Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 3
Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu will on Friday virtually release a commemorative postage stamp on former Prime Minister IK Gujral on his 101st birth anniversary.
Born on December 4, Gujral passed away on November 30, 2012, after having retired from politics 14 years earlier.
A former Union Minister and ambassador, he was best known for the ‘Gujral doctrine’ which is being pursued by the current dispensation as the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’.
A set of five principles to conduct foreign policy with the smaller neighbours, the doctrine arose from the conviction that India’s stature and strength cannot be isolated from the quality of its relations with its neighbours.
This meant not seeking from neighbours but accommodating them, as far as possible, in good faith and trust. It also sought abstinence by all South Asian countries from permitting their land to be used against the interest of another country of the region and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of another neighbour.
The ‘Gujral doctrine’ had triggered a turnaround in ties with at least four neighbours – Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka – though the trend did not sustain.
India resolved the water-sharing dispute with Bangladesh in three months, it inked the Mahakali River treaty with Nepal for hydel power generation, led to expanding of development cooperation with Sri Lanka and, most important, began the process of composite dialogue with Pakistan.