Neighborhood-First policy needs to reach grassroots: Shyam Saran

Published On: June 11, 2024 06:56 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 11: Former Indian Foreign Secretary and Ambassador of India to Nepal, Shyam Saran, has said that there is the need for extending India's neighborhood-first policy to the grassroots level. He said that although India introduced this policy, it has yet to effectively reach the grassroots.

When Narendra Modi first became Prime Minister in 2014, he introduced the neighborhood-first policy to prioritize relationships with the neighboring countries.

Saran stated that because India is the largest country in the subcontinent, it should maintain relations with its neighbors with a big heart. He said, "Both countries play an equally important role in advancing the relationship between India and Nepal. However, in my opinion, India needs to take more initiatives." Saran clarified that for India to become powerful in Asia and the world, it must first have harmonious relations with its neighbors.

At an interactive program organized by the Center for Social Innovation and Foreign Policy (CESIF), Saran stressed the importance of regional cooperation in South Asia. He suggested collaboration in areas such as climate change, economic and trade aspects, transit and transport, energy, and security. Reflecting on his tenure as the ambassador to Nepal 20 years ago, he remarked that discussions about the energy sector were not taken seriously back then. "But now, energy trade from Nepal to India is a reality, which is a recent development," he added.

Saran clarified that regardless of which government comes to power in India, the core aspects of its foreign policy will remain unchanged. "New governments may bring different working styles and presentations, but the foreign policy remains the same," he said.

He also pointed out that there will be no change in the foreign policy even if a coalition government has been formed for a third time under Narendra Modi's leadership. Saran explained that the allied parties of the Bharatiya Janata Party, like Janata Dal United and Telugu Desam Party, focus on internal agendas during elections, which means the foreign policy of the Modi government will remain consistent.


Leave A Comment