Short notes on Gujarat Doctrine

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The Gujarat Doctrine is a set of five principles to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India’s immediate neighbours as spelt out by Gujarat, first as India’s External Affairs Minister and later as the Prime Minister.

Among other factors, these five principles arise from the belief that India’s stature and strength cannot be divorced from the quality of its relations with, its neighbours. It, thus, recognises the supreme importance of friendly, cordial relations with neighbours. These principles are:

1. With neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka, India does not ask for reciprocity, but gives and accommodates what it can in good faith and trust.

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

3. No country should interfere in the internal affairs of another.

4. All South Asian countries must respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

5. They should settle all their disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations.

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According to Gujarat, these five principles, scrupulously adhered to, would achieve a fundamental recasting of South Asia’s regional relationships, including the difficult relationship between India and Pakistan. Further, the implementation of these principles would generate a climate of close and mutually benign cooperation in the region, where the weight and size of India is regarded positively and as an asset by these countries.

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