Perhaps South Block did not gain as much as it had hoped to: there was a gulf in member states’ perceptions. One takeaway, therefore, for policy makers was that while noise has its uses, it is now time for some quiet diplomacy
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India's North Eastern States are part of one of the largest fluvial regions, they share this region with five other nations. At a recent conference, held on the sidelines of the the Nadi Festival in Shillong, the message of 'Listen to the dignity of the river' struck a chord with all present, and is a message which should be carried across the region.
Prime Minister Modi’s term has been marked by a resolve to improve cooperation among South Asian nations. These proactive efforts can bear rich fruit if the Modi government promotes the concept of geoeconomic and geopolitical equations being seen through the lens of bioregions. There are significant precedents which the Modi government can build upon
Nepal and India are trying to even out recent crimps in their decades-old relationship by focusing on areas of cooperation – such as, energy, trade, investment and infrastructure – with the bilateral cooperation agenda also including a public diplomacy programme
This year, India's defence diplomacy has ramped up. In 2015 alone there have been 18 military exercises- naval, army and air force- with 13 countries, among the largest engagements the country has had. Most significant is Japan joining the Malabar exercises in the Bay of Bengal and the first-ever maritime exercise with Australia. This is increasing India's presence from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. As these exercises intensify India will be better positioned to handle regional security challenges.
South Asia’s national anthems are patriotic rather than nationalistic.
As India celebrates its Independence Day, security situation on eastern borders is gradually moving towards stability with experiments in peace making focused on resolving insurgencies and border management. These experiments coupled with the sub-regional economic initiatives potentially put eastern region on the path of prosperity.
With the Modi government’s focus on improving neighbourhood relations, India cannot afford delays in its aid projects in the region—especially because aid is an effective foreign policy instrument. Why are these projects getting delayed? Is the government taking remedial steps to improve India’s aid programme?
Indian foreign secretary S. Jaishankar’s visit to SAARC countries from March 1 is an opportunity to examine the political trajectories in the region. While democracy in some countries like Sri Lanka is on an upswing, in others, like Bangladesh, it is in decline. With China’s growing economic influence in South Asia, can Indian democracy be an effective counterpoint?
The SAARC Yatra to be undertaken by foreign secretary S. Jaishankar from March 1 is an opportunity for India to improve relations, resurrect stalled projects and create new synergies with its neighbourhood. An initiative like this could hold the key to India shedding the ‘hegemon’ tag and pursuing mutually beneficial policies with its neighbours