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2) India must shed its zero-sum style foreign policy-making, and work towards South Asian integration. Critically Analyze.(250 words)

Topic – India and its bilateral relations.

2) India must shed its zero-sum style foreign policy-making, and work towards South Asian integration. Critically Analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Several episodes of misdirected diplomacy and heightened tensions with the neighbours has highlighted the case of India’s foreign policy vis a vis its neighbours. Besides. South Asia still remains one of the least connected regions in the world. In this context it is important to analyze our foreign policy and deliberate upon its shortcomings and revisions if any needed.

Directive word

Critically analyze-  here we have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to look deeply into India’s foreign policy towards its neighbors and bring out as to why there is a need to change the stance and pursue south Asian integration.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about India’s neighbourhood e.g mention the key countries surrounding India and regional associations catering to the needs of the region.


  1. Discuss the flaws in the present policy stance of India. E.g , the most significant flaw is New Delhi’s ideational disinclination towards its neighbourhood; Successive regimes have considered the neighbourhood as an irritant and challenge, not an opportunity; India has been more transactional, impatient and small-minded towards  neighbourhood which has, as a result, restricted the space for manoeuvre in the regional geopolitical scheme of things etc.
  2. Discuss briefly the need to change the situation. E.g some of our past policies have ensured a steady decline in its influence and goodwill in the region;  the persistent absence of a coherent and well-planned regional policy most definitely ensure that it eventually slips out of India’s sphere of influence; India’s foreign policy planners therefore need to reimagine the country’s neighbourhood policy before it is too late.
  3. Discuss how should India pursue its foreign policy. E.g deal with tricky situations with far more diplomatic subtlety ;it must be kept in mind that meddling in the domestic politics of neighbour countries is a recipe for disaster;  New Delhi must not fail to follow up on its promises to its neighbours; India does not have the political, material or financial wherewithal to outdo China in building infrastructure. Hence India must invest where China falls short, especially at the level of institution-building and the use of soft power.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.