Ganga valley could only rarely establish their authority over it on a secure
footing. But at the same time, they could hardly resist the temptation of
helping themselves to the immense wealth which the people of the south had
accumulated through maritime trade. And the interaction of these two factors
determined their policy towards the south—the policy of sending plundering
expeditions to it without annexing it. Hence, Samudragupta too adopted the
same policy, often obtaining what he wanted.
Relations with the Island States The necessities of maritime trade with
the East and South-East Asia gave a trans-oceanic orientation to the political
outlook and policies of the early Gupta rulers. The island rulers of Ceylon
and many other islands entered into diplomatic and friendly relations with
Chandragupta II
His Accession Samudragupta was succeeded by his son Chandragupta II,
surnamed Vikramaditya. But according to some scholars, the immediate
successor of Samudragupta was his son Ramagupta, the elder brother of
Chandragupta II. A drama Devichandraguptam, by Visakhadatta, mentions
that Ramagupta agreed to surrender his queen Dhruvadevi to the infatuation
of a Saka chief (Basana) who had invaded his kingdom. The honour of the
queen was saved by Chandragupta, younger brother of Ramagupta, who
killed the Saka chief usurped the throne and married the widow. This story
with slight variations is referred to in Bana’s Harshacharita, Rajasekhara’s
Kavyamimamsa and some Rashtrakuta inscriptions of the 9th and 10th
centuries. However, the historicity of Ramagupta is a matter of great doubt as
neither the contemporary inscriptions nor the coins mention any king of that
Conquest of Western India Chandragupta inherited the military genius of
his father and extended the Gupta empire by conquests of his own. His
principal opponent was the Saka ruler of Gujarat and Kathiawar Peninsula,
belonging to the family of western satraps, whose continued independence
prevented the political unity of India. In this arduous undertaking against the
foreigner, the dominating question that weighed on the king was to secure the
friendship of the Vakatakas of