India and its Neighbours: China, Pakistan and Srilanka.


India and Pakistan

No two countries in the world have so much in common as India and Pakistan. Yet they have perpetually been in a state of undeclared war with varying degrees of intensity. Pakistan's aggression in Kargil (1999) brought the two countries even on the verge of a nuclear confrontation. The legacy of suspicion and mistrust predates the partition of India in 1947.

During the freedom struggle the Muslim League, under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah propounded the two-nation theory, in support of a separate Muslim state. Jinnah insisted that since Hindus and Muslims were two communities, two separate States must be constituted for the two communities.
The Indian National Congress (INC)'s long rejection of and reluctant acceptance of partition gave room for suspicion in Pakistan that India would try to undo the partition and divide Pakistan.

Moreover, Pakistan was concerned at the possibility of India's domination in the region and its inability to match india's power all by itself. Pakistan developed a perception that it is an incomplete state without Kashmir being incorporated into it. On the other hand, India perceives Kashmir's accession and integration into India as an essential element of its secular and federal democratic structure.


India and SriLanka

Sri Lanka, earlier known as Ceylon (until 1972), is a small island country situated in the Indian Ocean to the south of India. Its total area is 25,332 sq. miles. Of all countries, it has geographical proximity to India. Only 18 miles wide shallow water in the Palk Straits separates Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka from the Southernmost tip of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Its geostrategic location in the Indian Ocean (at the centre of commercial and strategic sea and air routes) and its closeness to US naval base in Diego Garcia indicates its importance far beyond its size, population and resources. The history of cultural relations between India and Sri Lanka dates back to the ancient times. Out of the total population of Sri Lanka, about 64 percent believe in Buddhism and about 15 percent believe in Hinduism. Sri Lanka became a British colony in the early 19th century. It was granted independence February 4, 1948.

India-Sri Lanka relations have generally been cordial, though there have been occasions of tense relations due to the ethnic conflict between Tamils and the Sinhalese. Despite ethnic problems, India has never sought to impose its will on Sri Lanka and has always based its foreign policy towards this southern neighbour on mutual understanding and friendship. An important area of common interest between the two neighbours is the foreign policy of non-alignment. Sri Lanka has generally stood neutral in Sino-Indian disputes. In fact, it made efforts to mediate between India and China after the war of 51962. Sri Lanka also showed understanding when India became nuclear. Recently in 2005, India extended valuable help to Sri Lanka after Tsunami devastated the coastal areas of that country.