Know India’s foreign policy – Part IV

Asia–Pacific

Australia

Prime Minister Modi and the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbottat the signing ceremony of the Framework for Security Cooperation between India and Australia. November 2014.

AustraliaIndia

India & Australia are both Commonwealth members. Sporting and cultural ties are significant. Australian cricketers often undertake large commercial ventures in India, enhanced with the IPL, and, to a lesser degree, theICL. Bollywood productions enjoy a large market in Australia. In 2007, PM John Howard visited to Mumbai and its entertainment industry, in efforts to increase Tourism in India to Australia.[112]

There are ongoing strategic attempts to form an “Asian NATO” with India, Japan, the US and Australia.[113] The bilateral agreements have worked out for all but the Indo-Australian angle, though this has been hurt by India’s refusal to sign the NPT and Australia’s consequent refusal to provide India with uraniumuntil the latter do so. However, Australia has now cleared uranium sales to India by Labour party decision in Australian parliament and by this development the relations between both thecommonwealth nations are set to improve. The Australian and Indian militaries have already worked well together. Of late the relations between the two countries were jolted by sensationalised media reporting in Indian media about attacks on Indian Community students in Melbourne, Australia. Indian Government lodged strong protests with the Australian Government. Australian Prime Minister Mr. Kevin Rudd said that “Australia valued its education system and International Students are valued more here in Australia.” Mr. Rudd though said that his Govt. has ordered a thorough probe into the attacks and also condemned it in strongest possible terms, and whilst no significant break-through was achieved immediately, during the last couple of years the attacks have been virtually eliminated by strong police enforcement and community involvement. Under the leadership of Prime Minister of AustraliaJulia Gillard the relations between both the nations have significantly improved on part due to her holistic approach in relations.[114][115]

Brunei

BruneiIndia

Brunei has a high commission in New Delhi, and India has a high commission in Bandar Seri Begawan. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Fiji

Main article: Fiji–India relations

FijiIndia

Fijis relationship with the Republic of India is often seen by observers against the backdrop of the sometimes tense relations between its indigenous peopleand the 44 percent of the population who are of Indian descent. India has used its influence in international forums such as the Commonwealth of Nations and United Nations on behalf of ethnic Indians in Fiji, lobbying forsanctions against Fiji in the wake of the1987 coups and the 2000 coup, both of which removed governments, one dominated and one led, by Indo-Fijians.

Indonesia

IndonesiaIndia

Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughterIndira Gandhi with Sukarno,Megawati Sukarnoputri and Guntur, during stately visit to Indonesia in June 1950.

The ties between Indonesia and India date back to the times of theRamayana,[116] “Yawadvipa” (Java) is mentioned in India’s earliest epic, the Ramayana. Sugriva, the chief of Rama‘s army dispatched his men to Yawadvipa, the island of Java, in search of Sita.[117]Indonesians had absorbed many aspects of Indian culture since almost two millennia ago. The most obvious trace is the large adoption of Sanskrit into Indonesian language. Several of Indonesian toponymy has Indian parallel or origin, such as Madura with Mathura,Serayu and Sarayu rivers, Kalingga fromKalinga Kingdom, and Ngayogyakartafrom AyodhyaIndianisedHinduBuddhist kingdoms, such asKalinggaSrivijayaMedang i Bhumi MataramSundaKadiriSinghasari andMajapahit were the predominant governments in Indonesia, and lasted from 200[118] to the 1500s, with the last remaining being in Bali. The example of profound Hindu-Buddhist influences inIndonesian history are the 9th centuryPrambanan and Borobudur temples.

In 1950, the first President of Indonesia – Sukarno called upon the peoples of Indonesia and India to “intensify the cordial relations” that had existed between the two countries “for more than 1000 years” before they had been “disrupted” by colonial powers.[119] In the spring of 1966, the foreign ministers of both countries began speaking again of an era of friendly relations. India had supported Indonesian independence and Nehru had raised the Indonesian question in the United Nations Security Council.

India has an embassy in Jakarta[120] and Indonesia operates an embassy in Delhi.[121] India regards Indonesia as a key member of ASEAN. Today, both countries maintain cooperative and friendly relations. India and Indonesia is one of the few (and also one of the largest) democracies in Asian region which can be projected as a real democracy.[122] Both nations had agreed to establish a strategic partnership.[123]As a fellow Asian democracies that shares common value, it is natural for both countries to nurture and foster strategic alliance. Indonesia and India are member states of the G-20, the E7 (countries), the Non-aligned Movement, and the United Nations.

