-mu
    • India has sought assurances from China that it will take no action to negatively affect the flow of rivers into India
    • China has assured that the projects on Brahmaputra are run-of-the-river projects

Pakistan-China relations and effect on India

  • China’s growing relations with Pakistan are of concern to India
  • China has been the main supplier of weapons systems and air and naval combat craft to Pak
  • China is co-producing K8 trainer aircraft and JF17 fighter aircraft in Pak
  • Supplied Pakistan with M-11 SRBM
  • <It is alleged that the technology to make nuclear bombs was also supplied by China>
  • Civil nuclear cooperation
  • Development of road, rail and gas pipeline infrastructure through the Gilgit-Baltistan region as well as port facilities in Gwadar
  • India believes that a stable and prosperous Pakistan is in India’s interest. It does not view bilateral relationships as zero-sum games
  • But there are some genuine concerns
    • China’s role in POK
    • China’s J&K policy
    • Sino-Pak security and nuclear relationship


The Way forward

  • when it comes to the relationship between these two big Asian giants, a lot of what happens in this relationship will impact the situation in our region and particularly when it comes to the economic strength the rising economic strength of both these countries the world certainly is watching and assessing the impact of this relationship.
  • Media has caused a lot of frenzy in the relations of the two countries
    • Media should keep quiet a bit so that India-China can solve their problems amicably
  • Chindia
    • China-India global joint action
  • In a high level meeting in November 2010, CCP politbureau member Zhou Yong Kang outlined some areas for further development of Sino-Indian relations in order to consolidate their strategic cooperative partnership:
    • Promoting political trust by maintaining high-level visits between governments, parties, parliaments and militaries.
    • Greater cooperation in trade and economy that should include reducing protectionism.
    • Greater people-to-people exchanges in a wide swathe of areas.
    • Strengthening international cooperation and friendly consultations on controversial issues and disagreements in exchanges.
  • Developing Synergy
    • Tagore was for close relationship between the two countries
  • S&T exchanges should be strengthened
    • MoU on Green Technology; exchange of hydrological data
  • India-China have a role to play in the security architectures for Asia
    • Issues of maritime security, issues concerning global commerce in the region, issue of terrorism, having peaceful periphery are common concerns

Are India-China rivals?

  • Neither of the two countries have a luxury of seeing each other in purely antagonistic terms
  • The view that India and China are rivals is a over generalisation as well as an over simplification of a complex relationship which encompasses so many diverse issues
  • Proposition of competition and rivalries should not be exaggerated in a manner that it overshadows our genuine attempts to manage and transact a rationally determined relationship between India and China
  • The reality is that both our countries have worked hard over the last two decades to enhance dialogue in a number of fields and we must maintain and build on that trend.
  • At the same time, it is true that divergences persist, and that there is no denying the fact that we have a disputed border.

Table 3

Positives Negatives
1.       ‘Copenhagen Spirit’: exemplary cooperation witnessed between India and China during the Copenhagen climate change summit 1.       China’s angst over Dalai Lama’s visit to AP in 2009
2.       Peaceful borders 2.       Stapled visa issue cropped up in 2009
3.       Huge trade 3.       Huge trade deficit for India
4.       Multilateral cooperation: BRICS, BASIC, SCO, G20 4.       Defence ties were stalled
5.       Cultural cooperation 5.
6.       Student Exchange 6.
7.       In Sept 2011, India-China held their first even Strategic and Economic Dialogue 7.


Economic Relations

  • The two countries resumed trade officially in 1978
  • 1984: signed the MFN agreemnt
  • China is India’s largest trading partner. Accounted for a share of 9.09% in India’s international trade during 2009-10
    • 69 % of India’s total imports were from China in 2009-10 (largest)
    • China is the third highest destination for India’s export accounting for 6.5% of the total
    • In 2009-10 total trade crossed $60 bn mark to reach $61.7 bn.
    • India’s exports: Iron ore, other raw materials and cotton
    • India’s imports: finished goods, mainly machinery. There is a growing demand for Chinese telecom and power equipments
  • Set a target of reaching $100 bn trade by 2015
  • India has a trade deficit of over $20 bn with China
  • Addressing the deficit problem
    • India has been pressing China to provide better market access for Indian pharmaceutical and IT companies which have struggled to penetrate the Chinese market
    • India is pushing for reduction of restrictions on agri-products imposed by China so that India could export more agri-products to it
    • In his December 2010 visit to India Wen Jiabao said that China understands India’s concerns on the question of market access and would try to find ways of resolving them
  • Indian companies in China
    • Manufacturing: pharma, autocomponents, laminated tubes, refractories
    • IT and ITES: IT education, software solutions
    • Banking
    • Ranbaxy, Orchid Pharma, Dr Reddy, Aurobindo Pharma, NIIT, Infosys, Suzlon, SBI, PNB etc
  • Chinese Companies in India
    • Power generation, machinery and infrastructure construction, electronics, IT and Hardware manufacturing
    • Sinosteel, Shougang, China Dongfang Internations, Sinohydro, Huawei, TCL, Haier,
  • Infrastructure
    • Still-well highway

