ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Restructuring Constituent Foreign Policy of India?

Subnational Diplomacy

Regional cooperation in South Asia is difficult not only because of the geographical, historical and cultural complexity of the region, but more so because of the lack of stable leadership emanating from the bigger states like India. India’s foreign political and economic policies are being increasingly shaped by regional governments, political parties and leaders. The increasing ease with which regional players consult, exert pressure and influence the centre poses both opportunities and risks for India’s foreign policy strategy.

Regional cooperation in South Asia has proved to be a predicament as unique as the region itself. Cooperation is not developed in South Asia and this can be attributed to an amalgamation of factors, of which, one is India’s asymmetrically huge size—geographically, demographically and economically—compared to its neighbours. This huge size puts the onus on India to drive regional cooperation. India’s foreign policy, given its quasi-federal structure, does not make this easy.

Over the years, different states of India have formulated their respective economic policies to promote foreign investment, resulting in direct economic relations of regional states with respective foreign investors along with the increasing power of regional parties. This has, in turn, led to increasing assertiveness by different states, especially the border states, in the political arena with issues relating to the foreign policy of India. Be it Tamil Nadu advocating its own foreign policy towards Sri Lanka, or West Bengal towards Bangladesh, this conflict occurring in most of the border states remains an area of concern for India’s foreign policymakers.

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Updated On : 1st Jun, 2017
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