What is the Gujral Doctrine of India?

Shri Inder Kumar Gujral became the 12th Prime Minister of India on April 21, 1997 and was in office till March 19, 1998. When Mr. Inder Kumar was the External Affairs Minister; India could not be compelled to sign the CTBT in 1996.Today India has succeeded in declaring herself as a nuclear power nation.

It is believed that if a country wants to be a dominant leader at the international level, first of all it must have cordial relations with its neighbouring countries.

In addition to taking neighbours into confidence, the country should have strengthened cultural, economic and political relations with neighbours. One such attempt was made by Inder Kumar Gujral, called "Gujral Doctrine".

Gujral Doctrine is considered as a milestone in India's foreign policy. It was rendered by Mr. Inder Kumar Gujral, the Minister of External Affairs in H. D. Deve Gowda Government in 1996. This theory says that "India" as a bigger country of South Asia should give one-sided concession to her small neighbours and have cordial relations with them.

Main Points of "Gujral Doctrine" are as follows;

1. The Basic mantra of "Gujral Doctrine" was that India would have to establish faithful relationship with her neighbouring countries i.e. Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.

2. India should have resolved all kind of disputes (border, economic etc.) with her neighbouring countries. If India have done something favourbale with her neighbours then India need not to seek anything in return from neighbours.

3. No South Asian country should allow its territory to be used against the interest of another country of the region.

4. No country should interfere in one another's internal matters.

5. All South Asian nations will resolve the dispute through peaceful bilateral negotiations.

6. All the South Asian countries will respect each other's sovereignty and integrity and will help each others to cope up with any natural and economic crisis.

Farakka agreement with India and Bangladesh in the year Dec. 1960 is the proof of the positivity of Gujral Doctrine. Under the Farakka agreement, India allowed the Bangladesh to use some water of the River Ganga.

However, the critics of the “Gujral Doctrine” say that the Gujral doctrine of India is a complete failure because political instability in India's neighbouring countries esp. Nepal, Bangladesh or Maldives and Sri Lanka, are promoting anti India forces. As per the expectations, anti India forces of these countries are supported by the China.

But it would be wrong to say that Gujral doctrine is a failure because all Prime Ministers of India post Gujral government had followed the "Gujral doctrine" without specifying the name of this doctrine.

Agra summit-2001 during the Atal Bihari government and Indian invitation to Pakistan's PM in the swearing in ceremony of Mr. Modi in 2014; are some solid proof of the same. In addition to this India is giving unilateral concessions to 8 member countries of South Asia under the flag of (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) SAARC.

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