Cultural Relations

  • 1988: Agreement on Cultural Cooperation
    • Provides for an executive cultural exchange programme (CEP)
  • Latest CEP signed in 2010
    • Provides for cooperation in a gamut of cultural fields including exchanges of visits of performing artists, officials, writers etc
  • 2003: Centre for Indian Studies inaugurated in Peking University
  • 2008: 70th anniversary of Indian Medical Mission to China
    • Chindia organised Joint Medical Mission to commemorate the event
  • 2010: Festival of India in China
  • India’s stall at World Expo
  • Structure adjacent to White Horse Temple
    • Inaugurated by Patil

Indian Diaspora in China

  • About 39000 people
  • HK has a larger Indian presence
  • Mainly students

Table 4

Binders/Opportunities Separators/Challenges
Economy Huge trade. Both are very large economies. Growth contributing to global recovery <list out all major outstanding issues>
Int Fora WTO – Doha round; Climate Change. At the world level fora, India-China cooperation is quite evident. At local fora and regional stability, India China are at divergence
Overall cooperation Both stand to gain a lot


Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India

  • India-China to increase bilateral trade to $100 bn by 2015.
    • India’s main concern is the huge trade deficit it has in trade with China
    • It has asked China to open up its IT and services sector
  • They agreed to a strategic economic dialogue to enhance macroeconomic policy coordination and address challenges in economic development and cooperation
  • CEO’s forum shall also be created and greater cooperation between the banking regulators of the two countries
  • Political Developments
    • Stapled visa for residents of J&K issue was discussed. Wen proposed that the officials of the two countries should hold consultations.
    • India did not mention Tibet and One China in the joint statement.
  • Strategic
    • Agreement to work together against piracy in the Gulf of Aden
  • Assessment
    • Incremental progress was made
    • We have areas of difference (border, stapled visa) and cooperation (climate change)

March, 2012

India-China agree to undertake joint operations against pirates and sharing technological knowhow on seabed research.

Joint operation against pirates seeks to involve the Coast Guards, the navies and air forces in action against pirates.

The proposal to share technological knowhow on seabed research is aimed at dousing India’s apprehensions after Beijing was permitted by the International Seabed Authority to explore in south-west Indian Ocean.


Chinese foreign policy: String of pearls theory

  • The term ‘string of pearls’ is used to describes the manifestation of China’s rising geopolitical influence through efforts to increase access to ports and airfields, develop special diplomatic relationships and modernize military forces that extend from the South China Sea through the Strait of Malacca, across the Indian Ocean, and on to the Arabian Gulf.
  • This strategy started in 1980s and its basic aim was to give China increased energy security with refuelling stations throughout the world.
  • It has also helped China project its political and military influences further.
  • Some of the recent additions to the pearl have been the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka and Gwadar Naval Base in Pakistan
  • Karakoram Highway, connecting China’s Xinjiang region with Pakistan’s north, can also be seen as one of the pearls
  • The implication has been that it has caused great concerns for security in India, though China has tried to project it as a purely economic and maritime security venture.
  • Though India has officially denied it, the string of pearls strategy may influence its relations with its neighbours  in the following ways
  • Myanmar
    • India shares a 1600 km border with it. It also serves as a gateway for India to ASEAN and SE Asia
    • Bilateral trade between China and Myanmar reached $2.9 bn in 2009 making China the second largest trade partner of Myanmar (after Thailand)
    • The two countries have also agreed to build an oil pipeline and a gas pipeline
  • Bangladesh


China-Africa Relations

In 1956, Egypt became the first African nation to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC. As of 2010, only 5 of 54 African nations maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

From 1980s economic cooperation with Africa has assumed greater importance for China.

Relations have been institutionalized through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Important milestones have been the ministerial conferences in 2000,2003, 2009 and the ‘China’s Africa Year’ in 2006.

China’s relations with Africa cover all facets – political, defence, economic and other areas of cooperation. It has helped Chinese Navy to become more assertive in the Western Indian Ocean.

Economic Relations

China-Africa Trade: valued at $10 bn in 2000. $107 bn in 2008

Over 1600 Chinese companies have investment of operational presence on the African continent.

Seven special economic zones have been set up by China in five African countries.


Critics: rise of Chinese neo-colonialism. It economic policy damages Africa’s development, delays industrialization, ruins local industry and does not transfer technology. It supports dictatorships, corruption and a violation of human rights.

