Prime Minister Modi in His Third Time, Once Again Focuses on 'Neighbourhood First' Policy

As PM Modi in his third incumbency once again focuses on ‘neighbourhood first’ policy. This policy prioritises improving physical, digital and people-to-people connectivity between India and its neighbours, while also boosting trade and commerce.

In an historic event , Mr. Modi on 9th June swears in as India’s Prime Minister now third time in a row, and once again pushes focus on ‘neighbourhood policy’ and ‘SAGAR vision’ and how it will take shape over the next 5 years.

The policy will determine India’s work for peace, progress and prosperity of the region in close partnership with the countries, even as it purseus its goal of ‘VIKSIT BHARAT’ by 2047.
Mr. Modi made these comments during meetings with leaders from India’s neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region leaders who attended the swearing-in ceremony of the new govt. at the Rashtrapati last evening.

The foreign neighbourhood leaders that attended yesterday’s oath ceremony –

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe; Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu; Seychelles Vice-President Ahmed Afif; Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina; Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’; and Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.
Because once upon a team, India including its neighbours were knows as Indian subcontinent only. That’s why India shares India has historically shared deep cultural, economic and political ties with its neighbours. After independence, India aimed to establish itself as a regional leader. However, historical conflicts, differing political ideologies and border disputes often strained these relationships. It officially came to being in 2008.

Why, ‘Neighbourhood policy’ is important in current times?

1. Growing China Threat:

Over the past decade, China has strengthened its economic and military ties with India’s neighbours in South Asia, which could pose a challenge for India.
Reported by Mint, some strategic experts warn of a Chinese hand behind the strain in India-Nepal ties, they warn that growing Chinese influence in the region could pose a challenge for India in the rest of South Asia as well.

Over the past decade, China has replaced India as the major trading partner of several South Asian countries. For instance, the share of India’s trade with Maldives was 3.4 times that of China’s in 2008. But by 2018, China’s total trade with Maldives slightly exceeded that of India. China’s trade with Nepal and Sri Lanka still lags India’s trade with those countries but the gap has shrunk.

2. Support in Multilateral forums:

Working with neighbouring partners strengthens India’s leadership role in representing the interests of the Global South at international forums.
For example, In the year 2022 India’s neighbour Sri Lanka backed India for permanent member status at UN security Council.

3. Ensuring territotial integrity :

Collaboration with neighbouring countries is essential for India to protect its territorial integrity and tackle separatist threats effectively.
For example, On march 4th Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Saturday said that cross-border issues like increasing infiltration, and cattle smuggling are the concerns of both India and Bangladesh while assuring that the Director General of Police (DGP) of both the countries are working hard to control these kinds of issues which “will soon be dropped to zero”.