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“Neighbourhood first” Policy: India offers to link its growth with Sri Lanka

India is assisting Sri Lanka in a number of development projects, including health and education

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Sushma Swaraj. Image source: www.youtube.com
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NEW DELHI: In what can be called symbolic of its “neighbourhood first” policy, India has offered to link its growth story with southern neighbour Sri Lanka.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said this during a meeting with Sri Lankan Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama during his visit to New Delhi on July 4-5, it is reliably learnt.

According to sources, discussions between Sushma Swaraj and Samarawickrama focussed on the “neighbourhood first” policy of India .

“External Affairs Minister reiterated that India would like its economic growth trajectory to also lead to growth for Sri Lanka,” the sources said on Wednesday.

“Discussions with the External Affairs Minister reviewed the implementation of decisions taken at the ninth India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission meeting for furthering trade, investment and developmental linkages between India and Sri Lanka,” the sources said.

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India is assisting Sri Lanka in a number of development projects, including health and education.

“There was agreement on creating an enabling environment for Indian industry to invest in Sri Lanka,” the sources said.

Malik Samarawickrama. Image source: coyle.lk
Malik Samarawickrama (in the centre). Image source: coyle.lk

It is learnt that both Sushma Swaraj and Samarawickrama agreed to encourage further momentum on projects between the two countries.

“The two ministers reviewed various projects, including the Sampur power plant, rehabilitation of Palaly airfield and Kankesanthurai harbour,” the sources said.

Sushma Swaraj also emphasised on the urgency of finding a permanent solution to the fishermen issue, recommended by the Joint Commission Meeting in February this year, 2016.

On Wednesday, July 6, Sri Lanka arrested 17 Indian fishermen for fishing in its maritime territories.

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The sources said both sides agreed that a meeting between the fishery ministries of the two countries should be held at the earliest. (IANS)

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  • Aparna Gupta

    It is a great step to strengthen the Indi-Sri Lanka bond. This will help both the nations.

Next Story

India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.