Supporters: China largely doesn’t interfere in the internal affairs of the countries. It has contributed to the enhancement of Africa’s importance in world affairs as well as to rise in prices of African commodities and growth of Africa’s GDP.


Though India has had historically a stronger relation with Africa, in recent years, the gap between India’s and China’s profile in Africa has been widening to India’s disadvantage.

India should closely monitor China’s activities in Africa and intensify and broaden its cooperation with African countries selectively.

[su_heading size=”21″]Indo-Nepal[/su_heading]


The political situation in Nepal is presently unstable. The adoption and framing of the new constitution has eluded consensus. With the aim of establishing a consensus between the political parties GoI has sent its former foreign secretary Shyam Saran to Nepal in August 2010.


  • India-Nepal sign MoU for mutual cooperation in election management.


1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship

  • This is a bilateral treaty establishing a close strategic relationship between the two South Asian neighbours.
  • The treaty allows for the free movement of people and goods between the two nations and a close relationship on matters of defence and foreign affairs.
  • The treaty has been unpopular in many segments of Nepal, especially the Maoists, which regard it as a breach of its sovereignty
  • For India, the treaty is a way to contain the Chinese influence in Nepal
  • Present status: The Maoists (Prachanda) have been demanding a revision of the treaty



India’s big brother attitude

Panchkeshwar Dam

Saptkosi Dam


Strategic importance of Nepal

Close people to people contacts: Cultural ties

Security concerns

Kalapani dispute

[su_heading size=”21″]Indo- Bhutan[/su_heading]


  • Diplomatic relations established in 1968
  • 1949: Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation
    • Basic framework of the India-Bhutan bilateral relations



  • Bilateral relations characterized by close trust and understanding and extensive cooperation in the field of economic development, particularly in the mutually beneficial sector of hydroelectric power


Recent happenings

  • Treaty of friendship was updated and signed during the visit of King Jigme Namgyel Wangchuk in 2007
    • The updated treaty lays the foundation for the future development of relationship in 21st century
    • Provides, among other things, for perpetual peace and friendship, free trade and commerce, and equal justice to each other’s citizens
  • Some agreements were signed in 2009 during the King’s visit
    • MoUs for preparation/updation of detailed project reports
    • For Development of ICT in Bhutan
    • Establishment of the Bhutan institute of Medical Sciences
    • Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs
    • Air Services Agreement
    • For harmonisation of Seed Quality Testing and Standards for SAARC countries
    • Agreement for Search and Rescue Operation Services
    • Technical Assistance to the National Environment Commission of RGoB
    • For consultancy services for the prep of the National Transmission Grid Master Plan 7of Bhutan


Economic and Development cooperation

  • India is the largest trade and development partner of Bhutan
  • India has been extending financial assistance to Bhutan’s FYPs (first plan in 1961)
  • Some major projects carried out with Indian assistance
    • 1020 MW Tala HEP
    • 336 MW Chukha HEP
    • 60 MW Kurichhu HEP
    • Penden Cement Plant
    • Paro Airport
    • Bhutan Broadcasting Station
    • Major Highways
    • Electricity Transmission and Distribution System
    • Indo-Bhutan Microwave Link
    • Exploration of Mineral Resources
    • Survey and Mapping
  • GoI also provides support to Bhutan to develop various ‘mega projects’
    • Tala HEP
  • India to purchase at least 10000 MW of power from Bhutan by 2020
  • Ongoing Hydroelectric power projects
    • Amochhu Reservoir HEP
    • Kuri Gongri HEP
    • Chamkharchhu HEP
    • Kholongchhu HEP
    • Punatsangchhu –II
    • Mangdechhu HEP
  • GoI has also committed to establish a 1 million tonne cement project, Dungsum Cement Plant at Nganglam
  • First ever rail link between India Bhutan announced by PM MMS
    • Connectign Hashimara to Phuentsholing
    • Golden Jubilee Rail Line

[su_heading size=”21″]Indo-Myanmar[/su_heading]

Oct 2011

  • India Myanmar agree to resolve border issues and step up energy and trade links
  • India sought to consolidate its ties with Myanmar by offering an additional $500 million line of credit
  • Both sides agreed to
    • Examine the feasibility of establishing railway links
    • Accelerate work on two hydel projects in Myanmar
  • Reviewed progress on a route into the North-East which would supplement India’s sole link to that park of the country via the Siliguri Corridor


Editorial: August 2

There has been a shift in India’s stand towards Myanmar. In the 1990s India was more concerned with the military rule and the detention of pro-democracy leader Aang San Suu Kyi. The recent visit (July 2010) to India of Myanmar’s Senior General Than Shwe marks this shift.

