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.