Recent Innovations in Foreign Policy
The Gujral Doctrine is a set of five principles to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India’s immediate neighbours as spelt out by I.K. Gujral, first as India’s foreign minister and later as the Prime Minister. Among other factors, these five principles arise from the belief that India’s stature and strength cannot be divorced from the quality of its relations with its neighbours. It, thus, recognises the supreme importance of friendly, cordial relations with neighbours. These principles are:
· First, with neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, India does not ask for reciprocity, but gives and accommodates what it can in good faith and trust;
· Second, no South Asian country should allow its territory to be used against the interest of another country in the region;
· Third, no country should interfere in the internal affairs of another;
· Fourth, all South Asian countries must respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; and,
· Finally, they should settle all their disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations.
According to Gujral, these five principles, scrupulously observed, will recast South Asia’s regional relationship, including the tormented relationship between India and Pakistan, in a friendly, cooperative mould.
The focus of the “Look East Policy” was to increase economic integration with the South East Asian countries and the area was just confined to South East Asia only. On the other hand the focus of the “Act East Policy” is economic and security integration and focussed area increased to South East Asia plus East Asia.
1. Promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at regional, bilateral and multilateral levels.
2. TO increase the interaction of the North-Eastern Indian states with other neighbouring countries.
3. TO find out the alternatives of the traditional business partners like; more focus on the Pacific countries in addition to the South East Asian countries.
Look East Policy of India was launched by the former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1991. The main focus of this policy was to shift the country’s trading focus from the west and neighbours to the booming South East Asian countries. The NDA government in the centre upgraded this policy as the “Act East Policy” at the East Asia Summit held in Myanmar in November 2014.
· It is part of India’s foreign policy that actively focuses on improving ties with India’s immediate neighbours which is being termed as Neighbourhood first policy in the media.
· It was started well by inviting all heads of state/heads of government of South Asian countries during the inauguration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term and later held bilateral talks with all of them individually which was dubbed as a mini SAARC summit.
· Prime Minister made his first foreign visit to Bhutan in his first term.