A number of key agreements were signed during this visit relating mainly to security, oil exploration and trade promotion.


Sittwe port: Link from Kolkata to Sittwe port then through Kaladan river to Mizoram.


India Myanmar Friendship Road: 2001



Energy security


  • ONGC GAIL have presence there


S&T cooperation

Cultural ties

  • Ananda temple

Legal assistance


Mizoram Myanmar road link



Concern of China’s presence in Myanmar.

Bilateral relations between Burma (officially the Union of Myanmar) and the Republic of India have improved considerably since 1993, overcoming strains over drug trafficking, the suppression of democracy and the rule of the military junta in Burma. Burma is situated to the south of the states of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. The proximity of the People’s Republic of China give strategic importance to Indo-Burmese relations. The Indo-Burmese border stretches over 1,600 kilometers.


However, since 1993 the governments of the Indian Prime Ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee changed course and began cultivating ties with Myanmar, as part of a wider foreign policy approach aimed to increase India’s participation and influence in Southeast Asia and to counteract the growing influence of the People’s Republic of China.


Trade:USD 1.2 billion in 2009—10.The trade turnover had shot up 2009—10, doubling just in two years. India is the fourth largest trading partner of Myanmar after Thailand, Singapore and China.

India is also the thirteenth largest investor with an investment estimated at USD 189 million in five projects.Indian investment ranges from oil and gas sector to hydroelectric power, railways, electric power among others.

However China is the biggest investor in Myanmar with investments totalling to about USD 9.6 billion.

Access to NE

It is not so well known that Myanmarese ports provide India the shortest approach route to several of India’s north-eastern states.

Kaladan:India and Myanmar have quietly finalised the $100-million Kaladan multi-modal link project, which will provide much-needed transit access between the north-eastern states and the rest of the country. Estimated at a cost of IC (Indian Currency) 545 crore the project proposes 826 km route by sea, river and road from Kolkata to Mizoram. The highest distance of 539 km will be covered from Kolkata port in India to Sittwe port in Myanmar encircling the coastal line of Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal. The proposed sea route is then connected with the riverine channel through river Kaladan up to 158 km in the upstream before being linked to a land route that stretches about 129 km through the mountainous terrain in the Chin State of Myanmar before finally reaching Mizoram in India.

Maritime :

two closest Indian and Myanmarese islands are barely 30 km apart.

 Insurgencies & Drug Trafficking

common fight against the insurgencies raging in the border areas of both the countries. Indian insurgent groups (NSCN, ULFA and the Manipur rebels among others) have been operating out of bases in the weakly controlled areas across the borders of the Indian states of Manipur and Mizoram and Myanmarese rebels, primarily the Chins and the Arakanese, have often taken shelter on the Indian side. ndia-Myanmar cooperation is also essential to control narcotics trafficking and to curb the proliferation of small arms in the region

China:China has made rapid advances into Myanmar and established close political, military and economic relations. Myanmar provides China the shortest land route access to the northern Indian Ocean.

China has signed a long-term agreement with Myanmar for the exploitation of its hydrocarbon reserves and for the transportation of oil and gas through a 1,100 km overland pipeline from Kyaukryu port in Myanmar to the border city of Ruili in Yunnan. This pipeline will reduce the distance by 1,200 km and make China less dependent on the Malacca Straits.

China is also developing Sittwe as a commercial port on the west coast. It is natural that Chinese naval activity in the Bay of Bengal will soon follow.

China has also been stepping up arms sales to Myanmar as other nations, including India, are loath to sell offensive military hardware to the country. China is reported to have told Myanmar to take artillery guns from North Korea in return for rice.

Radars have been reported to have been erected on Myanmar’s west coast to monitor Indian missile tests. This is not a positive development, as it will further increase Myanmar’s dependency on China.

However, indications from the military regime are that it does not want China to exercise undue influence in Myanmar’s internal affairs.



The Indian government has worked to extend air, land and sea routes to strengthen trade links with Myanmar and establish a gas pipeline.

Energy: Ongc CnPC competing..

S&T:cartosat data

While the involvement of India’s private sector has been low and growing at a slow pace, both governments are proceeding to enhance cooperation in agriculture, telecommunications, information technology, steel, oil, natural gas, hydrocarbons and food processing.According to the ministry of external affairs, relations with Myanmar have become truly multi-faceted, ‘with cooperation in a range of developmental and other projects in the areas of roads, power, hydro-carbon, oil refinery, transmission lines, telecommunications and information technology.’

The bilateral border trade agreement of 1994 provides for border trade to be carried out from three designated border points, one each in Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.

