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BEIJING, June 20 (APP):India’s relationship with its neighboring countries is always not smooth — and sometimes, things turn violent and bloody, according to an article published by China Daily.

India shares its land borders with the neighboring countries of Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan and Afghanistan, and water borders with Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand and Indonesia.

In South Asia, India is the largest country — in terms of territory, population and economy. It is the fifth-largest economy in the world. But 21.9 percent of its population still lives below the national poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). India was also ranked 49th in the global poverty index last year.

More than 360 million Indians still cannot afford three square meals a day, according to a report published in the Week last August. Around 50 million still use open toilets in India, said a report by UNICEF. Last year, the overall illiteracy rate in rural areas was 35.3 percent, while the rate was 20.5 percent in urban areas of India.

India has 15,106.7 kilometers of land borders and a coastline of 7,516.6 km including island territories. India shares its land borders with the neighboring countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan and Afghanistan. India also shares water borders with Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand and Indonesia.

People of its neighboring countries expected improvements in conditions with India as Prime Minister Modi declared that his foreign policy will actively focus on improving ties with India’s immediate neighbors under his “neighborhood first policy”. However, during the last decade of his regime, Prime Minister Modi has failed to improve his country’s ties with its neighbors. In some cases, things have gone from bad to worse, instead, smashing the hopes of people of the region.

The recent casualties of the personnel of Indian border forces in clashes with their Chinese counterparts along the borders have questioned the sincerity of the Indian government for its “neighborhood first policy”. Though India has reportedly suffered the most in the cross-border fight, it has brought India’s overall ties with its neighbors into the discussion once again.

Analysts are of the view that it’s apparently optimistic that China and India have agreed to cool down the tensions. But it’s high time for India to have soul-searching over the whole gamut of its relationship with all neighboring countries.

It may help India realize how it has antagonized its long-lasting allies Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka. If India sincerely wants to improve relations with its immediate neighbors, It needs to reflect on its policy to Pakistan.

The soul-searching is a must for India. Because it can help the country understand that big-brother-like attitudes to its neighbors, a lust for establishing regional hegemony and a selfish mentality have antagonized all its neighbors. As a result, most of the people of other South Asian nations don’t consider India their friend but a narrow-minded hegemon.

Under such a backdrop, India expects to gain a permanent seat in the would-be reformed Security Council of the United Nations (UNSC).

But India should realize that it has to be on friendly terms with its neighbors to materialize its expectation. No country has yet to be great without fixing all issues with its neighbors. The sooner India will understand this reality, the more it will benefit from friendly neighbors.