Japan

JapanIndia

Two Japanese Naval warships took part in Malabar 2007 off India’s western coast, one of the few such multilateral exercises Japan has ever taken part in symbolising close military cooperation between India and Japan.

India-Japan relations have always been strong. India has culturally influenced Japan through Buddhism. During World War Two, the Japanese Imperial Armyhelped Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose‘sIndian National Army. Relations have remained warm since India’s independence. Japanese companies, like SonyToyota, and Honda, have manufacturing facilities in India, and with the growth of the Indian economy, India is a big market for Japanese firms. The most prominent Japanese company to have a big investment in India is automobiles giant Suzuki which is in partnership with Indian automobiles company Maruti Suzuki, the largest car manufacturer in India. Honda was also a partner in “Hero Honda“, one of the largest motor cycle sellers in the world (the companies split in 2011[124]).

According to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s arc of freedom theory, it is in Japan’s interests to develop closer ties with India, world’s most populous democracy, while its relations with China remain chilly. To this end, Japan has funded many infrastructure projects in India, most notably in New Delhi‘s metro subway system.[125] In December 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s visit to Japan culminated in the signing of the “Joint Statement Towards Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership”. Indian applicants were welcomed in 2006 to the JET Programme, starting with just one slot available in 2006 and 41 in 2007. Also, in 2007, the Japanese Self Defence Forces took part in a naval exercise in the Indian Ocean, known asMalabar 2007, which also involved the naval forces of India, Australia, Singapore and the United States.

In October 2008, Japan signed an agreement with India under which it would grant the latter a low-interest loan worth US$4.5 billion to construct a high-speed rail line between Delhi and Mumbai. This is the single largest overseas project being financed by Japan and reflects growing economic partnership between the two.[126] India and Japan signed a security cooperation agreement[127] in which both will hold military exercises, police the Indian Ocean and conduct military-to-military exchanges on fighting terrorism, making India one of only three countries, the other two being the United States and Australia, with which Japan has such a security pact.[128] There are 25,000 Indians in Japan as of 2008.

Laos

LaosIndia

In recent years, India has endeavoured to build relations, with this smallSoutheast Asian nation. They have strong military relations, and India shall be building an Airforce Academy in Laos.[129]

Malaysia

MalaysiaIndia

India has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has a high commission in New Delhi. Both countries are full members of theCommonwealth of Nations and theAsian Union. India and Malaysia are also connected by various cultural and historical ties that date back to antiquity. The two countries are on friendly terms with each other and Malaysia harbours a small population of Indian immigrants.Mahathir bin Mohamad the fourth and longest serving Prime Minister of Malaysia is of Indian origin. His father Mohamad Iskandar, is a Malayalee Muslim who migrated from Kerala and his mother Wan Tampawan, is aMalay.[130]

Nauru

Main article: India-Nauru relations

NauruIndia

India and Nauru relations have been established since the island nation’s independence in 1968. Leaders of both countries have been meeting on the sidelines of some of the international forums of which both the nations are part of such as the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement. India is one of the largest donors to the island by improving the education ministry and creating transportation and computer connections for the MPs and theSpeaker of the Parliament of Nauru. There were numerous visits by thePresident of Nauru to the republic for further strengthen in ties and cooperation.[131]

North Korea

North KoreaIndia

India and North Korea have growing trade and diplomatic relations. India maintains a fully functioning embassy in Pyongyang, and North Korea has an embassy in New Delhi. India has said that it wants the “reunification” of Korea[132]

Philippines

PhilippinesIndia

Through the Srivijaya and Majapahitempires, Hindu influence has been visible in Philippine history from the 10th to 14th century A.D. During the 18th century, there was robust trade between Manila and the Coromandel Coast of Bengal, involving Philippine exports of tobacco, silk, cotton, indigo, sugar cane and coffee. The Philippines established diplomatic relations with India on 16 November 1949. The first Philippine envoy to India was the late Foreign Secretary Narciso Ramos. Seven years after India’s independence in 1947, the Philippines and India signed a Treaty of Friendship on 11 July 1952 in Manila to strengthen the friendly relations existing between the two countries. Soon after, the Philippine Legation in New Delhi was established and then elevated to an Embassy.[133] However, due to foreign policy differences as a result of the bipolar alliance structure of the Cold War, the development of bilateral relations was stunted. It was only in 1976 that relations started to normalise when Mr. Aditya Birla, one of India’s successful industrialists, met with then President Ferdinand E. Marcos to explore possibilities of setting up joint ventures in the Philippines. Today, like India, the Philippines is the leading voice-operated business process outsourcing (BPO) source in terms of revenue (US$5.7) and number of people (500,000) employed in the sector. In partnership with the Philippines, India has 20 IT/BPO companies in the Philippines. Philippines-India bilateral trade stood at US$986.60 million dollars in 2009. In 2004 it was US$600 million. Both countries aim to reach US$1 billion by 2010. There are 60,000 Indians living in the Philippines. The Philippines and India signed in October 2007 the Framework for Bilateral Cooperation which created the PH-India JCBC. It has working groups in trade, agriculture, tourism, health, renewable energy and a regular policy consultation mechanism and security dialogue.