2001 India and Burma inaugurated a major 160 kilometre highway, called the Indo-Myanmar Friendship Road,

Both nations sought to cooperate to counteract drug trafficking and insurgent groups operating in the border areas.[3]

India and Myanmar are leading members of BIMSTEC and the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, along with Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, helping India develop its influence and ties amongst Southeast Asian nations.

Joint statement of Thanshwe’s visit:

The Indian side agreed to consider Myanmar’s request for assistance in the three areas namely: IT development, Industrial development and Infrastructure development in Myanmar.

Construction and revamping of the Rhi-Tiddim road at a cost of more than US$ 60 million.

Grant of US$ 10 million for procurement of agricultural machinery from India.

The two leaders agreed to cooperate in the implementation of the Tamanthi and Shwezaye projects on the Chindwin River Basin in Myanmar.

The Myanmar side conveyed their gratitude for India’s line of credit of US$ 64 million in the transmission lines sector to be executed through M/s. PGCIL.

The two leaders agreed to upgrade the microwave link between Moreh to Mandalay under a line of credit of US$ 6 million from India.

The restoration of the historic Ananda temple in Bagan to be undertaken with the assistance of the Archaeological Survey of India, with the involvement of the Ministry of Culture of Myanmar.


The following agreements signed between India and Myanmar by different ministers/officials of the two sides were also witnessed by Chairman, State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar, Senior General Than Shwe and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters

Memorandum of Understanding regarding Indian Grant Assistance for Implementation of Small Development Projects

Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Science and Technology

Memorandum of understanding on Information Cooperation

Memorandum of understanding for the Conservation and Restoration of the Ananda Temple in Bagan


Krishna’s Visit:economy and security

Both the countries will also sign an agreement setting up Myanmar’s second industrial park with Indian help.

An memorandum of understanding will be signed for improving border trade by linking Manipur with Tiddim in Chin state of Myanmar through Rhi-Tiddim road.

Way Forward:

While India is concerned with the slow pace of progress on the issue of national reconciliation and the consequent delay in installing a democratically elected government in power in Yangon, the strategic scenario compels India to balance its security concerns with its support for the emergence of democratic rule.

It is only through close engagement that India can promote leverages with the ruling regime to nudge it gently towards national reconciliation.

India must also increase its economic footprint in Myanmar, particularly in areas that are contiguous to India.

The fear psychosis of Myanmar’s military junta is being exploited by China and this cannot be in the interest of either India or any of the other democracies of the free world.

It is important to end Myanmar’s isolation and to allay its fears that the whole world is ganging up against it.

India’s national interest lies in a strong and stable Myanmar that observes strict neutrality between India and China

For India, Myanmar is a bridge with Southeast Asia. In fact, it is a bridge between the countries comprising the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (where Myanmar has observer status) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


December 2011 update


The Myanmar govt, military, NLD and Suu Kyi are now together working towards reforms in the country. What should India’s role be now?

  • India should re-craft its Myanmar policy with a judicious mixture of pragmatism and boldness.
  • It should no longer be content with just a focus on managing development cooperation projects; it must enhance the political quotient of the relationship. It is time to articulate our interest in crafting ‘a strategic relationship’ with Myanmar.
  • There should be more high level visits to Myanmar
  • Accelerate business to business engagement and dialogue between the strategic communities

Myanmar is a lynch pin for Look East policy as it is the land bridge between India and ASEAN.

While the main thrust of the Look East Policy  has been economic and integration and energy security with the nations of South East Asia, in the case of Myanmar it is also of strategic importance and security of our North East.  India has a land border of 1640 Km and a coast line of 1930 Km to the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

It was in 1993 when India reversed its stand and started engaging the military regime.  Since then our relations with Myanmar has been in the upswing and had paid dividends (though some analysts consider that it is not commensurate with the effort). 


Major Indian Projects in Myanmar 

  • Construction, upgrading land resurfacing of the 160 Km long Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo road, upgradation of Rhi-Tidim and Rhi-Falam roads.
  • Kaladan Multi-modal Transport project
  • ADSL project for High Speed Data Link in 32 Myanmar Cities has been completed by TCIL
  • ISRO assisted Data Processing centre in Yangon
  • A heavy truck assembly of TATAs.
  • ONGC Videsh Limited, GAIL and ESSAR  have stakes in the energy sector in Myanmar


In addition India has exchanged high level visits with Myanmar.  India has supplied defence equipment and port calls by the Indian Navy Ships have been made. In January 2006, a Myanmar Navy ship participated in “Milan” at Port Blair.  This was a historic first ever visit of a Myanmar warship to any foreign port. Gen Deepak Kapoor Chief of Army Staff visited Myanmar in October 2009 and an Indian delegation led by the Home Secretary which included senior officials from Army and Military Intelligence visited Myanmar in January 2010.  Myanmar is learnt to have agreed to launch “coordinated operations” to flush out NE militants from its territory—quite similar to what Bhutan did against ULFA in 2003. Bilateral Trade has expanded significantly from US $ 12.4 million in 1980-81 to US $ 951.14 million in 2008-09.

