Monday, May 9, 2011

Foreign relations

Two seated men conversing. The first is dressed in Indian clothing and turban and sits before an Indian flag; the second is in a Western business suit and sits before a Russian flag.
India and Russia share an extensive economic, defence and technologicalrelationship. Shown here is PM Manmohan Singh with President Dmitry Medvedev at the 34th G8 Summit.
Since its independence in 1947, India has maintained cordial relations with most nations. In the 1950s, it strongly supported the independence of European colonies in Africa and Asia and played a pioneering role in the Non-Aligned Movement. In the late 1980s, India made two brief military interventions at the invitation of neighbouring countries, one by the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka and the other, Operation Cactus, in the Maldives. However, India has had a tense relationshipwith neighbouring Pakistan and the two countries have gone to war four times, in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. The Kashmir dispute was the predominant cause of these wars, excepting that of 1971, which followed the civil unrest in erstwhile East Pakistan. After the India-China War of 1962 and the 1965 war with Pakistan, India proceeded to develop close military and economic ties with the Soviet Union; by late 1960s, the Soviet Union had emerged as India's largest arms supplier.
Today, in addition to the continuing strategic relations with Russia, India has wide ranging defence relations with Israel and France. In recent years, India has played an influential role in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the World Trade Organization. The nation has provided 55,000 military and police personnel to serve in thirty-five UN peacekeeping operations across four continents. India is also an active participant in various multilateral forums, most notably the East Asia Summit and the G8+5. In the economic sphere, India has close relationships with the developing nations of South America, Asia and Africa. For about a decade now, India has also pursued a "Look East" policy which has helped it strengthen its partnerships with the ASEAN nations, Japan and South Korea on a wide range of issues, but especially economic investment and regional security.
Recently, India has also increased its economic, strategic and military cooperation with the United States and the European Union. In 2008, a civilian nuclear agreement was signed between India and the United States. Although India possessed nuclear weapons at the time and was not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it received waivers from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), ending earlier restrictions on India's nuclear technology and commerce. As a consequence, India has become the world's sixth de facto nuclear weapons state. Following the NSG waiver, India was also able to sign civilian nuclear energy cooperation agreements with other nations, including Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

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