pongsudhirak14_Travels With Danish_tharoor

The Global Leadership India Needs

For decades, Indian governments have focused on domestic issues like economic growth. But with China encroaching on its territory, Pakistan allying with the Chinese, and its eastern neighbors struggling with economic and political crises, India must take a leading role in ensuring regional stability.

BANGKOK – India, like China, takes enormous pride in its civilization’s scale and antiquity – and rightly so. But such pride can also lead to a complacent and sometimes dangerous insularity. Since gaining independence from the British Empire 75 years ago, India has mostly looked inward, focusing on improving the welfare of its population by building a strong democracy and a healthy economy.

China has also focused on domestic reform over the past four decades. But, having transformed its economy, it is now flexing its newly developed muscles throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Given China’s geopolitical ambitions, India must now look outward and take a leading role in securing regional stability, particularly among its increasingly unstable immediate neighbors.

To the west, Pakistan remains India’s most vexing concern, owing to its nuclear arsenal, unstable governance, and affiliation with terrorist networks that have fueled instability in Afghanistan, as well as Jammu and Kashmir in India. To India’s south, Sri Lanka, its economy in tatters, is once again mired in political chaos (albeit nothing like the bloody civil war that erupted in the 1980s and dragged on until the late 2000s).