India & Her Neighbors


  • Under the British rule, India developed relations with its neighbors. This was the result of two factors i.e.

    • The development of modern means of communication and

    • The political and administrative consolidation of the Country impelled the Government of India to reach out to the geographical frontiers of India.

India and neighbors
  • The foreign policy of a free country is basically different from the foreign policy of a country ruled by a foreign power. In the former case, it is based on the needs and interests of the people of the country; and in the latter case, it serves primarily the interests of the ruling country.

  • In India's case, the foreign policy that the Government of India followed was dictated by the British Government in London.

  • The British Government had two major aims in Asia and Africa i.e.

    • Protection of its invaluable Indian Empire and

    • Expansion of British commerce and other economic interests in Africa and Asia.

  • Both the aims (discussed above) led to British expansion and territorial conquests outside India's natural frontiers. These aims brought the British Government into conflict with other imperialist nations of Europe who also wanted an extension of their territorial possessions and commerce in AfroAsian lands.

  • The years between 1870 and 1914 witnessed an intense struggle between the European powers for colonies and markets in Africa and Asia.

  • While the Indian foreign policy served British imperialism, the cost of its implementation was borne by India.

  • In pursuance of British interests, India had to wage many wars against its neighbors; the Indian soldiers had to shed their blood and the Indian taxpayers had to meet the heavy cost.

  • The Indian army was often used in Africa and Asia to fight Britain's battles.

  • British India’s relation with its neighboring countries can be studied under the following heads (which have been described briefly in subsequent chapters under the same headings) −

    • Relation with Nepal

    • Relation with Burma

    • Relation with Afghanistan

    • Relation with Tibet

    • Relation with Sikkim

    • Relation with Bhutan