For over seventy years since its independence in 1947, India has remained entangled in conflictual relationship with most of its neighbours. From the illegal occupation, and later annexation, of Jammu and Kashmir and the economic blockades of Nepal, to border and water issues with Bangladesh and blatant interference in Sri Lanka, India has had difficulties in forming peaceful relationships with its neighbours in South Asia. Even with China, with which it has fought a war in 1962, conflict resurfaced in Ladakh region recently. India has also completely overwhelmed the sovereignty of Bhutan. Cumulatively, India seems to have developed a pattern of conflictual relations with all its neighbours.
A number of questions arise. Are India’s aggressive designs an attempt to establish its hegemony in the region? Does India want to engage with its neighbours only on its own terms? Could India have chosen a different path, the path of cooperation rather than confrontation? This book seeks to find answers to these questions. Various chapters of the book explore whether India’s relations with its neighbours are destined to remain confrontational or whether regional cooperation can become India’s preferred choice to deal with its neighbours.