The bilateral ties between Bhutan and India have always been close and both nations share a ‘special friendship’ and have been through the test of times. India, to date remains influential over Bhutan’s foreign policy, defence, and Commerce. However, India must not exploit this position for its selfish interests and must ensure that there are mutual benefits for both sides.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first foreign visit in his second term to Sri Lanka and the Maldives shows the Indian government’s traditional diplomatic emphasis on the “Neighbourhood First” Policy. It is necessary for India to maintain an amicable relationship with its immediate neighbours to achieve its aspiration as a global power as these nations are economically and strategically important. However, for the past few years, India has faced challenges while maintaining bilateral relations with the neighbouring nations. Now, the government is taking measures to address these challenges to obtain a strategic advantage in the region.
The India-Bangladesh bilateral relationship has witnessed unprecedented heights over the last few years. This is because of Bangladesh’s growing geopolitical importance in the current times. Bangladesh is a key player in India’s Act East Policy and Neighbourhood First Policy. India’s ties with Bangladesh can ensure an economic boost to north-eastern India and the absence of terrorism and insurgency in the region. However, there are still a few contentious issues that are affecting India-Bangladesh bilateral ties. India would do well to proactively boost its ties with Bangladesh for its economic growth and for enhancing its presence in the international arena.
India and Myanmar have recently signed an MoU after holding talks on a range of issues on joint military exercises and training provided to Myanmar Defence Services in India, joint maritime security surveillance and cooperation in new infrastructure projects. These talks are of vital importance given the growing influence of China in the region.
The release of a restructured map of India in November 2019 after the abrogation of Article 370 had reopened old wounds in the Indo-Nepalese relationship. With the evolution of COVID-19 pandemic this Indo-Nepalese impasse appears to have been on the backburner. However, with the recent inauguration of a new road stretching around 80km from Drachula in Uttarakhand to Lipulekh pass by the Indian Defence Minister, it seems to have resurrected.