Gujral Doctrine is an important concept for UPSC exam preparation and other competitive exams, it comes under the syllabus International Relations.
The Gujral doctrine was the idea put forward by 12th former Prime Minister I.K.Gujral when he was the foreign minister under the leadership of H.D. Deve Gowda as Prime Minister.
He drafted the Doctrine in September 1996, in order to build diplomatic relations and solve bilateral issues between India and its neighboring countries.
If a country wants to be dominant in the international stage, firstly it must maintain cordial relations with neighboring countries.
In addition to restoring the confidence of neighbors, the country should have strengthened its cultural, economic, and political relations with its neighbors. The attempt was made by Inder Kumar Gujral through “Gujral Doctrine”.
According to this doctrine “India” as a large South Asian country, should grant a unilateral concession to its small neighboring countries and maintain cordial relations with them.
Table of Content
The 5 Principles of Gujral Doctrine
1. India should have a faithful relationship with its neighboring countries i.e. Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, and Srilanka by offering all that it can in good faith and trust without any reciprocity. (Later Pakistan was excluded)
2. No country in South Asia should allow its territory to be used against the interests of another country.
3. No country should involve in another country’s internal matters.
4. All South Asian countries must respect territorial integrity and sovereignty of each other.
5. All neighboring countries to India should settle all their disputes via peaceful bilateral negotiations.
Does Gujral Doctrine Have Any Relevance Today?
‘Yes’ it does have relevance but what extent is the question? The countries surrounded India are small in size but it is very important strategically due to the fear of our competitors China and Pakistan.
Being a developing country India is growing in all aspects in terms of power, trade, economy, etc. making ties like Gujral Doctrine helps to build trust and good relations.
In 1996, to start with this policy India made an agreement with Bangladesh to share Ganga water which helped Bangladesh to get little more water to the country people.
In Nov 1996, freezing the border disputes between India and China was agreed by both countries for time being, this was also the part of the effort under Gujral Doctrine.
In 1997, India and Pakistan came together to talk and found 8 main negotiations to build confidence and to have friendly relation (a gesture of friendly resolution of all disputes).
* In today’s scenario when we see India and its neighboring countries relationship, yes definitely we can say Gujral Doctrine is still a very important concept for India’s growth and security.
For example: Recently in 2017, ISRO launched GSAT-9 geostationary satellite(South Asia Satellite), this satellite is used for telecommunications, weather forecasting, and disaster management which will benefit for all the neighboring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, and Srilanka.
It cost Rs. 450 crores but launched without any reciprocity, this is an example of how India is doing its best to keep good relations with neighboring countries and it is the diplomatic strategy used against the competitors not to dominate the regions, this is also one of the key principles of Gujral Doctrine to help others and have good faith.
* If we are not concerned our neighboring countries then our competitors take advantage.
For example, China funds Indian neighboring countries, the only aim is to build the military base and use at the time of wars, hence establishing good relationships among the countries plays a very strategic role.
Importance of the doctrine
- It minimizes the tensions in borders between India and other neighboring countries.
- This doctrine can be implemented in any part of the world to maintain peace and cordial relationship among themselves.
- Through bilateral negotiations of this policy, the mutual benefit can be established either directly or indirectly.
- It helps India to stand in a dominant position with its neighboring countries.
Criticism of the doctrine
There is many incidents that took place in the country which prove every time for every country the Gujral Doctrine will not work.
One best example is the Mumbai Terror attack, even though we try to build a good relationship, these incidents make us think different strategy and prove the doctrine is wrong.
Gujral Doctrine has a lot of direct and indirect positive outputs but every time this doctrine cannot be implemented due to the various conditions among the countries, hence I would like to conclude by saying we need to rethink according to the time, place and situation before offering or negotiations.