Singapore

SingaporeIndia

Singapore Navy frigate RSSFormidable (68) steams alongside the Indian Navy frigate INSBrahmaputra (F 31) in the Bay of Bengal. Singapore is one of India’s strongest allies in South East Asia.

India and Singapore share long-standing cultural, commercial and strategic relations, with Singapore being a part of the “Greater India” cultural and commercial region. More than 300,000 people of Indian origin live in Singapore. Following its independence in 1965, Singapore was concerned with China-backed communist threats as well as domination from Malaysia and Indonesia and sought a close strategic relationship with India, which it saw as a counterbalance to Chinese influenceand a partner in achieving regional security.[134] Singapore had always been an important strategic trading post, giving India trade access to Maritime Southeast Asia and the Far East. Although the rival positions of both nations over the Vietnam War and theCold War caused consternation between India and Singapore, their relationship expanded significantly in the 1990s;[134]Singapore was one of the first to respond to India’s “Look East” Policy of expanding its economic, cultural and strategic ties in Southeast Asia to strengthen its standing as a regional power.[134] Singapore, and especially, the Singaporean Foreign Minister,George Yeo, have taken an interest, in re-establishing the ancient Indian university, Nalanda University.

Singapore is the 8th largest source of investment in India and the largest amongst ASEAN member nations.[134][135] It is also India’s 9th biggest trading partner as of 2005–06.[134] Its cumulative investment in India totals US$3 billion as of 2006 and is expected to rise to US 5 billion by 2010 and US 10 billion by 2015.[134][136][137] India’s economic liberalisation and its “Look East” policy have led to a major expansion in bilateral trade, which grew from USD 2.2 billion in 2001 to US 9–10 billion in 2006 – a 400% growth in span of five years – and to USD 50 billion by 2010.[134][136][137] Singapore accounts for 38% of India’s trade with ASEAN member nations and 3.4% of its total foreign trade.[134] India’s main exports to Singapore in 2005 included petroleum, gemstones, jewellery, machinery and its imports from Singapore included electronic goods, organic chemicals and metals. More than half of Singapore’s exports to India are basically “re-exports” – items that had been imported from India.[134][135]

South Korea

South KoreaIndia

The cordial relationship between the two countries extends back to 48AD, when Queen Suro, or Princess Heo, travelled from the kingdom of Ayodhya to Korea.[138] According to the Samguk Yusa, the princess had a dream about a heavenly king who was awaiting heaven’s anointed ride. After Princess Heo had the dream, she asked her parents, the king and queen, for permission to set out and seek the man, which the king and queen urged with the belief that god orchestrated the whole fate.[139] Upon approval, she set out on a boat, carrying gold, silver, a tea plant, and a stone which calmed the waters.[138] Archeologists discovered a stone with two fish kissing each other, a symbol of the Gaya kingdom that is unique to the Mishra royal family inAyodhya, India. This royal link provides further evidence that there was an active commercial engagements between India and Korea since the queen’s arrival to Korea.[138] Current descendants live in the city of Kimhae as well as abroad in America’s state of New Jersey and Kentucky. Many of them became prominent and well-known around the world like President Kim Dae Jung, Prime Minister Jong Pil Kim.

The relations between the countries have been relatively limited, although much progress arose during the three decades. Since the formal establishment of the diplomatic ties between two countries in 1973, several trade agreements have been reached. Trade between the two nations has increased exponentially, exemplified by the $530 million during the fiscal year of 1992–1993, and the $10 billion during 2006–2007.[140] During the 1997 Asian financial crisis, South Korean businesses sought to increase access to the global markets, and began trade investments with India.[140] The last two presidential visits from South Korea to India were in 1996 and 2006,[141] and the embassy works between the two countries are seen as needing improvements.[142] Recently, there have been acknowledgements in the Korean public and political spheres that expanding relations with India should be a major economical and political priority for South Korea. Much of the economic investments of South Korea have been drained into China;[143] however, South Korea is currently the fifth largest source of investment in India.[144] To the Times of India, President Roh Moo-hyun voiced his opinion that cooperation between India’s software and Korea’s IT industries would bring very efficient and successful outcomes.[141] The two countries agreed to shift their focus to the revision of the visa policies between the two countries, expansion of trade, and establishment of free trade agreement to encourage further investment between the two countries. Korean companies such as LGHyundaiand Samsung have established manufacturing and service facilities in India, and several Korean construction companies won grants for a portion of the many infrastructural building plans in India, such as the “National Highway Development Project”.[144] Tata Motor’s purchase of Daewoo Commercial Vehicles at the cost of $102 million highlights the India’s investments in Korea, which consist mostly of subcontracting.[144]