Myanmar has been given the status of observer in SAARC in August 2008



[su_heading size=”21″]Indo-Bangladesh[/su_heading]


  • Longest boundary: 4096 km
  • Common cultural ties and history of national movement
  • 1971 liberation
    • India provided haven to refugees
    • Provided aid, training and shelter for the exiled govt of Bangladesh
  • 1972: Treaty of friendship, cooperation and peace
    • Aka Indira-Mujib treaty
  • 1975: Assassination of Mujib
    • Establishment of military regimes that sought to distance Bangladesh from India
  • ULFA started operating its bases from the territory of Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh alleged that India was supporting the Shanti Bahini insurgency in the Chittagong Hill tracts
  • Some points
    • Our geographical proximity makes us natural partners
    • Common cultural identity can promote this partnership

Major Outstanding Issues

Table 1

Issue India’s Concern Bangladesh’s Concern
Security Bangladesh’s haven to NE insurgent groups, especially ULFA: already taken care by the Sheikh Hasina government  
Water sharing[1]/Farakka Barrage, Teesta and Feni   There are 54 rivers in common. Bangladesh says that it does not receive a fair share of the Ganges waters during the drier seasons, and gets flooded during the monsoons when India releases excess waters
Enclaves 51 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh (28 sq km) 111 Bangladeshi enclaves in India (70 sq km)
Immigration There is illegal immigration from Bangladesh to India, especially in Assam and Tripura  
Maritime Boundary This is mine No this is mine
Fencing of borders India has fenced borders  


Table 2

Binders Separators
1.       India’s role in Bangladesh’s liberation – Indira Gandhi conferred the highest national award 1.       Security concerns: India shares the longest international border with Bangladesh
2.       Share common concerns: poverty, development, corruption and terrorism 2.       The issue of enclaves:
3.       Shared history and common heritage. Linked by culture: Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali language, outflow-inflow of people 3.       There is no demarcation of maritime boundary. Bangladesh has gone to the Tribunal of the Law of the Seas in this issue
4.       In 1982, India had gifted the ‘teen bigha’ region to Bangladesh so that it could link its two enclaves 4.       Negative mindset towards India still prevails among certain Bangladeshi circles
5.       Bilateral trade in 2009-10 was 3.507 bn USD. India enjoys trade surplus. 5.


Institutional mechanisms for cooperation

  • Joint Rivers Commission
  • Joint Economic Commission
  • Joint Working group on Security; Joint Boundary Working Group etc

Relations in recent



  • Sheikh Hasina visited India

Table 3

Steps Forward Steps Backward
1.       During recent visit to Bangladesh, SM Krishna signed an agreement on the protection and promotion of investments on both sides 1.       There are extreme right wing parties in Bangladesh (like BNP) which have opposed the recent strengthening of ties with India. If this government loses power, other governments might not maintain this friendly attitude towards India.
2.       Conducted joint census exercise in the enclaves in 2011 2.       In 2010, some 74 Bangladeshis were killed by the BSF
3.       Border management deal signed in July 2011[2]. 3.       Minor glitch in 2011 when PM MMS mentioned that 25 % of Bangladeshis are anti-India. < But Bangladesh handled this well and underplayed the remark. This shows that the two countries are moving towards a more mature relationship>
4.       Bangladesh has cracked down upon the anti-India insurgent groups based in  Bangladesh 4.       Teesta issue was not resolved in the Sept 2011 meeting. Mamta Banerjee withdrew from the meeting
5.       Signed a crucial deal to allow the Indian goods to be trans-shipped to India’s land locked NE region (?) 5.
6.       India has accorded a credit line of US$ 1 billion to Bangladesh for improving railway infrastructure, supply of 250 MW electricity everyday and dredger to de-silt rivers. It is the largest sum of soft credit India has ever offered to any country. 6.
7.       Transport line through Bangladesh will be beneficial for India to access its North-Eastern states. Two countries have agreed to link Agartala (Tripura) and Akhuara in Bangladesh by Rail 7.
8.       Due to Bangladesh’s crackdown ULFA has agreed to hold a peace dialogue with Indian government. 8.
9.       India allowed Bangladesh transit through its territory for trade with the landlocked Nepal and Bhutan  
10.   India’s help to Bangladesh during times of natural disaster etc  
11.   In 2010, Bangladesh allowed India, Nepal and Bhutan to use the Chittagong and Mongla seaports for the landlocked Indian northeast.  
12.   In Aug 2011, signed joint border maps, finalising the 4156 km long frontier between the neighbours  
13.   Cross border trade has got a boost with the opening of new land ports and building of a new immigration building and truck terminal at India’s Petrapole port bordering West Bengal  
14.   In Sept 2011, MMS visited Bangladesh. Demarcation of border agreed on. But sharing of river water, especially Teesta, is still an issue  


