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India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ Policy

India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ Policy:

Indian External Affairs Minister met with Maldives President stating that India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy and the Maldives’ ‘India First’ policy complement each other, advancing the special partnership.

  • Under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, India is committed to developing friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all its neighbours.
  • India is an active development partner and is involved in several projects in these countries.
  • India’s policy of ‘Neighbourhood First’ focuses on creating mutually beneficial, people-oriented, regional frameworks for stability and prosperity.
  • India’s engagement with these countries is based on a consultative, non-reciprocal and outcome-oriented approach, which focuses on delivering benefits like greater connectivity, improved infrastructure, stronger development cooperation in various sectors, security and broader people-to-people contacts.


  • India has entered into MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
  • These agreements ensure a free flow of resources, energy, goods, labour, and information across borders.
  • Priority is to improve the relations with immediate neighbours as peace and tranquillity in South Asia is essential for realising development agenda.
  • It focuses on vigorous regional diplomacy by engaging with neighbouring nations and building political connectivity through dialogue.
  • Economic Cooperation:
    • It focuses on enhancing trade ties with neighbours.
    • India has participated and invested in SAARC as a vehicle for development in the region.
    • One such example is the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) grouping for energy development i.e. motor vehicles, waterpower management and inter-grid connectivity.
  • Disaster Management:
    • The policy also focuses on cooperating on disaster response, resource management, weather forecasting and communication and also capabilities and expertise in disaster management for all South Asian citizens.
  • Military and Defence Cooperation:
    • India is also focusing on deepening security in the region through military cooperation by conducting as well as participating in various defence exercises.