Taiwan

TaiwanIndia

The bilateral relations between India and Taiwan (officially Republic of China) have improved since the 1990s despite both nations not maintaining officialdiplomatic relations,[92][144] India recognises only the People’s Republic of China and not the Republic of China’s contention of being the legitimate government of territorial China – a conflict that emerged after the Chinese Civil War (1945–49). However, India’s economic & Commercial links as well as people-to-people contacts with Taiwan have expanded in recent years.[144]

The most significant evidence of Taiwan-India relations warming up was provided when ROC President Ma Ying-jeou made a stopover in Mumbai en route to Africa in early April, 2012, an event that went almost unnoticed by India’s media. The visit, part of a phenomenon called “refueling diplomacy,” is historic because India had never allowed a serving ROC president to land on Indian soil.[144]

Thailand

ThailandIndia

India’s Look East policy, saw India grow relations with ASEAN countries including Thailand, and Thailand’s Look West policy, also saw it grow its relations with India. Both countries are members of BIMSTEC. Indian Prime Ministers Rajiv GandhiP.V. Narasimha RaoAtal Bihari Vajpayee, andManmohan Singh, have visited Thailand, which were reciprocated by contemporary Thai Prime MinistersChatichai ChoonhavanThaksin Sinawatra, and Surayud Chulanont. In 2003, a Free Trade Agreement was signed between the two countries. India, is the 13th largest investor in Thailand. The spheres of trade are in chemicals,pharmaceuticals, textiles, nylon, tyre cord, real estate, rayon fibres, paper grade pulps, steel wires, and rods. However, IT services, and manufacturing, are the main spheres. Through Buddhism, India, has culturally influenced Thailand. The Indian epics,Mahabharata, and Ramayana, are popular and are widely taught in schools as part of the curriculum in Thailand. The example can also be seen in temples around Thailand, where the story of Ramayana and renowned Indian folk stories are depicted on the temple wall. Thailand, has become a big tourist destination for Indians.

Vietnam

VietnamIndia

India supported Vietnam’s independence from France, opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and supported unification of Vietnam. India established official diplomatic relations in 1972 and maintained friendly relations, especially in the wake of Vietnam’s hostile relations with the People’s Republic of China, which had become India’s strategic rival.[145]

India granted the “Most Favoured Nation” status to Vietnam in 1975[145]and both nations signed a bilateral trade agreement in 1978 and the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) on 8 March 1997.[146] In 2007, a fresh joint declaration was issued during the state visit of the Prime Minister of VietnamNguyen Tan Dung.[147] Bilateral trade has increased rapidly since the liberalisation of the economies of both Vietnam and India.[145] India is the 13th-largest exporter to Vietnam, with exports have grown steadily from US$11.5 million in 1985–86 to USD 395.68 million by 2003.[146] Vietnam’s exports to India rose to USD 180 million, including agricultural products, handicrafts, textiles, electronics and other goods.[148]Between 2001 and 2006, the volume of bilateral trade expanded at 20–30% per annum to reach $1 billion by 2006.[149][150] Continuing the rapid pace of growth, bilateral trade is expected to rise to $2 billion by 2008, two years ahead of the official target.[150][151] India and Vietnam have also expanded cooperation in information technology, education and collaboration of the respective national space programmes.[147] Direct air links and laxvisa regulations have been established to bolster tourism.[152]

India and Vietnam are members of theMekong-Ganga Cooperation, created to develop to enhance close ties between India and nations of Southeast Asia. Vietnam has supported India’s bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council and join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation(APEC).[153] In the 2003 joint declaration, India and Vietnam envisaged creating an “Arc of Advantage and Prosperity” in Southeast Asia;[147] to this end, Vietnam has backed a more important relationship and role between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its negotiation of an Indo–ASEAN free trade agreement.[145][147] India and Vietnam have also built strategic partnerships, including extensive cooperation on developing nuclear power, enhancing regional security and fighting terrorism, transnational crime and drug trafficking.[92][147][148]

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