Border dispute genesis

  • Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman agreed to demarcate in 1974 the border between the two countries.
  • Later, the two governments arrived at shared maps of 4096 km – but disputed enclaves left 6.5 km unresolved
  • India has 111 enclaves spread over 17158 acres in Bangladesh (150000 residents)
  • Bangladesh has 51 enclaves, covering 7110 acres inside India, with a population of about 50000
  • In addition, 38 patches of Indian territory spread over 3000 acres are in the possession of Bangladesh, while some 50 patches of Bangladesh territory measuring about 3345 acres are held by India
  • Genesis
    • Rajas of Cooch Behar and Rangpur in the 18th century used to put up lands as stakes in chess games between them. Hence, patches went to different Rajas
    • These territories were not accounted for at the time of the partition of India
    • They thus became enclaves when the princely states joined the new countries

Recent changes in Bangladesh and impact on India



  • Durable peace and lasting good neighbourliness are essential in South Asia.




The Home Minister told the press conference that a headcount of the 162 enclaves — 51 in Bangladesh and 111 in Indian territories — had been completed. The total population of the enclaves is 51,000

The Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) was signed in the presence of Home Minister P. Chidambaram and his Bangladesh counterpart Shahara Khatoon on Saturday, with the hope that this would further enhance the quality of border management.

Ms. Khatoon said the coordinated efforts of the BGB and the BSF would check smuggling and trafficking of humans, drugs and arms.

Maritime Bdry:

India and Bangladesh started their bilateral talks way back in 1974, which was inconclusive. India was looking for equidistant border where Bangladesh was for equity based boundary. The same difference in arguments rendered Bangladesh-Myanmar talks inconclusive as well. But, India and Myanmar (opposite States) agrred upon equidistant boundary.

There are four issues involved in the maritime boundary. First, is the determination of the Hariabhanga border river boundary, especially the ownership of South Talpatty Island, which has to be settled. Second, is the determination of boundary of territorial waters up to 12 miles. Third, there is a need for determination of the boundary of the exclusive economic zone of another 188 miles from the end of territorial waters (12 +188 miles=200 miles economic zone.) Lastly, there remains the issue of boundary demarcation of the continental shelf up to another 150 miles from the end of the exclusive economic zone (200 +150 miles=350 miles of continental shelf).

On the Hariabhanga River boundary issue, it is suggested that a fixed boundary on the river with geographical coordinates may be agreed upon, as was the case between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the Naaf River. The disputed South Talpatti Island that is supposed to have emerged after the 1970 cyclone is actually a low-tide elevation. It is located about 4 kilometres south of the Hariabhanga river (21.37 N latitude and 89.12 E longitude). The direction of the mid-flow (deepest channel) of the river Hariabhanga will determine the ownership of the Island.


What is required at this stage is that the process of negotiation should recommence at a political level and for the government leaders look at the problem from a broader view of bilateral relations without confining themselves to the legal and technical details. The bottom line is that India’s political leaders must decide as to whether Bangladesh would get a fair and equitable share of the economic zone and continental shelf of the Bay of Bengal. India’s claim in the Bay of Bengal constitutes about three per cent of its total economic zone and continental shelf while for Bangladesh its entire economic zone is at stake.



While India gives top priority to transit facilities through Bangladesh to northeastern India and denial of sanctuary for Indian insurgents in Bangladesh, Bangladesh’s top priority rests on water sharing, and water management of common rivers (54 rivers flow to Bangladesh from India), implementation of land border agreement of 1974 and duty and hassle free access of Bangladesh’s products to India’s market. With regard to bilateral trade, both countries agreed “to address removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers” and establishing border hats on selected areas including on the Meghalayan border.  Bangladesh wanted to open the border hat on Bangladesh-Meghalaya border on 14 April (1st day of Bengali Year) but could not be opened. Recently Bangladesh Commerce Minister expressed his disappointment at the delay in establishing border hat and removing tariff and non-tariff barriers

Many Bangladesh people believe that India with its vast resources and more than a trillion dollar- economy, would be forthcoming in following the ‘Gujral doctrine’ which means strict reciprocity is not intended for smaller neighbours and whatever accommodation India is able to give, it provides without reciprocity. Regrettably many in Bangladesh take India’s promises with caution because in the past, either the promises were not delivered or were put into cold storage due to the federal-state bureaucratic maze in India.

