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Playing ‘Big Brother’, distancing neighbours

Playing ‘Big Brother’, distancing neighbours

The Prime Minister Modi has been on a globetrotting spree ever since he assumed office in May last year making over twenty prime ministerial trips to different countries across the world.

The PM has just returned from his foreign trip to the US and discussions with the world leaders and corporate giants. Beyond all the hullabaloos of Modi’s foreign tours, the performance analysis graph of the NDA government strides downward in the case of foreign diplomatic relations. The high-profile visits gained with the help of event management groups turn out to be failures when it comes to realizing diplomatic ties with foreign countries. That the neighbouring countries have become perilous for India is an evidence for the fact. Modi had invited Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif for his swearing in ceremony last year kindling hopes of bonhomie between the two nations. Sharif had accepted the invite and attended the ceremony, the historic event dominating the headlines all over. Despite all the efforts, the ties between India and Pakistan worsened in no time leading to a loss of trust between the two nations. The strained relations coupled with the tensions along the border have further aggravated the scenario with Pakistan portraying a false picture of India at the UN General Assembly held recently. India’s relation with China, a major power in the region that plays a significant role in determining the politics of India’s neighbours, is not deep but of cautiousness.

The friendly ties with Sri Lanka and Maldives have also lost the warmth. But the recent important deals with Bangladesh provide some relief. The disputes between India and Nepal have snowballed into a terrifying scenario akin to conflicts along the border. The Prime Minister after coming to power had paid a visit to Nepal twice and guaranteed crores of financial assistance to the earthquake-struck country. But anti-India sentiments have been intensifying in Kathmandu for India’s ‘undeclared’ economic blockade with the protestors burning down Modi’s effigies. India’s intervention during the framing of a new Constitution for Nepal has apparently annoyed the latter. Nepal, a majority Hindu nation, adopted a new Constitution that defines it as a secular republic divided into seven federal provinces. While the rest of the world welcomed the decision, India had been critical of the move. The Madheshis and Tharus residing in the border area of Terai along the 1, 751 km long Indian border have close ties with India. These ethnic minorities have opposed the move saying that it was unfair to them and wanted to re-establish Nepal as a Hindu nation.

They, citing apprehensions of getting marginalized, organized protests and blocked Indian trucks carrying items like cooking fuel, medicines and produce at the border. Nepal depends on India for almost all its essential supplies. The protestors have also launched a campaign ‘Back off India’ on social media and demonstrated in the capital and other cities. Nepal’s decision to transform into a secular republic hasn’t gone down well with the Sangh Parivar government. The move has annoyed Modi and his party even as they appreciate Bangladesh’s radical secular government. They believe that the imposed economic blockade is due to the support of the Indian government. With festivals like Dussehra and Diwali looming over the corner, situations are likely to get tougher for Nepal. The country which has now declared that it would be depending on China alleges that India is seeking a Constitutional amendment due to its ‘Big Bother’ attitude. India on the other hand had denied imposition of any blockade or deterioration of ties. Given the existing tensions along the India-Pak border, the fast approaching elections in Bihar would be adversely hit if any tensions surge up along its eastern border. But Modi doesn’t have any diplomatic tactics so as to resolve the strains along its borders with neighbouring countries. Playing a ‘Big Brother’ in Nepal is foolishness that would only turn friends into foes. India has to rectify its mistake of distancing itself from its immediate neighbours through such disastrous steps.

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