While addressing a number one institute, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on March 9 mentioned that India will quickly be linked with Nepal by two railway hyperlinks and 6 rail networks can be initiated for connectivity with Bangladesh.
Shringla mentioned the railway hyperlinks between international locations are inflicting a “rapid shrinking of South Asia’s geography” and that the neighborhood comes before everything for India amongst all its overseas coverage priorities.
Shringla extensively delved into the significance of connectivity for the enlargement of India’s total engagement with the international locations within the area. “Connectivity within parts of our neighborhood by road, by water, by rail and by air, and often by multimodal transport, has steadily improved,” he mentioned.
“Railways between countries are causing a rapid shrinking of South Asia’s geography. India and Bangladesh will soon be connected through six rail links and India and Nepal by two rail links,” he mentioned.
At current, a number of rail hyperlinks between India and Bangladesh are operational. “Travel between India and three of its neighbors: Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives — does not require visas. Our diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka and Yangon report an increasing trend in the number of visas being issued,” Shringla mentioned.
He mentioned the second space of focus has been the power sector. “The Indian grid is connected to Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh through high-capacity connections. Trans-national movement of electricity in the neighborhood is a reality,” he mentioned.
The overseas secretary mentioned the international locations within the neighborhood are of particular significance to India. “Our ties with these countries are underpinned by a shared history and culture. Policy initiatives are taken by India – and its neighbors — have implications for each other,” he mentioned.
Shringla famous that the neighboring international locations have direct relevance to India’s states bordering these international locations, including that India realizes that its prosperity and development are linked to that of its neighbours.
“We cannot develop unless our neighbors develop. It was in this spirit that the Cabinet Secretary wrote to all government ministries and departments asking them to accord priority to India’s neighbors in their international activities, programs, and projects,” he mentioned.
The overseas secretary mentioned mechanisms have been created to allow better inter-ministerial coordination and enhanced deal with ‘neighbourhood first’.
“India’s foreign and security policies in this space operate at several levels and dimensions. We have separate bilateral relationships with each of our neighbors. We also interact with them on plurilateral constructs. We work with them within multilateral frameworks,” Shringla mentioned.
Shringla mentioned India’s ties with the neighboring international locations have direct relevance to the states bordering these international locations.
(With inputs from PTI)