India and Other Countries Class 9 Political Science Notes Maharashtra State Board
In this chapter, we shall take a critical review of India’s relations with neighboring countries. We will also understand India’s relations with some faraway nations.
India and It’s Neighbours
India’s position in Asia is geographically and politically important. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Maldives are India’s neighbors. The values of equality and mutual respect have great importance in India’s foreign policy. India has established relations with neighboring countries based on these values. India is the biggest country in the Indian subcontinent. Similarly, India is economically and technologically more advanced. It is thus natural that India has a great influence among the South Asian countries.
India and Pakistan
1947 India was partitioned and two independent countries, India and Pakistan, were created.
Indo-Pak relations are influenced by three main factors:
- Differences in the world views of both countries
- The Kashmir question and
- Nuclear rivalry between the two countries
India and Pakistan have different world views. In line with the Indian worldview, India opposed the military alliances of the Cold War and tried to solve the Indo-Pak conflict bilaterally. The Shimla Agreement of 1972 was based on this principle. On the other hand, Pakistan tried to maintain relations with the Islamic world and China and entered into a military agreement with America.
Pakistan considers Kashmir as the biggest hurdle in establishing relations with India. The first Indo-Pak war took place in 1965 over Kashmir. The Tashkent Agreement was signed in 1966, but nothing much came out of it. Even though the 1971 war was about the creation of Bangladesh, it also had the dimension of the Kashmir problem to it. The Shimla Agreement in 1972 provided a new format to the interaction between India and Pakistan. In 1999, there was a conflict between India and Pakistan over the infiltration by Pakistan in the Kargil region. Even today the Kashmir question is the basic cause of conflict between the two countries. The nature of the conflict has changed and this new type of conflict can be described as terrorism.
Both India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998 and that gave rise to new concerns in this region. Many countries feel that these two nations should not get locked into a nuclear conflict. One more issue in Indo-Pak relations is the border dispute in the Sir Creek area. Both countries have made efforts to establish a dialogue with each other; but considering how Pakistan is supporting terrorists against India and is engineering terrorist activities in India, all efforts at establishing dialogue are proving to be unsuccessful.
The conflict between India and China is connected to two issues: The border issue and the Status of Tibet. The Border dispute between India and China is related to the Aksai Chin area and the Macmahon line. China claims that the area south of Aksai Chin and Macmahon line (Arunachal Pradesh) is Chinese Territory. China is not willing to agree that Macmahon Line is an international border. India made several efforts to sort out this border dispute using dialogue. But it has not met with much success. In 1962 China attacked India. Tibet was traditionally autonomous. But when China was stepping up its military control in Tibet, Dalai Lama took asylum in India. This issue has been responsible for the conflict between the two countries.
The threat to India’s security is increasing due to the friendship between China and Pakistan, the supply of weapons from China to Pakistan, and also transfer of missile and nuclear weapons technology. The increasing friendship between China and Pakistan and the increasing influence of China over India’s other neighbors is a cause of concern for India. Even then, India has always made efforts to improve relations with China. A joint executive group has been set up to solve the Sino-Indian border dispute. When the rate of economic growth of both India and China increased, the trade relations between both countries began to strengthen. Because of the improvement in economic and trade relations between India and China and a series of tripartite talks between Russia, China, and India, Sino-Indian relations are improving slowly. Even though the border dispute is not completely resolved, it has taken a back seat and relations in other areas have become more important.
India and Other Neighbours
There is a lot of political instability in Afghanistan. The dominance of the terrorist organization Taliban is responsible for this. India has extended help to bring peace, security, and stability, curb violence, and establish a democratic government. Similarly, India is also helping Afghanistan in reestablishing communication facilities that have been destroyed due to war, building roads, cooperating in the fields of science and technology, and building schools, health facilities, and irrigation projects.
Today’s Bangladesh is the erstwhile East Pakistan. When Pakistan was created, it had two parts: West and East Pakistan. There was linguistic difference between them. There were other political conflicts as well. The movement to liberate Bangladesh emerged out of this. This movement tried to free Bangladesh from the dominance of West Pakistan. India helped Bangladesh in its freedom struggle. Bangladesh was formed in 1971. Some treaties were signed between India and Bangladesh about sharing river waters and some regarding the shared border, which put an end to the conflict between them. Now trade relations between the two countries are growing.
India has friendly relations with its southern neighbour Sri Lanka. Political instability in Sri Lanka after 1985 was a result of the differences between the Tamils and the Sri Lankan Government. At that time India had sent a peacekeeping force to help the Sri Lankan government. Friendly relations with Sri Lanka are important from the point of view of security in the Indian Ocean.
Nepal and Bhutan are landlocked countries surrounded by mountainous terrain. Their boundaries are linked with India and China. The foundation of friendship between India and Nepal was laid with the Indo-Nepalese Friendship Treaty in 1950. According to this treaty, Nepalese citizens can not only enter India but they are also permitted to take up government jobs and carry on trade in India. The year 1990 marked the beginning of Nepal’s transition to democracy. Nepal is dependent upon India for economic progress, basic facilities, food-related needs, trade, and energy needs. India sent a lot of help to Nepal at the time of the 2015 earthquake.
India bears the responsibility for the defense of Bhutan. Bhutan has a huge source of water. India has cooperated in the project to produce hydel power on a large scale using this source.
Myanmar is India’s door to the South East Asian countries. South Asia, Middle Asia, and South East Asia will be connected with the rail and roadways that are being developed in this area. This will help increase trade and other exchange in this region. India will be able to import natural gas from Myanmar.
