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Abhishek Madhukar Chaudhari asked: Why is India is so selective in choosing partners in its neighborhood? E.g. Awami League of Bangladesh or Democracy in Pakistan?

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  • Smruti Pattanaik replies: I do not agree that India is selective in choosing its partners in neighborhood. India has always liked to see democratic and secular governments in the neighbouring countries that represent people’s aspiration. The military regimes in the neighbouring countries are antithesis of these values. In the past, India has however has done business with the military regimes. But that does not detract it from these core values.

    India was closely associated with Awami League during the liberation struggle. Awami league represents some of the core principles that India represents and values democracy, pluralism and secularism. Moreover AL’s feels cooperation with India would help Bangladesh. If one looks at the BNP and the political values it represents its hesitancy to develop good relations with India is clearly apparent. Therefore, it is just not India’s preference of one over the other it depends on the domestic constituencies of the political parties and their ideological underpinnings that define the response in the neighbourhood.

    In case of Pakistan, democratic regimes there believe that confrontation with India will strengthen the Army and would be detrimental to growth of democracy. India also feels that military regimes would not help the interest of peace. Therefore, response to India’s hand of friendship is determined by regime interest in the neighbouring countries.