One of the reasons for India’s assistance to the birth of Bangladesh, according to many observers, was not only to weaken Pakistan but also to dismantle the network used to assist separatists in India’s northeast.

Another motivation for India to turn a new page with Bangladesh is that given the depth of Chinese influence in Myanmar, India fears that Bangladesh could also come under China’s sway if it does not sincerely address Bangladesh’s needs.

joint communique

On an examination of the contents of joint communique, it appears India could have removed at least  200 items (instead of only 47) from its negative list, and provided more time-bound framework to settle sea boundary and land boundary issues, although in water sharing, the communique has provided an early meeting at the Ministerial level by April 2010.

Both sides would reap the benefits of transit facilities once put in place. It is also likely to open fresh avenues for regional connectivity.

Bangladesh will allow the Mongla and Chittagong seaports to be used for the movement of Indian goods, transported through rail and road linkages.

India and Bangladesh have also agreed to restore railway links in order to enhance people-to-people contact and boost bilateral trade and investment. Initially Bangladesh and India proposed a rail link between Agartala in Tripura and Akhura in Bangladesh; later, however, the link between Agartala and Gangasagar (in Bangladesh) was finalized to avoid passing through densely populated areas near the Akhura junction.

The Indian Railways’ Northeast Frontier Railway is also conducting a survey to extend the railways up to Sabroom in Tripura and to set up connectivity with the Chittagong Port in Bangladesh, which is just 72kms away.


Tipaimukh dam:

The Tipaimukh Dam is located near the confluence of the Barak and the Tuivai rivers in the Tipaimukh sub-division of the Churachandpur district of Manipur. This area is close to the Manipur-Mizoram-Assam border, and therefore the project involves the three states in Northeast India. The Barak river which flows downstream to meet the Surma river system in Bangladesh, is considered to be the lifeline of the Sylhet region in Bangladesh. There have been intense debates in Bangladesh among civil society groups, environmental groups, human rights organizations and media over the implications of the Tipaimukh Dam on the share of water coming from upper-riparian India. This debate continues to gather momentum as civil society groups from Manipur in India and Sylhet in Bangladesh voice similar concerns and demands across international borders.



[su_heading size=”21″]Indo- Srilanka[/su_heading]

Mahatma Gandhi called India, Sri Lanka’s “nearest neighbour”. It is through that prism that we see our ties with this island nation.


June 12

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to India fruitful with a number of agreements signed to strengthen and expand bilateral co-operation.

For three decades, the Tamil question dominated the ties between India and Sri Lanka. With the elimination of LTTE the relations can be reformulated on new lines. Willingness for co-operation is evident from the agreement to open an Indian consulate in the southern city of Hambantota.

The immediate issue has been resettlement of the Tamils displaced during the Elam war.

October 2010

Rajapaksa was invited as the chief guest of the CWG closing ceremony. India discussed the issue of Tamil re-settlement with him. At present, Rajpaksa enjoys two-thirds support in the Parliament. He has passed a constitutional amendment removing the bar from him to contest for President for more than two terms. With such a majority, it is the best time for him to address the Tamil issue. One of the ways of reconciliation is to grant greater autonomy to the Tamil speaking regions of Sri Lanka.

Territorial Issues

  • Killing of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters
  • Kachchatheevu Island
    • The island was given to Sri Lanka by India in 1974
    • Tamil Nadu government has been demanding the annulment of this ceding


  • India is Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner overall
  • The overall trade turnover grew five times within eight years since the entry into force in 2000 of the bilateral FTA.

  • India now has 4 missions in Sri Lanka
    • The consulates at Jaffna and Hambantota were opened in 2010.
  • July 2011: India-Lanka begin work on the Kankasanthurai port
    • This was a port near Jaffna that was earlier partly controlled by LTTE

Energy Cooperation

  • We want to sell them electricity


  • Mahatma Gandhi called Sri Lanka ‘India’s closest neighbour’
  • More than 2500 years old relationship
    • Intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic intercourse
  • Growing contacts at the highest political level, growing trade and investment, cooperation in the fields of development, education, culture and defence, as well as a broad understanding on major issues of international interest.


Major Outstanding issues

  • Tamil resettlement issue
  • Killing of Indian fishermen


Table 1

Opportunities Challenges
After the Eelam war Sri Lanka is looking at its development. India can be a partner in development.  
The mechanism for Joint Commission has been revived  



Table 2

Positives Negatives
1.       End of the Eelam War has provided opportunity to both the countries to expand their relationship in the new areas.  
2.       Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters and Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners.  
3.       The recent announcement of Sri Lanka to lift the emergency regulations can further boost the ties  
4.       NTPC, Ceylon Electricity Board to set up  500 MW power plant at Sampur in Sri Lanka. This is NTPCs first overseas venture  


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