India’s relations with Maldives have been friendly right from the beginning. This small nation to the South of India is dependent on India for a lot of reasons. Trade relations have been established between the two since 1981. India has helped Maldives in the development of basic facilities or infrastructure, health, and communication. From 2006 onwards, cooperation in the military field also started between the two countries. They have entered into treaties concerning cooperation in space research, conservation of historical objects, and tourism. Similarly, they have decided to cooperate in the area of fighting against terrorism.
Myanmar and Aung Sang Su Kyi:
Aung Sang Su Kyi is credited with having established democracy in Myanmar after a long-drawn struggle against the military regime there. She has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC):
SAARC is a regional organization established by the South Asian countries in 1985. This organization aims to encourage economic cooperation between South Asian nations and thereby achieve the development of the South Asian region. The organization of SAARC is a platform for South Asian countries to come together and discuss common questions and interests. Some common interests of South Asian countries are the alleviation of poverty, the development of agriculture, and technological revolution. Some treaties were signed on the SAARC platform to make it easy for South Asian countries to trade with each other. As a part of this, it has been decided that South Asia should be made into a free trade area. For the equitable development of South Asian nations, a treaty about forming the South Asian Free Trade Area was signed and South Asian University was established.
India and America
India and America are two powerful nations that have democratic political systems. Right from the beginning, America was India’s most important trading partner. Many Indians went to America for education or work. Due to the presence of these non-resident Indians, the cultural, social, and economic relations between America and India have been increasing. After the end of the Cold War, the military relations between India and America increased on a large scale. After India accepted a free market economy, the speed of economic progress slowly increased. It resulted in further strengthening the trade relations between India and America.
When India conducted nuclear tests in 1998, there was tension in the relations between the two countries. Many rounds of discussions took place after that to improve the relations. Through these rounds of talks, America came to believe that India would use its nuclear weapons with responsibility. This completely transformed the Indo-American relations. The Civil Nuclear Agreement signed in 2005 and approved by the U.S. Congress in 2008 was an important landmark in Indo-American relations. In the last five years, cordial relations of cooperation in different areas have developed between India and America. In 2005, the India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Agreement was signed by Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, and George W. Bush Jr. the then-American President. In 2008 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gave its approval to the deal. Because of this deal, it became possible for India to get nuclear technology from other countries as well.
India and Russia
India the erstwhile Soviet Union and Russia of today have always shared friendly relations. In 1971, the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation was signed between them and it gave great impetus to cooperation between the two countries in defense and technology. The Soviet Union has also given economic and military help to India on a large scale. When the Soviet Union collapsed, India tried to establish relations with Russia. Due to the political and economic problems in Russia, relations did not improve much. After 1996, Indo-Russian relations began to improve slowly. India and Russia have jointly built projects related to the production of military equipment, production of mineral oil, etc.
India and European Nations
There are trade relations between European nations and India. Especially Germany and France invest on a large scale in the field of technology in India. Apart from this India gets the technology of production of weapons from European nations. India is a major exporter in the fields of engineering and information technology. Both have the objective of firmness on free trade. India and European nations are cooperating in other areas as well. Several treaties have been signed in the fields of climate change, clean energy, defense production, disaster management, security of air space, and terrorism. This cooperation is very important from the point of view of India’s development.
India and the Continent of Africa
India has consciously taken steps to build cooperation between India and the continent of Africa. Having close relations with Africa will be beneficial from the point of view of both. Many countries in Africa are developing rapidly. India has shown its readiness to help in the all-around development of African youth. India has also agreed to give economic help and even grants to bring about development in different areas like technology, agriculture, tourism, etc. India’s energy needs can be fulfilled by energy-rich countries like Egypt, Nigeria, Angola and Sudan. India is making efforts to increase trade with Africa. The Summit Conference of India and Africa was held in 2015 and representatives from all 54 African nations attended it. At this conference, discussions were held on many global issues, for example, climate change, terrorism, piracy, etc.
India and the Indo-Pacific Area
The Indo-Pacific area includes countries like Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the Southeast Asian nations. All of these have close trade relations with India. Many companies there have invested in India. Treaties have been signed between India and Australia about social security, extradition of criminals, the mission against the smuggling of drugs, terrorism, art, and culture. Japan cooperates with India in basic facilities, economic cooperation, information technology, atomic energy, and railways. Japan has agreed to extend cooperation and technological help to India in the development and security of coastal areas. Joint naval exercises are carried out between the navies and coast guards of both countries.
India and South East Asia
India has had very cordial relations with Southeast Asian nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Brunei. After 1991 India changed its economic policy and adopted a free market economy. After that, the trade relations with Southeast Asian nations have grown. Increasing trade with Southeast Asian nations is known as the ‘Look East’ policy. After 2014, this policy was made further active. It is nowadays known as the ‘Act East’ policy.
India and West Asia
The West Asian countries are primarily suppliers of oil and natural gas. India has traditionally had relations with these countries. India depends upon the oil coming in from West Asia. India imports oil from Iran, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. We get modern technology for agriculture and defense equipment from Israel. Also, many Indians live in Israel for their jobs or businesses. They also make a major contribution to our economy. The main objective of India’s foreign policy is to maintain friendly relations with all nations and help each other to bring about the development of India as well as other nations. We have taken stock of India’s relations with the main countries in the world. In the next chapter, we shall study some important international or global issues.
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