Model Question and Answers for APSC | What is meant by the Gujral doctrine? Does it have any relevance today? Discuss.
What is meant by the Gujral doctrine? Does it have any relevance today? Discuss.
Ans: Former Prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral, while aware of these complexities, was the first to enunciate in September 1996 a neighbourhood policy that would modify India's image from a regional hegemon to one of an accommodating neighbour acting generously, without expectations of reciprocity. Labelled the 'Gujral Doctrine', it outlined five basic principles.
- First, with Nepal, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, India would not ask for reciprocity, but do all it could in good faith and (Bhutan was excluded from the list because non-reciprocity was embedded in our ties.)
- The other four principles pertained to not allowing one's territory to be used against another country, non-interference in the internal affairs of another, respecting one another's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and settling disputes peacefully through bilateral The first principle constituted a major break from conventional diplomatic thinking.
- Such doctrines reflect a preferred strategy without assurance of success because that would depend on the smaller neighbours adhering to the enunciated principles.
- Today, with the practical abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and redrawing of the internal map of the erstwhile J&K state, the fundamentals of any bilateral dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir have changed.
- With Bangladesh, the Ganga water treaty of December 1996 was a signal achievement of the Gujral Doctrine.
- The policy is still relevant today as India attempts to counter Chinese influence over neighbours like Myanmar.
- Sri Lanka, Nepal, through its ‘string of pearls’ policy of economically and militarily encircling India; Pakistan influence over Afghanistan and India’s North-west frontier that are used as staging grounds for terrorist activities in India; and China-Pakistan cooperation to destabilize India through internal movements like naxalism, Jihad etc. India needs friendly and cooperative neighbours for stable borders.