India was among the original members of the United Nations that signed theDeclaration by United Nations at Washington on 1 January 1942 and also participated in the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945. As a founding member of the United Nations, India strongly supports the purposes and principles of the UN and has made significant contributions to implementing the goals of the Charter, and the evolution of the UN’s specialized programmes and agencies. India is a charter member of the United Nations and participates in all of its specialised agencies and organisations. India has contributed troops to United Nations peacekeeping efforts in Korea,Egypt and the Congo in its earlier years and in Somalia, Angola, Haiti, Liberia, Lebanon and Rwanda in recent years, and more recently in the South Sudan conflict. India has been a member of the UN Security Council for six terms (a total of 12 years), and was a member for the term 2011-12. India is a member of the G4 group of nations who back each other in seeking a permanent seat on the security council and advocate in favour of the reformation of the UNSC. India is also part of the Group of 77.
World Trade Organisation
Described by WTO chief Pascal Lamy as one of the organisation’s “big brothers”, India was instrumental in bringing down the Doha round of talks in 2008. It has played an important role of representing as many as 100 developing nations during WTO summits.
Certain aspects of India’s relations within the subcontinent are conducted through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Its members are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Established in 1985, SAARC encourages cooperation in agriculture, rural development, science and technology, culture, health, population control, narcotics control and anti-terrorism.
SAARC has intentionally stressed these “core issues” and avoided more divisive political issues, although political dialogue is often conducted on the margins of SAARC meetings. In 1993, India and its SAARC partners signed an agreement to gradually lower tariffs within the region. Forward movement in SAARC has come to a standstill because of the tension between India and Pakistan, and the SAARC Summit originally scheduled for, but not held in, November 1999 has not been rescheduled. The Fourteenth SAARC Summit was held during 3–4 April 2007 in New Delhi.
India’s territorial disputes with neighbouring Pakistan and People’s Republic of China have played a crucial role in its foreign policy. India is also involved in minor territorial disputes with neighbouring Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives. India currently maintains twomanned stations in Antarctica but has made some unofficial territorial claims, which are yet to be clarified.
India is involved in the following international disputes:
- Kalapani village of India is claimed by Nepal and Nawalparasi district of Nepal is claimed by India.
The dispute between India and Nepal involves about 75 km2 (29 sq mi) of area in Kalapani, where China, India, and Nepal meet. Indian forces occupied the area in 1962 after China and India fought their border war. Three villages are located in the disputed zone: Kuti [Kuthi, 30°19’N, 80°46’E], Gunji, and Knabe. India and Nepal disagree about how to interpret the 1816 Sugauli treaty between the British East India Company and Nepal, which delimited the boundary along the Maha Kali River (Sarda River in India). The dispute intensified in 1997 as the Nepali parliament considered a treaty on hydro-electric development of the river. India and Nepal differ as to which stream constitutes the source of the river. Nepal regards the Limpiyadhura as the source; India claims the Lipu Lekh. Nepal has reportedly tabled an 1856 map from the British India Office to support its position. The countries have held several meetings about the dispute and discussed jointly surveying to resolve the issue. Although the Indo-Nepali dispute appears to be minor, it was aggravated in 1962 by tensions between China and India. Because the disputed area lies near the Sino-Indian frontier, it gains strategic value.
- Some in the Maldives claim thatMinicoy Island is Maldivian; although there is no official Maldivian claim to the atoll. In addition, Maldives and India have made arrangements to allow Maldivians to travel directly to Minicoy without a visa. The Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development, which was signed by former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed and Indian Prime MinisterManmohan Singh during his recent visit to the Maldives, includes an article on establishing a transport network between the Maldives and Minicoy.
The earlier policy required Maldivians to get a visa from New Delhi before boarding a ferry en route to Minicoy from India’s Kochi. The Government of the Maldives has stressed that the ferry service to be established between Kulhudhuffushi in Haa Dhaal atoll andMinicoy will also allow cargo to be transported between the Maldives and Minicoy. President Nasheed also expressed hope to start a regular passenger cargo ferry service between the Maldives and Minicoy in the near future.
Indus and tributaries
People’s Republic of China
Two regions are claimed by both India and China. Aksai Chin is in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir, at the junction of India, Tibet and Xinjiang, India claims the 38,000-square-kilometre territory, currently administered by China after Sino-Indian War. India also considers the cessation of Shaksam Valley to China by Pakistan as illegal and a part of its territory. Arunachal Pradesh is a state of India in the country’s northeast, bordering onBhutan, Burma and China’s Tibet, though it is under Indian administration since1914, China claims the 90,000-square-kilometre area as South Tibet. Also the boundary between the North Indianstates of Himachal Pradesh andUttarakhand with China’s Tibet is not properly demarcated with some portions under de facto administration of India.