Day 59 – Q 3. The internal affairs have had a substantial bearing on India’s relations with the neighbours. Elucidate.

  • IASbaba
  • August 17, 2020
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GS 2, International Relations, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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3. The internal affairs have had a substantial bearing on India’s relations with the neighbours. Elucidate.  

आंतरिक मामलों का भारत के पड़ोसियों के साथ संबंधों पर काफी असर पड़ा है। स्पष्ट करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects candidates to give a clear account of how and why the internal affairs of India have a substantial bearing of India’s relations with neighbours.


Since independence India’s  foreign policy has shifted manifold from the choice of Non-alignment during the Cold War period, and now transited to becoming an important Western strategic partner and providing a counterweight to China. The internal affairs in the regional international relations have played a prominent role in shaping India’s relations with the neighbouring countries.


India’s relations with its South Asian neighbours has always been influenced by the domestic internal factors such as ethnicity, religion, etc. Substantial bearing of internal affairs affected international relation with India’s neighbours as follow:

  • The relationship between India and Sri Lanka is more than 2,500 years old. 
  • Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka are Tamil people of Indian origin in Sri Lanka. They are also known as Hill Country Tamils, Up-Country Tamils or simply Indian Tamils. Though their numbers are much lesser as compared to Indian Origin Tamils (IOTs), they are economically prosperous and are well placed. 
  • Their Minority rights issue have affected India’s relations with Sri Lanka. In recent times to assert their  strong leadership over Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan political leaders are seen to be more pro-China, by sidelining India. Also there is issue of fishing territory for fishermen in the region.
  • The issue of Bangladeshi immigrants in the states of Assam and West-bengal has affected the relations between India-and Bangladesh. 
  • As the Bangladesh Prime Minister raised concerns over roll out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, an exercise carried to identify genuine Indian citizens living in Assam and weed out illegal Bangladeshis.
  • The Issue over the assertion of Pakistan’s territorial claim of Kashmir and threat to India’s sovereignty by this claim, has affected India’s relation with Pakistan tremendously.
  • Also the issue of drugs in the regions of Punjab and Rajasthan and human trafficking across the LOC is cause of concern for India’s relations with that of Pakistan.
  • The issues of AFSPA in the North eastern regions and in valley Kashimr has also impacted India’s relations with neighbouring countries.
  • Chinese aggression across LAC due to India’s infrastructure projects has also affected India-China relations in recent Past. As infrastructure building across the Border is an internal matter of India.
  • The issue of Madheshi origin people and their lineage with India has affected India’s relations with Nepal. As Identity politics with India is also visible within the country.
  • Nepali citizens from the Terai (Madhesis) feel discriminated as being “Indian”.
  • The issue of Rohingya migrants in Myanmar and India’s stand on Rohingya’s affected India’s relations with Myanmar. Also some of the insurgent groups in the regions of North-east have also affected India’s relations with Myanmar.
  • Internal Security is a major concern for India; Indo-Myanmar border is porous and lightly policed which is exploited by terrorist outfits and insurgent groups from North Eastern part of India eg. supply of trained cadres, arms trafficking.

Though some of the positive developments have also been observed in the past 

  • As India-Myanmar joint operation destroyed several militant camps of Arakan Army on the Indo-Myanmar border.
  • India and Bangladesh share 4096.7 km. of border, which is the longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbours. The India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) came into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification in June 2015.
  • India is also investing into Sri Lanka’s infrastructure development in the Northern and Eastern provinces. Which will in turn help the people of Indian origin Tamils in Sri Lanka.

In this way the internal affairs have a substantial bearing on the relations with neighbouring countries. Certainly some steps are needed to be taken to improve the relations with neighbouring countries: 

  • India needs to focus more on its traditional and cultural ties to improve relations with Sri Lanka. Mutual recognition of each other’s concerns and interests can improve the relationship between both countries.
  • As both countries have a democratic setup there is scope for broadening and deepening the ties.
  • We need to formulate a constructive mechanism to solve the immigrant and refugee issues in India, so that relations with neighbours such as Myanmar and Bangladesh can be improved.
  • Proper and suitable use of the regional groupings such as SAARC and BIMSTEC to improve relations between the Nations can prove to be more useful.
  • Strengthening bilateral ties by conducting bilateral military exercises with neighbouring Nations can be useful to tackle threat of terrorism. e.g. SURYAKIRAN with Nepal and Hand in Hand with China.
  • Staring a joint infrastructural developmental projects will also prove to be helpful so that internal affairs of country can be tackled neatly. 
  • Strict adherence to the PANCHSHEEL policy approach should be adopted. 


As India’s foreign policy has entered in to era of “Act east” from “Look East”, not addressing the concerns of our neighbours due to the internal affairs might seems to be wrong move. Hence, collaborating with the neighbours for  a better  and prosperous future should be the way forward.

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